Max Verstappen takes swipe at Red Bull engineer on team radio before Imola sprint win

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Max Verstappen took a hit at his Red Bull team on team radio during his intense battle with Charles Leclerc to claim sprint race victory. His race engineer had simply notified the Dutchman that Leclerc had dropped outside his DRS range.

Verstappen then exploded back, demanding the team did not talk to him at a vital part of the race. He said: “Mate, please do not talk in the braking.”

The team clearly received his message with Verstappen then complaining no one had told him the race was over at the chequered flag. The Red Bull driver was on pole for the race after a stunning lap in a wet/dry qualifying session yesterday afternoon.

However, he was passed by Leclerc off the line and initially looked unable to hunt down the Ferrari man. But, the Dutchman started to reel in the Monegasque in the closing stages to set up a thrilling finish. 

Verstappen used the DRS to close in on Leclerc and managed to make the move stick into Tamburello with just a couple of laps remaining. The reigning champion then maintained the gap to secure the sprint win and pole for tomorrow’s Grand Prix. 

After the race, Verstappen added: “I think we were better on our tyres at the end of the race. It was fast, I was pushing quite a bit.

“Yeah the start was really bad, I don’t know why, maybe too much wheelspin. I think Charles ran out of tyres, today it worked out for us to be on this compound but I don’t know about tomorrow.

“I’m of course happy about today, but tomorrow might be a bit different.” The victory means the Dutchman claims eight championship points as he aims to hunt down Leclerc’s massive championship lead. 

Max Verstappen pips Charles Leclerc to pole by winning Imola GP sprint [INSIGHT]
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Max Verstappen dig at Lewis Hamilton ahead of Emilia Romagna Sprint [COMMENT]

However, Leclerc’s second place finish helps him extend his lead in the drivers’ standings after nearest rival George Russell failed to score. His team-mate Carlos Sainz recovered from his 10th place start to finish fourth in the sprint.

Leclerc appeared disappointed having lost the lead but promised Ferrari would come back fighting in the race tomorrow.

He said: “It’s still a front row start, we struggled with the tyres at the end, we need to analyse that. We will work and come back strong tomorrow. Every time we are in Italy we have so much support, it’s amazing.”

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