Leclerc tells team radio that tyre degradation hurt his Ferrari late on and Verstappen says as he hops out the car that his tyre management was key to the victory.
Nonetheless, a great reception from the tifosi for the runner-up.
Verstappen wins the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix sprint race!
Leclerc comes home second with Perez and Sainz following behind, it is fifth and sixth for the McLarens of Norris and Ricciardo.
A few important points to dish out then, and a fascinating grid set for tomorrow’s race!
That might just be that for the reigning world champion who you could tell was itching to get Leclerc, firing off the throttle at the earliest opportunity as he hunted the Ferrari down.
And he has shot clear as we approach the final lap.
“Just leave me to it,” says Verstappen over team radio before a sloppy getaway from Variante Alta leaves him a bit further back than he would have liked into the DRS zone.
No matter! He makes the overtake into Tamburello!
Lap 19/21: It might have to be a case of into Tamburello or bust for Verstappen.
He gets out of shape around the final turn and he can only think about a dive down the outside. Leclerc holds on, for now…
Five laps to go – and Verstappen is right on Leclerc’s tail!
Magnussen is under huge pressure from Alonso and Bottas, the Finn running just outside the points as things stand.
Haas team radio assure the Dane that his Medium tyres should now kick in as others’ Softs drop off. In fact, it is eighth and ninth fighting as Bottas moves past Alonso.
At the front, Verstappen is edging within DRS range of Leclerc…