Sergio Perez Left Astonished by Max Verstappen’s Performance at Imola

In the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Red Bull driver Sergio Perez was astounded by his colleague Max Verstappen’s performance.

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At Imola, the Formula 1 world champion won his sixth race of the year, finishing less than a second ahead of Lando Norris. Starting from pole position, the Dutch driver faced a strong fight from the McLaren driver, who had won his first race two weeks earlier at the Miami Grand Prix.

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During the first fifty circuits of his drive, Verstappen was able to establish an advantage, but a tyre change hampered his day. As a result of Norris applying pressure, Verstappen was unable to gain traction while using the hard tires.

Perez found the effort impressive. According to the Mexican racer, Verstappen had his greatest weekend in a long time.

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“We knew it was going to be a hard day today as the whole weekend was compromised from qualifying,” he said. “Imola is a difficult track to overtake on so this was the maximum we could do today, especially we were struggling with traffic in the beginning on my first stint and on the hard tyres we had no margin to play around with the balance.

“We knew that McLaren were the fastest but Max had one of the best weekends I’ve seen from him in a while, so a lot of praise for that and this was a great result for us. We have a few things we need to analyse and certainly some work to do as we head into the next race, but I’m looking forward to Monaco and hopefully we will continue our strong season and get some good momentum back.”

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Norris believed that even one more lap might have been enough time to beat his rival and to move one spot up the podium. “I was just praying for one more lap,” he said.

“I did everything I could and I was pushing like hell to get there and catch up and have a chance. But as soon as you get within two seconds you start to lose downforce and the tyres start to overheat again. I struggled for a couple of laps… the last lap I managed to get there.

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“Seven-tenths, one more lap, at least he would have had to defend into turn one and maybe something could have come from that, but it was one lap too late. It’s a shame, but it is what it is… We were expecting it to me a little bit colder than it was today, so we set up the car more for colder conditions rather than hot and I paid the price.”