Verstappen beats Hamilton in dramatic Emilia-Romagna GP

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First placed Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates at the end of the Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix, at the Imola racetrack, Italy, Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Bryn Lennon/ Pool Via AP)

IMOLA – Max Verstappen eased to victory in an incident-packed Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday as he comfortably beat Lewis Hamilton, who almost crashed out after a rare error from the world champion.

Hamilton hit a wall in a race that was also temporarily suspended following a separate incident involving his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The 23-year-old Verstappen led for the majority of the race on the wet Imola track and the Red Bull driver beat Hamilton by 22 seconds for the 11th win of his career.

Verstappen almost threw victory away as he nearly lost control of his car during the restart after the red flag but recovered and gradually pulled away from the field out front.

“I had my moment in the restart. That was a big one! But after that it was fine,” Verstappen said with a chuckle.

“It’s a very long season so just have to keep on working very hard. I'm very happy about the result today but tomorrow we start again .. It's great to be fighting against Lewis and Mercedes who have been very dominant for so many years.”

Hamilton, who won the season-opening Bahrain GP last month, showed all his skills to make his way back up the field after falling as far back as ninth following the incident just before the halfway point of the race.

The 36-year-old Hamilton is still ahead of Verstappen in the standings after he picked up a bonus point for the fastest lap in Imola. Bottas had the fastest lap in Bahrain. Lando Norris was third, 23.7 behind Verstappen.