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Andrea Stella Lauds the Mighty Differential Max Verstappen Became for Red Bull in Imola

Aishwary Gaonkar

Andrea Stella Lauds the Mighty Differential Max Verstappen Came Out to Be for Red Bull in Imola

Max Verstappen proved his mettle as a three-time champion when the Imola GP win almost slipped out of his hand into Lando Norris’ pocket. The McLaren team boss, Andrea Stella praised how the Dutchman was the difference at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, a weekend where Red Bull looked very unsettled.

On the contrary, McLaren were rather good and battled fiercely to challenge for the top step of the podium. Stella told De Telegraaf, as quoted by @JunaidSamodien_ on X (formerly Twitter),

“We know that Red Bull has a very good car, but one day today we also see the qualities of the driver who won the race. It also helped Max [Verstappen] enormously that he took pole position on Saturday.”

Right from Friday practice, the RB20 was at unease even in Verstappen’s hands, as the 26-year-old had multiple offs through the gravel. Meanwhile, the Woking team seemed to have honed in their Miami GP upgrades on both cars.

Both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri challenged Verstappen for pole position but fell short by a whisker. This gave McLaren hope that they could challenge Red Bull in the Grand Prix to some extent.

However, when lights went out, the defending champion gained a comfortable lead. Stella reflected on how Verstappen was able to run very well in his first stint on the medium tires.

This put Norris, who was running in P2 on the back foot, as he had to go into tire conservation mode, especially in his second stint on hard tires.

However, as the laps ticked down, Verstappen started losing grip as he experienced on Friday, as Norris came back in the hunt.

McLaren’s upgrades were showing that the McLaren MCL38 could run at pace with Verstappen and hustle him. Eventually, Norris had to settle for second by just 0.7 seconds. Still, Verstappen and Red Bull felt the heat.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez did not like the Imola GP track experience

Red Bull had all the reasons to be unhappy with their Imola GP experience, despite coming out on top in the end. Max Verstappen commented post-race that he felt the effects of bouncing and porpoising due to multiple bumps on the track.

The 26-year-old stated, “I’m just broken from the bumps, to be honest. My back, everything is hurting. It’s not so much from the physical side of things, but just it was so bumpy out there. Already after like 20 laps, I could really feel my back.”

Now, Verstappen still managed to pull off a great result, despite Norris hounding him in the final 10 laps of the Grand Prix. On the other hand, Sergio Perez had a weekend to forget in Imola.

The Mexican driver missed out on getting into Q3 by a tenth of a second. The more embarrassing aspect was that both V-CARBs and the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg out-qualified him to be in the top 10. Perez’s race also did not turn out to be very different.

Starting from 11th, he was struggling to make moves up the field. The 34-year-old complained that the Imola track is quite narrow and overtaking is quite a challenge.

There have been numerous instances in the past that prove Perez’s observation correct. In fact, in this race itself, Oscar Piastri struggled to get past Carlos Sainz for P4, for about 20 laps before passing him via an undercut strategy.

Regardless, Red Bull would want to forget this mixed bag of a weekend behind them to focus on the upcoming races.

Post Edited By:Tanish Chachra

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar


Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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