Max Verstappen snatches last-gasp Emilia Romagna sprint race win from Charles Leclerc as Lewis Hamilton woes continue

MAX VERSTAPPEN will start tomorrow's Emilia Romagna GP in pole position after snatching sprint race victory from Charles Leclerc.

The Dutchman began today's 21-lap sprint in P1, but was immediately caught by Leclerc on the first corner.

The Monegasque led for the majority of the race, but was reeled in during the penultimate lap, to the horror of the pro-Ferrari Italian crowd.

Leclerc started in P2, but immediately overtook Verstappen to the delight of the pro-Ferrari Italian crowd.

The victory saw last year's world champion grab eight points for Red Bull, while his Prancing Horse rival had to be content with the seven offered up for second place.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the sprint, Verstappen said: "My start was not very good and it took a while to try and put the pressure on.

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"We were a bit better on our tyres at the end of the race so I could get into DRS and we had a good fight into turn 2.

"It was fast and pushing quite a bit."

Leclerc then added: "It's still a front row start. We struggled with the tyres at the end, so we need to analyse that for tomorrow. We need to make sure that we're ready.

"The pace was good until then, we started to have some draining on the front left and lost it towards the end. That's life, we'll go to work and come back stronger tomorrow."

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Sergio Perez managed to storm up into third, while Carlos Sainz put yesterday's nightmare behind him to clinch fourth.

Brit Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, endured another underwhelming session in the struggling Mercedes – slumping to P14.

McLaren's Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished in fifth and sixth respectively – with Valtteri Bottas in seventh and Haas' Kevin Magnussen in eighth.

Hamilton's Merc team-mate George Russell finished in 11th.

Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu endured a nightmare beginning to the session – running off the track and being forced out of the sprint altogether after a first lap collision with Pierre Gasly.

The Frenchman was forced to pit after damage sustained in the incident – losing plenty of ground in process.

Three laps behind the safety car followed, before racing was able to resume.

Perez surged through the field, overtaking Lando Norris' McLaren into third during lap 11, having started in P7.

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Kevin Magnussen secured Haas' best ever qualifying result yesterday by sealing P4, but the Dane fell behind Norris, Ricciardo and Sainz and Bottas.

After his struggles yesterday Sainz was somewhat back in his groove – flying up the order in the lightning quick Ferrari.

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