Leclerc takes popular Monza victory

Charles Leclerc soaked up the big pressure from the Mercedes pair to win at Monza, sending the passionate Tifosi into party mode at the Italian Grand Prix.

This is Leclerc’s second victory in Formula 1 and follows on from his maiden at Spa.

Leclerc fought single-handedly for victory at Ferrari’s home race after teammate Sebastian Vettel had a spin early on while running fourth.

Hamilton gave chase for more than 20 laps in the middle of the Italian Grand Prix before Bottas took over Mercedes’ attack at the end, but Leclerc kept both at bay to win again just seven days after claiming his maiden victory.

Leclerc kept Hamilton at length through the first stint but came under attack after stopping one lap later than his pursuer – and taking hard tyres to the Mercedes driver’s mediums.

Hamilton’s earlier stop brought him out within striking distance of Leclerc straight away and two engaged in an ultra-intense cat-and-mouse chase for more than 20 laps.

During that time, Hamilton got close enough to launch two serious attacks.

First, on lap 23, Hamilton used a minor delay as Leclerc passed Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault at Parabolica to force the Ferrari driver to defend into the first chicane.

Leclerc defended again into the chicane chicane but moved back across to the right, made light contact with Hamilton and forced his rival onto the run-off.

Leclerc was given a black-and-white flag warning for that move, and was perhaps fortunate to get away with what Hamilton described as “dangerous” driving on lap 36.

A small lock-up from Leclerc sent him over the run-off at the first chicane and gave Hamilton a run out of the corner.

As Hamilton looked to the outside through Curva Grande, Leclerc moved to the left to block his path – leaving Hamilton annoyed.

Over the next few laps Hamilton remained in close range but failed to launch another attack before locking his front left into the first chicane at the start of lap 42.

Hamilton took to the escape road, allowing Bottas through into second after he crept up to the lead two with his long first stint giving him an eight-lap offset on fresh tyres.

Bottas picked up the chase, three seconds adrift of Leclerc, and almost got within DRS range with six laps to go before losing a bit of time in the final sector.

His best chance came three laps from the end when he got to just half a second behind Leclerc, but Bottas ran deep into the first corner and dropped back.

Bottas got within DRS range again on the final lap, but made a small mistake at the second chicane and Leclerc won by 0.8 seconds.

Hamilton finished a distant third after pitting for fresh tyres to set the fastest lap and score a bonus point, meaning his championship advantage over Bottas stands at 63 points.

While Leclerc held on to win his first Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver, Vettel had a miserable race and finished outside of the points in P13.

He ran fourth early on but spun after striking the kerb on the entrance to the Ascari chicane on lap six.

Vettel then rejoined the track while cars were flash past and clipped the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, who was seventh, into a spin.

Stroll got going again but rejoined as Pierre Gasly was exiting Ascari, which forced the Toro Rosso driver through the gravel.

Vettel received a 10-second stop-go penalty for his unsafe return to the track, the harshest possible penalty short of disqualification, while Stroll’s was deemed slightly less severe and he was hit with a drive-through.

In the absence of Vettel – and also Max Verstappen, who started at the back following an engine change and had his race compromised by a first lap clash – Daniel Ricciardo scored Renault’s best result of the season in fourth.

Ricciardo had fallen behind teammate Hulkenberg in the early laps but quickly repassed his teammate and assumed fourth when Vettel spun.

He held a commanding advantage over Hulkenberg until the end of the race, while Hulkenberg held onto fifth ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon to give Renault a massive haul of points.

Behind Albon, Sergio Perez benefitted from a well-timed virtual safety car around his pitstop window to finish seventh, despite starting P18.

Verstappen made it back to eighth after stopping on lap one for a new front wing, having broken his when the field bunched up at the first corner.

Antonio Giovinazzi scored points in his home race in ninth, while Lando Norris completed the top ten having started P16.

Three drivers retired from the Italian Grand Prix, two shortly after making their pitstops.

Carlos Sainz lost a likely strong points finish when his McLaren’s front right wheel was not attached properly at his pitstop.

Daniil Kvyat, also running well inside the top ten, pulled his smokey Toro Rosso to a halt exiting the first chicane after his own stop.

Kevin Magnussen was the final retiree. He had already dropped out of the points when he locked up at Turn 1 and took to the run-off.

So congratulations to Charles Leclerc in achieving this fantastic result at Monza. To win for Ferrari in front of the passionate Tifosi crowd is just epic. The last Scuderia driver to be victorious was Fernando Alonso back in 2010, so for Leclerc to win in his first appearance at Ferrari is truly special.

Italian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:15:26.665
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.835
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 35.199
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 45.515
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 58.165
6 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda Red Bull 59.315
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:13.802
8 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:14.492
9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1 lap
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1 lap
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1 lap
13 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 lap
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 lap
17 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 2 laps
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari
– Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda
– Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault

7 thoughts to “Leclerc takes popular Monza victory”

  1. Italian Grand Prix race review as reported by

    A battling performance from Charles Leclerc saw the Monegasque claim his second win in as many weekends, taking a brilliant Italian Grand Prix victory for Ferrari, the Scuderia’s first at Monza since 2010, as he saw off a late-race push from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

    Leclerc became a first-time Grand Prix winner last weekend in Belgium. But while that victory would undoubtedly have been special, winning at Monza in his first race here as a Ferrari driver – claiming the Scuderia’s first Italian Grand Prix win since Fernando Alonso’s victory nine years ago – will doubtless have turned the 21-year-old Leclerc into a national hero in Italy.

    For the majority of the race, it appeared as though Lewis Hamilton would once again deny Ferrari home glory. But once the five-time champion’s tyres went off in the closing stages of the race, it was left to team mate Bottas to launch a late, and ultimately unsuccessful assault, on Leclerc.

    Bottas therefore came home second, while Hamilton completed the podium – with Sebastian Vettel having dramatically spun his Ferrari out of contention for the second consecutive Italian Grand Prix early on in the race.

    A fantastic day for Renault saw Daniel Ricciardo claim a season’s best fourth place ahead of team mate Nico Hulkenberg in sixth. Despite starting eighth – rather than 17th last weekend – Red Bull’s Alex Albon ended up one place lower than he had done in Spa, coming home in sixth, ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who just managed to hold off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who ended up eighth having started P19.

    Antonio Giovinazzi chose an opportune moment to score just his second points-finish of the year, coming home ninth for Alfa Romeo, while Lando Norris completed the top 10 for McLaren.

    But the day ultimately belonged to Leclerc and Ferrari – while questions will once again be asked of Vettel.

    It was Hamilton rather than Leclerc who made the better start off the front row. But Leclerc thought quickly, moving right to crowd Hamilton as his Ferrari SF90 got going properly. Leclerc thus held the lead through Turn 1, as Bottas briefly nipped past his team mate for second before Hamilton slid back around the outside to reclaim the position. Hulkenberg cheekily, and briefly, took Vettel for fourth, before Vettel DRSed back past him down the main straight.

    At the back, Verstappen from 19th on the grid was forced into the Turn 1 run-off after appearing to misjudge the concertina effect into the first bend, damaging his front wing and coming in immediately for a new one.

    As the race settled down in the first few laps, barring some brief excitement when Red Bull’s Alex Albon tried to fight his way past McLaren’s Carlos Sainz only to be dumped unceremoniously off at the first Lesmo, Vettel was holding a comfortable fourth when he dropped his car on his own at Ascari.

    Ending up sideways to the track, the German then clipped Lance Stroll’s Racing Point when he clumsily re-joined, sending Stroll into his own spin. It was a moment of madness, briefly followed by another when Stroll then nearly clattered into Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso when he tried to re-join, with Vettel and Stroll subsequently handed a 10-second stop/go and a drive-through penalty respectively.

    The race then burst into life following the first round of pit stops, with the hard tyre-shod Leclerc emerging on Lap 21 just in front of Hamilton’s medium-tyred Mercedes. Hamilton was sharking behind the Ferrari driver, and as they approached the second chicane two laps later, Leclerc firmly cut to the right of the track, forcing an irate Hamilton onto the run-off and earning himself a black and white driving standards flag.

    What it meant, though, was that Leclerc held on the lead – but it was far from a comfortable one. Lap 36 saw an apparently-rattled Leclerc scamper across the Turn 1 run-off area. Hamilton was applying pressure – but unfortunately for him, the five-time champion was also starting to struggle on his medium tyres.

    That came to a head on Lap 42, with a rare mistake from Hamilton seeing him lock the brakes at Turn 1 and run through the bollards, allowing Bottas – who’d been eating into the gap to the leading pair at a vast rate of knots since his Lap 27 pit stop – into second.

    For the last few laps, Bottas tried his hardest. But ultimately, the Finn just ran out of time and tyres, allowing Leclerc to hold on, and claim his second career win, and his second in as many weekends, by just 0.835s from the Finn, as Hamilton ended up third, having stopped late on to strap on some soft tyres and go for the fastest lap, which he duly took.

    The reaction of the Italian crowd had to be seen to be believed, with a delighted Leclerc pounding the air as he climbed onto Monza’s legendary podium, overlooking an ecstatic sea of red below him as the Hymne Monegasque rang out for the second consecutive race.

    Behind the front three, it was a red-letter day for Renault, Ricciardo eventually taking a comfortable fourth ahead of Hulkenberg in fifth, the team’s best finish of the year so far, while Verstappen ended up just two places behind his sixth-placed team mate Albon after his P19 start. That was impressive, but not as impressive as Perez, who matched Verstappen’s jump up the order, going from P18 to P7 by the flag, as his team mate Stroll finished out of the points here for the first time in his F1 career.

    Local boy Giovinazzi and McLaren’s Norris rounded out the top 10, while it was a less happy day for Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat Sainz, all three retiring from the race with technical problems or, in Sainz’s case, a loose front wheel following a pit stop.

    However, the real story of the day was the contrasting fortune of the Ferrari drivers, Vettel ending up a dismal P13 after yet another unforced error, as his team mate once more converted pole to a victory – and in front of the adoring tifosi no less, a feat Vettel has never managed as a Ferrari driver – while simultaneously taking Vettel’s fourth place in the drivers’ standings as well.

    The wind, it would appear, is very much in the sails of Charles Leclerc.

  2. Ferrari president John Elkann has hailed his rising Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc’s Italian Grand Prix victory as an “unforgettable day” and an “extraordinary emotion”.

    Leclerc withstood a fierce attack from Lewis Hamilton and then a late charge from Valtteri Bottas to win Ferrari’s home race, one week after claiming his first F1 win at Spa.

    After the grand prix, in which he kept Hamilton at bay for more than 20 laps despite the Mercedes being in DRS range, Leclerc was left screaming with emotion over the radio.

    His celebrations were interrupted by a congratulation from team principal Mattia Binotto.

    An exhausted Leclerc said “I have never been so tired” after emerging from the car, and Ferrari issued a short statement from Elkann in praise of Leclerc’s efforts.

    “Winning in Monza, at home in front of our fans, is an extraordinary emotion,” said Elkann. “It is the best gift with which we can celebrate our 90th birthday.

    “Bravissimo Charles, and congratulations to Mattia and the whole Scuderia for this unforgettable day.”

    Leclerc’s win was all the more impressive as he had to carry Ferrari’s fight on his own following an early spin for teammate Sebastian Vettel.

    A second victory in a row has hauled Leclerc above Vettel into fourth in the championship, three points Max Verstappen.

    Leclerc admitted he made “a few mistakes” during the grand prix, one when he nudged Hamilton wide into the second chicane while defending the lead and another when he locked up at the first chicane.

    “But at the end I finished first, so I am very happy with this,” said Leclerc. “I need to be careful with the mistakes but none of them made me lose position today.”

    The defeated Mercedes duo lamented their fruitless chase of Leclerc and admitted he and his Ferrari were too quick to overhaul.

    Bottas said he was “gutted” after a longer first stint set him up for a late attack, having assumed second when Hamiton locked up and ran wide at the first chicane.

    “I was trying everything to get him, but no way to get past,” said Bottas.

    “When I got close I was having front locking through loss of downforce and they were so quick on the straight.

    “We tried everything we could with engine modes and everything.”

    Hamilton was unhappy with Leclerc’s driving at times over the radio but said after the race: “He did a great job, congrtulations to Charles and Ferrari.

    “I did the best I could but following so closely for such a long time, the tyres went off a cliff.

    “They were just quicker – they were so quick in the straight so if we got close we could not get past.”


  3. Monza penalty leaves Sebastian Vettel three points from race ban. has the news story.

    Sebastian Vettel has been handed three Formula 1 licence penalty points for his “dangerous” incident in the Italian Grand Prix, leaving him one serious incident from a ban.

    Vettel spun at the Ascari chicane early in Ferrari’s home race, then rejoined as the chasing pack was filtering through the fast right-hand middle part of the corner.

    He was fortunate to avoid heavy contact but he did collide with seventh-placed Lance Stroll and sent him into a spin.

    In their official report, it was noted that “the stewards considered this to be a dangerous incident”.

    Vettel was therefore handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner, and had three penalty points added to his licence, taking his tally to nine points in a 12-month period.

    Three points is the maximum penalty points the stewards can apply to a driver’s licence and it is reserved the most serious driving offences.

    If a driver accumulate 12 penalty points in a 12-month period, they receive an automatic one-race ban.

    Vettel must complete the next three F1 races without accumulating three points or more as he will not lose any of his current penalty points until after the Japanese Grand Prix.

    “I lost the rear, couldn’t catch it,” said Vettel of his mistake to Sky. “As simple as that. I’m obviously not happy and after that the race was obviously gone.

    “I struggled a couple of times to get the car going and struggled to get in the right direction so I couldn’t see him.”

    Stroll received a drive-through penalty and two penalty points in his licence for a similar albeit not as severe piece of unsafe rejoining.

    After his spin, he was getting going again on the exit of Ascari as Pierre Gasly rounded the corner.

    The stewards noted that Stroll “left the track due to the collision” with Vettel but still felt he was responsible for rejoining unsafely and forcing Gasly off the track.

  4. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen says rivals “almost stood still” at start of the Italian Grand Prix. has the details.

    Max Verstappen said it felt like his Formula 1 rivals “almost stood still” in the incident where he damaged his Red Bull at the start of the Italian Grand Prix.

    Having started at the back of the grid due to an engine change penalty, Verstappen picked up front wing damage when he clipped Sergio Perez’s Racing Point at the first corner at Monza.

    Verstappen could only recover to eighth place, ironically spending the final laps trapped behind Perez.

    “It was not even late braking, just following, following…” said Verstappen when asked about the first corner incident by

    “Suddenly everything almost stood still. I tried to avoid it but I still clipped Sergio, I think, on the rear wheel and I think the front wing was a bit down so we boxed.”

    He described the rest of the race as “odd”, having also lost ground when cars around him were able to take their pitstops under the virtual safety car triggered by Carlos Sainz’s McLaren parking with a loose wheel.

    “We had good pace. I got through quite a lot of cars, but then I got stuck behind Sergio. They had such a high top speed, I had no chance to get by,” Verstappen added.

    “Then I was unlucky again with the virtual safety car, two or three cars overtook me in the pitstop because of that.

    “The whole race everything was just against us and it just didn’t work out.

    “Sometimes starting at the back it works out brilliantly, like in Austin last year, but you can’t expect it to be like that all the time of course.”

    Perez was also carrying an engine change penalty so started 18th and credited “good pace, good overtaking” for his progress to seventh. He was among the drivers able to pit under the VSC.

    “The last 15-20 laps were very, very tricky and we pushed from there to the end,” he said when asked about fending off Verstappen.

    “It was very difficult, he was very quick. He closed down to me extremely quick, but luckily I didn’t lose any time with [Antonio] Giovinazzi when I overtook him everything worked out for us.”

    When it was put to him that Perez had enjoyed their battle, Verstappen replied: “I want to get by so you’re not really enjoying it getting stuck but I can understand from his side of course keeping a Red Bull behind for them is a good achievement”.

    Verstappen believes his pace would have been comparable to Mercedes and Ferrari if he had been able to start with them.

    “I could go with the guys in front. I could see them on the screen and I was following my progression,” he said.

    “I knew their lap times and I was not losing out. Of course when I got in traffic I lost time, but all the time when I was in free air they were not faster.

    “So that’s of course very promising on a track where you’re normally not that competitive.

    “Today was about surviving and trying to score a few points. We did that, but I’m now really looking forward to starting at the front again in Singapore because we’ve had our penalties and hopefully also our trouble and now we can just focus on performance.”

  5. Racing Point Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll says he was “quite upset” over Sebastian Vettel sending him into a spin after rejoining the track rashly during the Italian Grand Prix.

    Vettel spun while entering the Ascari chicane on the fourth lap, and found himself parked on the grass inside of the chicane’s right-hand corner.

    Upon rejoining the track, he tapped Lance Stroll’s RP19 into a spin, despite the Canadian attempting to take evasive action.

    Speaking after the race, Stroll said of the incident: “I’m quite upset about what happened, to be honest. He was in a position where he shouldn’t have just come back on the circuit that aggressively.

    “I did everything I could to avoid it, I was really cautious, saw the yellow flag, lifted off and whatever. I obeyed the rules in that circumstance and he just came back on the circuit in the middle of Ascari and there was really nothing I could do even at the speed I was going, which was quite slow.

    “He was blocking the whole circuit at that point and then he clipped me and I spun and I was pointing the wrong way.”

    The contact with Vettel left Stroll on the left-side exit kerb, and as he attempted to return to the racing line the Racing Point driver forced the approaching Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly into the gravel.

    Like Vettel, Stroll insisted that he hadn’t seen the incoming car, and said he “was just trying to get out of the way”.

    “I couldn’t see who was coming from my right so I had to do a dangerous manoeuvre to get back on the circuit myself and then I got penalised for pretty much the same thing [as Vettel]. It was just a disaster really.

    “I had no visibility on my right side so I was just trying to get back in the race at that point.

    “For sure but there’s nothing really you can do at the moment with these cars, it’s just a bit of a guessing game.”

    Gasly recovered from the run-in to finish 11th, with both Vettel and Stroll also ending up outside of the points.

    The Toro Rosso driver described it as a “pretty close one”, saying: “It’s better that nothing happened, because it could’ve been a lot worse.

    “But, it’s also like, yeah, it cost us quite a lot at the end of the race, when we finished only three seconds from P9.”

    Both Vettel and Stroll were penalised soon after, with the former receiving a 10-second stop and go penalty and the latter only taking a drive-through.

    Vettel was also handed three penalty points to Stroll’s two, as the stewards ruled his infringement to be a “dangerous incident”.

    Asked by about the discrepancy between the penalties, Stroll said: “I wouldn’t have been there in the first place if he didn’t do what he did, and I was on the racing line and he was on the grass from what I saw, and he re-entered the track.

    “I had a portion of my car on the line, it was double-waved yellows, and I was just trying to get off the racing line.”


  6. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc admitted that his fight with Max Verstappen helped him beat Lewis Hamilton. has the news story.

    Charles Leclerc says learning he could race more aggressively after fighting with Max Verstappen earlier this year helped him defeat Lewis Hamilton to win Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix.

    Leclerc was overtaken by Verstappen late on after wheel-to-wheel contact in the Austrian Grand Prix, and the decision not to penalise Verstappen then has formed part of a new policy to let drivers race each other harder.

    At Monza on Sunday, Leclerc resisted a lengthy attack from Lewis Hamilton and twice triggered irritated messages from the Mercedes driver over the radio: first when he forced Hamilton to take to the run-off at the Roggia chicane and second when he jinked left to block the championship leader through Curva Grande.

    Leclerc said: “Since Austria it’s clear we can go a bit further in the way we defend and overtake and just the aggressiveness of us drivers.

    “I believe that Austria helped me changed the approach and today it’s also thanks to this that I managed to win. It was obviously very on the limit but I’m happy to race like this.”

    Leclerc was shown the black-and-white flag for his move to the left as Hamilton attacked on the outside into the second chicane.

    That is a recently-revived option by the FIA to act as a warning to drivers, with a penalty to follow if they commit a second offence.

    “I was aware on the radio I took a black/white flag for moving under braking,” said Leclerc. “To be completely honest, I knew he was on the right, he braked a little bit early.

    “It was probably on purpose because he didn’t want to try to go around the outside. I felt I left a car width. I haven’t seen the images but I’m pretty sure I left a car width.

    “It’s good if we can race harder.”

    Hamilton was not convinced Leclerc was treated correctly by officials.

    “We’ve constantly asked for consistency,” said Hamilton. “There was a rule put in place and it wasn’t abided by today. They used a different consequence. I don’t really know why that was the case.

    “I guess the stewards woke up on a different side of the bed.”

    Asked by if he felt Leclerc was on the limit or over it, Hamilton replied: “That’s racing, I guess. I had to avoid colliding with him a couple of times. But that’s how the racing is today.”

  7. Charles Leclerc’s defence over Lewis Hamilton was “maybe over the line” according to Toto Wolff. has the details.

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff thinks Charles Leclerc’s defensive driving was perhaps “over the line” in the Italian Grand Prix, as he said Lewis Hamilton was instrumental in preventing a crash.

    Hamilton was forced to take evasive action twice in the fight with Leclerc for the lead at Monza – once running wide at the second chicane to avoid an incident and then later having to back off as his Ferrari rival blocked him through Curva Grande.

    Although Leclerc was handed a black-and-white warning flag for the first incident, Wolff suggested that his action could have perhaps been worthy of more.

    “They [the stewards] are in a very difficult situation, to come up with the right decisions, that are not always clear cut,” said Wolff after the race.

    “I know you want to have some more spicy stuff and I just said to Martin Brundle, I have enough of my own problems to solve that I don’t want to have [F1 race director] Michael Masi’s problems on top of that.

    “The racing was very hard, maybe over the line – and Lewis I think was instrumental in not making it an incident.

    “But at the end of the day, what do you do? You give a leading Ferrari in Monza a five-second penalty? Out of the question….because then we need a police escort out of here.”

    Hamilton suggested that the approach to driving etiquette and penalties being handed out had now changed – and he was baffled about why Leclerc got away with only a warning.

    “That’s racing, I guess. I had to avoid colliding with him a couple of times. But that’s how the racing is today,” he said. “We’ve constantly asked for consistency.

    “There was a rule put in place and it wasn’t abided by today. They used a different consequence. I don’t really know why that was the case. I guess the stewards woke up on a different side of the bed.”

    Wolff suggested that the use of the black-and-white flag had opened a can of worms with drivers now pushing the limits more than they would have in the past because they know that they will likely get a warning first.

    “There will be more cars touching, it will be more of a common practice,” he said. “In my opinion it’s going to go to the point that it will end up again in a collision, and then we’re going to bail out of it again, or crawl back. This is the modus operandi. Until then, we let them race.”

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