Verstappen wins the Sprint from Leclerc on the penultimate lap

Max Verstappen and Red Bull spoil Charles Leclerc’s party and to all tifosi gathered at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. The Dutchman, after a poor start, regained the lead on lap 20 of 21 and will start first again in Sunday’s feature race. We will have to count on Carlos Sainz, who has come back to fourth place. Fernando Alonso has been the antithesis of the man from Madrid and has fallen to ninth position. The two-time champion has not scored in the Sprint.

First Sprint of 2022

Saturday had started with great news for the tifosi: Leclerc had overtaken Verstappen at the start! The Monegasque has generated delirium in the stands by placing the red machine in front. The Dutchman who had reported a gear synchronization problem dropped to second position. Alonso had also lost positions: from 5th to 7th. For his part, Sainz was placed ninth behind his compatriot.

It was not necessary to complete the first lap to have the first safety car on Saturday. Pierre Gasly and Zhou Guanyu made contact at turn 9 and the Chinese hit the inside wall, while the Frenchman blew out his front right wheel, thus losing all positions, although he was already starting from a late position.

The relaunched on lap 5 of 21 would not mean any change in the peloton. We have only been able to witness a brief duel between Fernando and Carlos. The Ferrari driver, with a superior F1-75, has overtaken the two-time champion’s Alpine in two laps to climb to seventh place and thus begin his ride forward.

In other battles, Pérez has made a great sprint start, gaining positions at the start and overtaking Magnussen in the heat to move up to fourth place. Norris would only choke him to complete the comeback, although the young British driver’s McLaren did not last long in third position: the RB18 was no match for the MCL36.

With the first three places stabilized (Leclerc 1st, Verstappen 2nd and Pérez 3rd), the great focus of attention has been on the Sainz comeback. The man from Madrid has surpassed the entire midfield to reach fourth place and threaten the position of his former teammate Lando. After 4 laps, Norris is no longer a rival for the Spaniard: Sainz 4th and comeback successfully completed.

And in the end… We didn’t expect it! Ferrari has begun to suffer graining and Verstappen has gotten dangerously close to Leclerc. After two attempts, Max passed Charles at Turn 2, the old Tamburello, and headed for victory in the first Sprint of the season.

Ferrari disappointment in Italy, above all, thinking that a similar situation could arise in Sunday’s race. Checo has come back to third place and Carlos has finished in fourth position. Norris, Ricciardo, Bottas and Magnussen have scored and Alonso has finished ninth and without points in a fateful day for the interests of Alpine.

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