"This 1-2 was very deserved" - Red Bull's Max Verstappen picks up Grand Slam en route to 2022 F1 Imola GP win

F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna - Max Verstappen wins at Imola
F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna - Max Verstappen wins at Imola

Max Verstappen won the 2022 F1 Imola GP main race after a dominating performance at the historic track. The Dutchman started in pole position after winning the sprint race on Saturday, picking up his first Grand Slam of the season. His teammate Sergio Perez finished in P2, marking the team's first 1-2 finish since Malaysia 2016.

The whole weekend swung in Red Bull's favor after the team looked to be the strongest on the track despite intermittent rain. The Dutchman won the sprint race on Saturday despite having a poor start, showcasing his incredible wet-weather driving prowess. Speaking about the weekend, Max Verstappen said:

“Yesterday and the day before, we were on it and it was looking like a strong weekend. Today you never know with the weather and how competitive you’re gonna be. As a team, we did everything well and I think and this 1-2 was very well deserved.”

Meanwhile, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc spun out on lap 53 while chasing down Perez, causing him to lose out on a possible P3 finish. McLaren's Lando Norris took his place, appearing on the podium despite not fancying his chances of a repeat from 2021. The Monegasque driver, however, still holds a commanding lead over his Red Bull rival in the drivers' championship.

Max Verstappen claims his rivalry with Charles Leclerc 'feels natural'

Max Verstappen revealed that his battle with Charles Leclerc feels natural since the duo faced each other earlier in go-karts. The reigning champion claims he has had some nice duels with the Ferrari driver, which he has enjoyed. The most recent of which was at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where the Monegasque and Dutchman battled hard towards the end of the race - with the reigning world champion emerging victorious.

Verstappen told La Gazetta dello Sport:

“Every driver is different, in the way they attack or defend. That’s why you always have to go into the fight in a unique way. It feels natural to compete against drivers that I have competed against in the past in karts and have now come to F1. In particular Charles [Leclerc]; it’s nice to see that we are two young guys competing for victories – we’ve fought some nice duels so far. I’m [also] happy that my friend [Carlos] Sainz is now driving a competitive Ferrari, after we made our debut together in 2015.”

As it stands, Charles Leclerc still leads Max Verstappen in the drivers' championship by 28-points, with the Dutchman having DNF'd twice so far in the new season. After his win at Imola, however, the world champion is slowly but surely climbing back to the top of the table with hopes of winning another title.

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Edited by Anurag C