Max Verstappen says he surprised himself with a great start at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with which he moved from third place to a lead he didn’t drop until the end of the race and says he’s happy he didn’t spun at the race restart.

Verstappen qualified third behind Hamilton and team-mate Perez, but with a great start in second gear he took the lead on first braking and forced Hamilton to cross high curbs in the third corner.

The only mistake he had the whole race happened at the restart, after the race was interrupted, when he warmed up the tires before the new start and briefly lost control of the car, but managed to get back on track and keep the lead.

“I am of course very happy with this win for everyone in the Team and Honda,” said Verstappen.

“I think the key was of course the start as we had a great launch. I surprised myself as it was always hard to get off the line in the wet last year but we worked hard to try and improve that and it worked.”

“The conditions were challenging out there, especially in the beginning and it was very hard to stay on track but we stayed out of trouble. I wouldn’t call it a dominant performance as Lewis was following me quite well and for him to come back to second after his incident means they have a lot of pace in that car.”

“We won because we made the right calls with tyres at the right time and the Team managed everything well in these conditions. With the tyres degrading, choosing the right moment to go onto slicks wasn’t easy but we got it right.”

“I had a little moment at the re-start trying to warm up the tyres with some throttle but luckily we didn’t spin. We still have to work hard to improve because it’s very close, but for now I’m very happy with the result.”

“I’m looking forward to Portimão because it’s an amazing track and then we go to a track we all know well in Barcelona. We’ll see what we can do but so far, it’s been a good start to the year.”

2021 Emilia Romagna GP Verstappen vs Hamilton first lap battle 2 Photo Red Bull
Verstappen and Hamilton in the 2021 Emilia Romagna GP (Photo: Red Bull)
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