Max Verstappen has taken victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, a race that saw issues arise for his rivals and a mid-race red flag.
Verstappen claimed the lead on the opening lap, launching from third to first into the maiden braking zone, making slight contact with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
With Verstappen and Hamilton both on the Intermediate tyres due to rain that began to fall before the start of the grand prix, lap 27 saw Verstappen pit for Mediums, followed one lap later by Hamilton.
A slow stop for the reigning World Champion saw Verstappen retain the lead but four laps later, Hamilton slid off the road and into the barrier while lapping a backmarker.
Moments later, a major crash between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas eliminated both cars and resulted in a red flag while the track was cleared.
After the rolling restart, Hamilton, who was down in eighth, worked his way back through the pack and reclaimed second place in the dying laps, crossing the line 22 seconds down on Verstappen.
Norris takes podium ahead of Ferrari duo
Lando Norris secured his second career podium as he crossed the finish line on Sunday in third place, leading the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
In the early stages of the grand prix, Norris was running behind team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, before a team instruction saw the Australian let Norris by.
Norris was running in third when the red flag was called, however on the restart he moved past Leclerc. With three laps to go, he was shuffled behind Hamilton, but retained the gap to Leclerc behind to take third place.
Sainz followed home his team-mate in fifth, having spent the early stages of the race struggling to keep his car on the road.
The second McLaren driven by Ricciardo sixth at the chequered flag, 24 seconds down on Sainz.
Perez fails to convert front-row start
Sergio Perez missed out on Championship points after starting the race from second on the grid, enduring a difficult race in the sister Red Bull car.
In the early stages, the Mexican struggled to keep up with his team-mate in front, and was handed a stop/go penalty for overtaking cars after making a mistake under an early safety car period.
At the red flag restart, Perez was positioned in fourth, however a self-inflicted mistake saw him drop out of the points. In the final laps, he closed down on a pack lead by ninth-placed Kimi Raikkonen, but failed to break into the top 10.
Further up the road, Lance Stroll endured issues with his car to take home sixth for Aston Martin, ahead of Pierre Gasly and Kimi Raikkonen.
Esteban Ocon captured Alpine’s first points of 2021, leading home veteran team-mate Fernando Alonso by less than a second.
As well Bottas and Russell, Nicholas Latifi joined the list of retirees following an opening lap collision with the Haas of Nikita Mazepin.