Red Bull’s Max Verstappen insists lapping bitter rival Lewis Hamilton at the Emilia Romagna GP was ‘not anything exciting’ – and he admits huge gap between them is due to ‘slow’ Mercedes
- Max Verstappen finished a whole lap ahead of Lewis Hamilton at Imola
- Hamilton continues to struggle with his Mercedes after the first four F1 races
- Verstappen though insists he takes no joy in lapping his bitter on-track rival
The world champion dominated at Imola, leading all 63 laps to take his second win from four races this season for Red Bull and securing a one-two finish for the team in front of Sergio Perez.
Max Verstappen prepares to lap Lewis Hamilton at Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Hamilton (back) walks away from the track after finishing a disappointing 13th place on Sunday
Verstappen took full advantage of his bitter title rival from last season and his struggles at Imola by overtaking him late in the race to go a whole lap clear of the Brit.
The Dutchman though insists he took little joy from building such a huge track advantage over Hamilton, claiming the seven-time world champion’s lack of pace is more down to how poor his Mercedes is.
‘Mercedes has been slow all year, so for me it’s not anything exciting, it just happens,’ Verstappen said when he was asked to reflect on lapping Hamilton.
Verstappen won his second race of the season at Imola to get his season back on track
‘It was a good weekend for us, we needed it. I didn’t expect us to have a weekend like this.
‘But when you have a weekend at the end like this, that’s incredible: a one-two for the team but also maximum points scored. Also the way we handled the race, we didn’t really make any mistakes. A very positive weekend.’
Verstappen’s win takes him right back into the title fight as he trails series leader Charles Leclerc by 27 points, but Hamilton has admitted his hopes of joining a championship battle are already all but over.
He already trails Leclerc by 58 points and with no signs of Mercedes improving their package fears the gap to Ferrari and Red Bull is already too big to close down.
‘It’s been difficult, but I don’t really know what to say,’ said the deflated 37-year-old. ‘It’s definitely not easy.
‘I am out of the championship, and there’s no question about that. It has been a weekend to forget.’