Verstappen dominated a wet-dry race from pole position to lead home a Red Bull 1-2 over teammate Sergio Perez.
Ferrari’s disastrous home race began when Carlos Sainz was taken out by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo at the first corner, and was compounded when Leclerc spun into the barrier while attempting to pressure Perez. He was forced to pit for a new nose and front wing, dropping to ninth but recovered to finish sixth.
2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix race results
How the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix unfolded
In damp conditions, and with the field all starting on intermediate tyres, Verstappen held his pole advantage on the run to Turn 1 as teammate Perez and Lando Norris (McLaren) surged past Leclerc to run second and third.
Behind them, Ricciardo tangled with Sainz at Tamburello – leaving Sainz stranded in the gravel just like he was last time out in Melbourne. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) also clipped Ricciardo and he fell back to seventh as Ricciardo pitted and resumed in last place.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, assists as Marshals assist Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari F1-75, in the gravel
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
After the safety car pulled in, Verstappen led Perez, Norris, Leclerc, Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and George Russell, whose Mercedes took full advantage of a great start and the chaos in front of him to rise to sixth.
Leclerc passed Norris for third on Lap 8 at Tamburello, while Magnussen and Russell dueled over fifth – switching the spot at Tamburello on Lap 12 before Russell made it stick at Variante Alta. Bottas passed Magnussen at Rivazza two laps later.
With the track drying out, Ricciardo was the first to pit for slicks on Lap 17 and Perez did likewise two laps later from second. Verstappen and Leclerc stopped a lap later, with Leclerc jumping ahead of Perez, but the Mexican retook the spot at the Villeneuve chicane on his warmer slicks.
Verstappen held a 10s lead at half distance as Perez escaped a grassy excursion at Variante Alta on Lap 29. DRS was enabled on Lap 34 and Yuki Tsuonda (AlphaTauri) used it to pass Magnussen on Lap 48 and on Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) on Lap 54.
Leclerc pitted with 13 laps to go for soft tyres, briefly dropping to fourth behind Norris before he DRS-ed past him a lap later, while Perez stopped to cover him a lap later and Verstappen also then pitted to defend his fastest lap point.
Leclerc went on the attack on Perez in the final 10 laps but spun into the wall at Variante Alta after hitting the curb too hard. He managed to rejoin but had to pit for a new front wing, dropping him to ninth.
Verstappen beat Perez by 16s for his second win of the season, as Norris finished third ahead of the battling Russell and Bottas. Leclerc passed Magnussen, Vettel and Tsunoda in the closing stages to salvage sixth. Tsunoda, Vettel, Magnussen and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) rounded out the top 10.
Fernando Alonso’s Alpine was forced out early when his right sidepod exploded as Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes passed him. The bodywork was damaged when Mick Schumacher clipped him as he half-spun his Haas at Tamburello on the opening lap.