Verstappen attained his second win of the season as LeClerc failed to surmount, spelling disaster for Ferrari racing on its home soil.
Formula One champion Max Verstappen has dominated in a Red Bull rout of Ferrari at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.
Verstappen won from the pole, logged the fastest lap and picked up his second win of the season on Sunday while leading teammate Sergio Perez to the first one-two Red Bull finish since Malaysia in 2016.
“Lovely Sunday,” Verstappen radioed his Red Bull team. The Dutchman also won the sprint qualifying race on Saturday and earned maximum points on the weekend.
Lando Norris was third for McLaren.
It was a disastrous race for Ferrari, racing on its home soil and hoping to celebrate a return to F1 dominance.
Charles LeClerc came into Sunday as the championship leader with two wins in the first three races and Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrated a two-year contract extension this weekend in Italy.
But LeClerc couldn't get the jump on Verstappen at the start and never contended. Sainz spun off course on the opening lap to ruin his race, and LeClerc's bid to salvage the day for Ferrari ended when he spun racing Perez for second.
He ultimately finished sixth.
READ MORE:Verstappen wins sprint at Imola, Leclerc extends F1 lead
Confirmation of the points scorers ?#ImolaGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/70CFAYfXMH
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 24, 2022
A stirring battle
LeClerc had a 46-point lead in the standings over reigning champion Verstappen at the start of the race but the Verstappen win cut the gap to 27 points.
The race featured a stirring late battle between Mercedes newcomer George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, the driver he replaced.
The two went down to the final lap for fourth position, with Russell holding off the veteran for the spot.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, continued his early struggles and finished 13th.
Mercedes head Toto Wolff apologised to Hamilton over the radio for the “undriveable” car that Hamilton was given in Italy.
READ MORE:Charles Leclerc wins Australian Grand Prix, second victory of the season
I gave it all but went over the limit at the end. Sorry to the team and to all the tifosi that supports us. Instead of a P3, it ended up in a P6. We’ll come back stronger.
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) April 24, 2022