F1 reporter ‘manhandled’ off Imola grid by security while interviewing Max Verstappen

An F1 reporter was dragged off the grid prior to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix while conducting an interview with Max Verstappen.

A broadcaster for Dutch channel Viaplay was talking to Red Bull’s Verstappen as the Dutch star approached the front of the grid for the Italian national anthem before the race.

Yet as Verstappen was speaking, the presenter was dragged away by a member of security without any warning or conversation.

The footage shows the presenter did not have the requisite pink grid tag on his accreditation pass, which is what prompted his removal.

Verstappen looked back with a smile on his face before speaking to Sky’s Rachel Brookes ahead of the grand prix.

The three-time world champion won his fifth race of the season after fending off a late onslaught by McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished third, with both the Scuderia and McLaren seemingly closing the gap to last year’s runaway leaders Red Bull after seven races this season.

“You can see, of course, it’s clearly very close now,” said Verstappen, who matched Ayrton Senna’s F1 record of eight pole positions in a row at Imola, 30 years on from the Brazilian’s tragic passing at the same circuit.

“I had a bit more pace on the medium [tyre], but then I didn’t have that pace on the hard. And at the end of the day, we basically came over the line like we almost started the race. It was incredibly close.”

Norris, who secured his first F1 win two weeks ago in Miami, believed he needed just one more lap to make it two victories in a row, as he finished just 0.7 seconds behind Verstappen.

“It hurts me to say it, but with one or two more laps, I think I would have had him,” said Norris. “I was praying for someone to say we had one more lap. I was pushing like hell.

“It’s a shame. I fought hard right until the very last lap, but I lost out a little bit too much to Max in the beginning. One or two more laps would have been beautiful but it wasn’t to be today.

“However, we are now at a point where we can happily say we are in the position of Red Bull and Ferrari. It is a good sign. We are fighting for first or second now and it is what we have to get used to.

“It is frustrating not to win, but after last weekend and the improvements we have made, it is what we should start to expect.”

F1 now heads to Monaco this weekend for one of the most famous races on the schedule.