Gasly wins for AlphaTauri at Monza

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly won a dramatic Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, with early leader Lewis Hamilton penalised for entering the pitlane during the safety car period.

Sainz chased Gasly over the second half of the race at Monza, which was red-flagged when Charles Leclerc crashed heavily at the Parabolica, but he could not find a way to finish second ahead of Lance Stroll.

Hamilton dominated the early stages of the race, but a 10-second stop/go penalty for pitting when the pitlane was closed following Kevin Magnussen’s broken Haas. This penalty dropped the championship leader to last but was able to charge back to seventh.

At the start, Valtteri Bottas appeared to react slower than Hamilton on the front row and he was quickly passed by Sainz on the run down to Turn 1, where the Mercedes driver was then put under pressure from Norris.

The Mercedes and the McLaren touched at the apex of Turn 2 and their battle continued through Curva Grande, with Lando Norris then attack Bottas around the outside of the della Roggia chicane.

They made more contact – wheel to wheel – as Norris barged by, with Bottas then falling behind Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo as he struggled to get up to speed on the run to Ascari, suspecting he had picked up a puncture, which Mercedes then assured him was not the case.

Up front, Hamilton edged  clear of Sainz, 1.3-seconds clear by the end of the first lap of 53.

The world champion set about extending that lead throughout the first stint, with Sainz quickly dropping his team-mate, who was soon being harassed by Perez.

Hamilton continued extending his lead over the next 18 laps, which reached 12.5 seconds by the time the race was turned on its head when Kevin Magnussen ground to a halt approaching the pitlane and the safety car was deployed.

His stricken Haas had to be pushed into the pitlane by the marshals, which meant the pitlane was closed – 11-seconds after the safety car was called out – but Hamilton headed in to switch to the medium Pirelli compound.

The rest stayed out – apart from Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, who was placed under investigation alongside the leader, with Mercedes telling Hamilton it expected him to get a penalty.

That penalties did come from race control, but only after the Italian Grand Prix was suspended after Leclerc’s massive accident at the exit of the Parabolica.

The pack had come in once Magnussen’s car was finally out of harm’s way and the pitlane was re-opened, which boosted the few cars that had stopped just before the safety car – including Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen and Leclerc, and Stroll, who did not come during the initial disruption.

At the end of the first lap after the restart – Leclerc lost the rear of his Ferrari as he accelerated out of the famous right-hander and as he corrected the slide his car snapped left and he shot into the barriers at high speed.

Leclerc was able to climb from his car and went to the medical centre for precautionary checks before being released, with the race stopped for over 25 minutes as the barrier was repaired, with the leading order Hamilton, Stroll, Gasly, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, Sainz and Norris.

During this delay, Hamilton was handed the same 10-second stop/go penalty that had been given to Giovinazzi just before the red flag, and he climbed from his car to speak with his engineer at the head of the queue, then scooted down to speak to the Mercedes strategists and senior leadership before visiting the race control area of the main Monza pit building.

When the race got underway via a second standing start at the beginning of lap 28, Stroll made a slow getaway, which meant Gasly could surge ahead of the Racing Point and chase Hamilton, who pitted to serve his penalty at the end of the second ‘first’ lap.

That left Gasly running clear of Raikkonen, with Giovinazzi then dropped out of the lead fight as he served his penalty, with Sainz passing Stroll – who had cut the second chicane after locking up on the first lap of the restart to drop behind both Alfas – into Turn 1 on lap 29.

Gasly was then tasked with building a lead, while Sainz chased and then attacked Raikkonen into the first chicane on lap 34, muscling his way by at the apex of Turn 2 and setting off after the AlphaTauri.

At the start of lap 35, Gasly lead Sainz by 4.1 seconds, with the two new leaders initially lapping closely in the low one minute, 24 seconds.

Sainz was briefly able to get into the one minute, 23 seconds as he chased the leader, who looked calm in lead even as his lead was slowly erased over the remaining 18 laps.

The McLaren driver consistently cut Gasly’s lead but the dirty air coming off the AlphaTauri harmed his progress, struggling to get into DRS range.

He eventually managed it, but only on the final lap – with Gasly weaving to try and break the tow where he could – and Sainz was never able to run close enough to make a move for the lead.

Gasly therefore held on to win by 0.4 seconds, with Stroll third, 3.3 seconds adrift.

Norris took fourth as Raikkonen fell to P13 on the softs, with the rest of the front runners all on the mediums, ahead of Bottas, who struggled to make any progress in traffic.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth, with his teammate Esteban Ocon, Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez rounding out the top ten.

The last three points scorers were overhauled by Hamilton, charging on the hards, as he recovered from P17 to finish seventh.

He was nearly 30 seconds off the lead when he served his penalty and, after a string of fastest laps, he cut his way into the points with a series of passes, eventually coming home 17.2 seconds behind Gasly.

Alex Albon, who clashed with Gasly at the initial ‘first corner’ in an incident that was not investigated, came home P15, while his teammate Max Verstappen retired shortly after the second start when Honda spotted a possible power unit issue.

Ferrari’s home race had got off to a bad start before Leclerc’s crash when Sebastian Vettel suffered a brake failure at Turn 1 on lap 6, and he retired in the pits after smashing through the first chicane’s runoff marker boards.

So a crazy race and yet many congratulations to Pierre Gasly in winning the Italian Grand Prix on merit with an outstanding drive for AlphaTauri. He handled the pressure from Carlos Sainz so well to score a dream victory. The safety car and red flag certainly mixed up the order but credit to Gasly’s driving to race win.

Italian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda   1:47:06.056
2 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 0.415
3 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 3.358
4 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 6.000
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 7.108
6 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 8.391
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 17.245
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 18.691
9 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 22.208
10 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 23.224
11 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 32.876
12 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 35.164
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 36.312
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 36.593
15 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 37.533
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 55.199
– Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda   DNF
– Charles Leclerc Ferrari    DNF
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari   DNF
– Sebastian Vettel Ferrari DNF

7 thoughts to “Gasly wins for AlphaTauri at Monza”

  1. Italian Grand Prix race review as reported by

    An incredible 2020 Italian Grand Prix saw AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly claim a maiden Formula 1 win from the McLaren of Carlos Sainz and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, as a transgression under the Safety Car saw polesitter Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton forced to serve a 10-second stop/go penalty, leaving him seventh at the flag.

    The race was turned on its head by a Safety Car brought out as Kevin Magnussen’s stricken Haas had to be recovered. But with Hamilton diving into the pit lane when it was closed (as did Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi), he was handed his penalty – which he served after the race was restarted on Lap 28 of 53, following a 25-minute red flag period after Charles Leclerc crashed heavily at the Parabolica.

    That left Gasly at the head of the field, after he’d pitted before the Safety Car was brought out, with the Frenchman holding on brilliantly to take a sensational maiden win in Formula 1 at AlphaTauri’s home race, as McLaren’s Carlos Sainz finished second, with Racing Point’s Lance Stroll completing the podium.

    Lando Norris was fourth for McLaren, holding off the leading Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in P5, after the Finn had suffered a poor start that left him sixth at the end of Lap 1. Ricciardo took sixth ahead of Hamilton, who recovered well from his penalty to take P7, with the Renault of Esteban Ocon, the second AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez rounding out the top 10.

    Both Ferraris retired from their home race, meanwhile, Leclerc with his off at the Parabolica, while Sebastian Vettel suffered a brake failure on Lap 6, while Max Verstappen also retired on Lap 31 – meaning it’s the first time in the turbo-hybrid era that a Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari hasn’t finished on the podium.

    Starting P2, Valtteri Bottas’ race began disastrously, with Hamilton making a perfect getaway from pole, while Carlos Sainz’s launch was outstanding as he easily passed Bottas to claim second into Turn 1. Behind, Sainz’s team mate Lando Norris was even more impressive, snaking through the pack from sixth on the grid to run side by side with Bottas through the first chicane.

    He ultimately had to cede to the Finn, but took the outside line into the second chicane and sensationally claimed P3 from the Mercedes, with Sergio Perez nearly nipping through as well.

    Now fourth, Bottas’ fortunes would get worse in the next few corners, Perez getting Bottas a few corners down the road at Lesmo 2, while Ricciardo had demoted Bottas to sixth with a lunge down the inside of the entry into Ascari.

    Lower down the order, it wasn’t a great start for Red Bull, Verstappen dropping two places from fifth on the grid – and even briefly dropping behind Lance Stroll’s Racing Point to P8 before re-passing the Canadian – while Alex Albon was tagged by Gasly’s AlphaTauri at Turn 1 at the start and missed the corner, dropping him from P9 to P15.

    So as the pack settled down, by Lap 5 it was Hamilton from the McLaren duo of Sainz and Norris, then Perez, Bottas and Verstappen in P7. Down at the other end of the field, a hard tyre-shod Sebastian Vettel hadn’t gained any positions from his P17 start – while on Lap 6, the Ferrari driver pounded through the polystyrene boards at the escape road at Turn 1, his brakes having failed. Meanwhile, Albon’s race took another hit, as he was handed a five-second race penalty for squeezing Romain Grosjean’s Haas into Turn 1.

    Things weren’t improving for Bottas either, who couldn’t seem to make progress from sixth, the Finn having to cool his Mercedes and complaining vocally about the engine modes Mercedes had opted to run. “I can’t race with these engine settings,” he growled over team radio. “It’s a joke.”

    Out in front, by Lap 20, Hamilton had put a 13s gap between himself and Sainz, the Spaniard having built his own cushion of over 4s to Norris, the McLarens looking comfortable as they enjoyed having two cars in the top three for the first time since 2014. That cushion, though, was eroded in one fell swoop when Kevin Magnussen pulled his Haas VF-20 off at the exit of Parabolica on that lap, bringing out the Safety Car.

    Hamilton immediately, instinctively darted his car into the pits for a change of tyres to mediums, as Sainz stayed out to take the lead, with Giovinazzi following Hamilton into the pits behind. It was a big error from Hamilton and Giovinazzi, who’d both failed to spot that the pit lane had been shut as Magnussen’s car was recovered…

    Once the pit lane was opened again, Sainz and Norris led the majority of the field in, with Stroll opting to not pit and taking up P2, while having pitted before the Safety Car, Gasly slotted into a promising looking P3, with the Alfa Romeos of Giovinazzi and Raikkonen P4 and P5 and Charles Leclerc sixth, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in seventh, with Sainz, Norris and Bottas rounding out the top 10.

    The race was green-flagged again on Lap 24 of 53, Hamilton leading out front after the pit stops, while behind Leclerc quickly moved past the Alfa pair to take P4. He wouldn’t complete the lap, however, with the Monegasque suffering a twitch at the Parabolica and counter-steering, before the SF1000 snapped back and ploughed into the outside wall. It was a nasty looking shunt, but mercifully Leclerc emerged unhurt.

    There was no option but to red flag the race, and as the drivers pulled into the pits and hopped out of their cars, Hamilton was handed a 10-second stop/go penalty for his pit lane transgression, equating to a net loss of around 30s at Monza – Giovinazzi having received the same punishment earlier – while Stroll’s decision not to pit appeared to have paid serious dividends, the Canadian getting effectively a free pit stop under the red flags.

    After a 25-minute stoppage, part two of the race got underway starting from Lap 28, with the top 10 looking like this: Hamilton (with a penalty hanging over him, which he was obliged to serve within three laps), Stroll, Gasly, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi (also with a penalty), Sainz, Norris, Bottas, Latifi, Ricciardo, while Max Verstappen was P11, and Perez down in P14.

    From a second standing start of the afternoon, Hamilton got away well from ‘pole’, while Gasly was lightning from P3, passing a slow-starting Stroll to take second, with Raikkonen and Giovinazzi also moving past the Canadian to demote him to P5 – while having then run on at the Della Roggia chicane, Stroll then swapped positions a number of times with Sainz, before Sainz took over fifth.

    Hamilton served his penalty at the end of Lap 28 – duly dropping 30s behind the leaders – and leaving the order as Gasly from Raikkonen, Sainz, Stroll and Norris, with Bottas sixth ahead of Ricciardo. Max Verstappen had dropped down to 14th after an issue at Turn 1 at the restart, but pulled into the pits and out of the race on Lap 31, the Dutchman storming angrily away from his car having suffered a power unit issue.

    Sainz was up to P2 by Lap 34, with Raikkonen having had a twitch at Parabolica that left him vulnerable to an attack into Turn 1, which Sainz delivered with a clinical manoeuvre – while Stroll, Norris, Bottas and Ricciardo then followed through on the Finn in quick succession.

    With 10 laps to go, Gasly was holding on well at the head of the pack, with a near-3s gap to Sainz, who had a similar advantage to Stroll, who was now up to P3, with Norris holding on from Bottas in fourth – while Hamilton was up to P12, although both Mercedes drivers were having cooling problems on their W11s.

    As the laps ticked down, Sainz ground down Gasly’s lead, telling his race engineer Tom Stallard: “I want this win.” Ultimately, though, he couldn’t get close enough to make it happen, crossing the line 0.415s adrift of the Frenchman, as a stunned Gasly secured a quite phenomenal first win, 13 months on from being dropped by Red Bull. It was also France’s first win since 1996, while it was effectively the AlphaTauri squad’s second Monza win, after Vettel triumphed for Toro Rosso back in 2008.

    Lance Stroll was probably left thinking that a win might have escaped his grasp on race day, but couldn’t be too disappointed with his second career podium, as he came home third. The real shock was how Bottas had been unable to recover higher than fifth, with Lando Norris able to easily hold him off to take P4 and cap a fantastic result for McLaren.

    Behind Bottas, on a day where the order was a topsy-turvy as this, Ricciardo will have been disappointed not to have been in the mix for the podium places, as he drove a steady race to sixth, ahead of Hamilton, who’d done well to make it up to seventh by the flag after his penalty. However, on a day when victory had been seen as a near-certainty for Mercedes, it had been a humbling race for the Silver Arrows…

    Ocon, Kvyat and Perez rounded out the top 10, while it was a shame that, on the Williams family’s last ever weekend in F1, Nicholas Latifi finished just outside the points in P11 – while Albon in the sole Red Bull could do no better than 15th of 16 runners left at the flag, having suffered heavy floor damage early in the race. He finished ahead of only Giovinazzi, while having been P3 at the race restart, Raikkonen fell as far as 13th by the end of the race.

    So, not great for Mercedes, not great for Red Bull and truly awful for Ferrari. But as the Italian national anthem rang out over the sobbing AlphaTauri mechanics; as Carlos Sainz, a future Ferrari driver, took an incredible career-best second place; and as a disbelieving Pierre Gasly sat on his own on the podium, swigging champagne and reflecting on a maiden F1 victory at the end of a tumultuous 18 months, there was no doubt that race day in Italy had witnessed something very special indeed in the history of this sport.

  2. Monza race winner Pierre Gasly admitted he was “struggling to realise” after taking P1. has the full story.

    Pierre Gasly was left “struggling to realise” his maiden Formula 1 victory after delivering a shock result for AlphaTauri in the Italian Grand Prix.

    Gasly capitalised on a red flag stoppage to rise from 10th in the first stint to line up third on the grid for the restart behind Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll.

    Gasly was able to pass Stroll before inheriting the lead when Hamilton was forced to serve a stop/go penalty after entering the pit lane when it was closed during the first safety car period.

    A late charge from McLaren’s Carlos Sainz saw Gasly come under pressure entering the final lap, running less than one second ahead, but he was able to hold on and take the win by just 0.4 seconds.

    “It’s unbelievable,” Gasly said after the race.

    “It was such a crazy race. We capitalised on the red flag. The car was fast out there, we had a pretty fast car behind us.

    “I’ve been through so much in the space of 18 months. My first podium last year, I was already like wow with AlphaTauri, and now my first win in Monza. I’m struggling to realise [it].”

    It marked Gasly’s second podium finish in F1 following his second-place finish at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix for the team then known as Toro Rosso.

    The result also comes a little over a year since he was dropped by Red Bull and returned to Toro Rosso due to poor form.

    Gasly paid tribute to the team’s support and faith in him, having made his F1 debut for Toro Rosso back in 2017.

    “I have no words,” Gasly said.

    “This team have done so much for me. They gave me my first opportunity in F1, they gave me my first podium. Now they are giving me my first win.

    “It’s crazy, honestly. It’s just crazy. I’m so happy. I can’t thank them enough, everybody from AlphaTauri to Honda.

    “It’s a power sensitive track and we won the race out of all the Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault cars, so just an amazing day.”

    Gasly also became the first French driver to win a grand prix since Olivier Panis at Monaco in 1996, ending a 24-year drought.

    “I’ve always said coming in F1 that’s one thing we need to change, because it’s been so long,” Gasly said.

    “I never expected that it would happen to us with AlphaTauri. We just kept focusing on ourselves since last year, working improving step by step.

    “It’s crazy, honestly. I’m just so happy.”

  3. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. commented that he felt “halfway disappointed” with second place at Monza. has the details.

    Carlos Sainz says he was only “halfway disappointed” to miss out on a maiden Formula 1 win in Italy, after finishing second to AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

    The McLaren driver had run second behind Lewis Hamilton in the early stages of the Italian GP, and looked best placed to capitalise on the world champion being given a stop-go penalty for entering a closed pitlane for new tyres.

    But a well-timed pitstop by Gasly’s AlphaTauri team helped the Frenchman move to the front of the field, and he was able to hold on to lead until the chequered flag after a mid-race restart.

    While Sainz knew that the opportunity had been there for him to score his first victory, he was equally aware that if Hamilton had not hit trouble then the best he could have hoped for was second place anyway.

    “It is incredible,” he said. “I’m halfway disappointed with P2 as you would not believe that I can had a chance to fight for victory today.

    “We were very, very close, but honestly with a normal race I think I would’ve been P2 behind Lewis because we had really, really good pace. So I think it is what we deserved.”

    Sainz admitted he had been surprised that the AlphaTauri had moved ahead of him during the safety car pitstop window, but recognised what good a job he had to do to recover after the restart.

    “With Pierre there in front, it was like ‘woah, how could that happen?’ But I guess we had a bit of bad luck with the safety car. Then we did a good job to recover it after the red flag.

    “I am very happy with P2 as we’ve been super quick all weekend and I feel like I could dominate the midfield pretty easily today. So I have to be happy with that.”

    Despite missing out on the win, Sainz said that the entire McLaren team should be proud of the job it had done to have such a quick car all weekend.

    “Getting back from P6 to P2 and then chasing Pierre and managing to finish three or four tenths behind at the flag, we need to be proud of that and proud of the pace of the car,” he said.

    “Without the red flag I think I would have finished behind Lewis today but it is what it is.”

  4. Lance Stroll was left ruing a missed opportunity to score his maiden Formula 1 victory, feeling the Italian Grand Prix was “mine to lose” on the red flag restart.

    Stroll was able to rise from eighth in the opening stint to sit second when the race was red flagged after Racing Point opted against pitting the Canadian under the two safety car periods.

    It meant the team could complete a free tyre chance on Stroll’s car under the red flag, saving him a pit stop.

    This made Stroll the net leader after Lewis Hamilton was handed a stop/go penalty ahead of the race restart for entering the pit lane when it was closed under the first safety car period.

    But a slow getaway on the restart saw Stroll lose positions to Pierre Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Carlos Sainz on the first lap back under green flag conditions.

    Stroll was able to pass both Alfa Romeo cars, but was unable to keep pace with eventual winner Gasly or second-placed Sainz ahead, leaving him to settle for third place.

    “It has been a couple of years since I stood on the podium, so it feels good to be back, and it was such a crazy race,” Stroll said after his first podium finish since the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

    “I am so happy for Pierre, he really deserved it as he had a really great start. He stayed consistent all the way throughout the race.

    “It is a bit of a bummer. I think it was kind of mine to lose starting from second, but I just had no grip at the start.

    “I had a ton of wheel spin and everyone flew by me. I had a good scrap with Carlos on the first couple of laps, and I overtook around the outside, but he got me again down into Turn 1.

    “We were battling out there, so I am happy to pick up third. I think the win slipped away from us today, but third is great.”

    Stroll said it was “bizarre” to take the grid restart halfway through the race under the red flag regulations.

    “You’ve got to restart, and you are not used to that intermission halfway through a race,” Stroll said. “But it is great to finish third.”

    The result marked Racing Point’s first podium finish in F1 since taking over the former Force India operation, whose last rostrum came at the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.


  5. After leading the first half of the Italian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes got caught out in the safety car in which the pitlane was closed. Received a 10-second stop/go penalty. The team explains ‘weird events’ that led to Hamilton penalty. has the full details.

    Mercedes has explained the error which “screwed” Lewis Hamilton’s Italian Grand Prix after receiving a stop/go penalty for entering the pit lane while it was closed.

    Hamilton sat over 10 seconds clear of Formula 1 field at Monza when the safety car was deployed when Haas driver Kevin Magnussen parked up at the side of the track near the pit entry.

    It prompted race control to deploy the safety car and then close the pit lane 11 seconds later, preventing drivers from coming in so that Magnussen’s car could be wheeled to safety.

    But Hamilton came into the pits after missing the signal boards saying the pitlane had been closed, leading to an investigation from the stewards.

    Hamilton was handed a 10-second stop/go penalty, leaving him more than 25 seconds off the back of the field after he came in one lap after the race restarted following a red flag.

    Hamilton was able to claw his way back to seventh place, picking up a bonus point for the fastest lap in the process.

    Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff explained that the team was unable to see the boards denoting that the pitlane was closed from the pit wall, and that there was no red light at the pit entry.

    “It was a weird sequence of events that maybe we could have spotted earlier,” Wolff said.

    “The decisions that were taken were highly unusual, but they were absolutely within the rules.

    “One of the Haas [cars] was parked to the right, near the entry, on the inside of Parabolica, and there was a single yellow. Eleven seconds later, a safety car was deployed.

    “Once the safety car was deployed, they put the entry to the pit lane on red, but it wasn’t exactly red, it was two yellow crosses on the outside.

    “One of the strategists just shouted into the radio whilst we were entering the pit lane. There was confusion.

    “We can’t see the signs, and this is just a sequence of events that screwed Lewis’s race. Not happy, but you have to take it on the chin.”

    Hamilton revealed after the race that he had failed to spot the yellow crosses on the boards saying the pitlane was closed, accepting the blame for the error.

    “Honestly I didn’t see those boards, so I take responsibility for that,” Hamilton said.

    “[It is] something I will learn from. To get seventh and still get the fastest lap, that’s still some good points considering I definitely didn’t think that was possible from 26 seconds behind the last car.

    “I’ll definitely take it, and grateful obviously Max [Verstappen] didn’t score any points. So not a huge loss today.”

    Wolff said the only way Mercedes could have spotted that the pitlane was shut was by looking at the fourth page of the FIA’s timing information.

    “From the pit wall, you can’t see these yellow crosses, and if the driver doesn’t spot them, which I believe is absolutely the truth, the only way you can see that the pitlane was closed was on page four of the FIA communications system,” Wolff said.

    “Nobody looks at that page when the safety car is deployed, the driver is about to come into the pits. Everything is concentrated around the pit stop.

    “Unlucky, I would say, and a very unusual decision to close the pitlane.”

  6. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel commented that he is glad the Italian Grand Prix had no fans following debacle. has the news story.

    Sebastian Vettel says he is glad that there were no fans at Monza this year after Ferrari endured another nightmare showing in the Italian Grand Prix.

    Having struggled for pace in qualifying, Vettel and Charles Leclerc failed to make it to the chequered after both were forced out in spectacular incidents.

    Vettel suffered a brake failure at the first chicane and smashed through the polystyrene blocks in the escape road, while Leclerc had an off at Parabolica and crashed heavily – bringing out a red flag.

    Reflecting on another bruising encounter for the Maranello team, Vettel said that it was probably a blessing in disguise that the loyal tifosi were not there to witness what happened.

    “I think this year is very different and I think probably in that regard it is good that there are no fans,” he said.

    “Life is like this. It always depends where you are looking, and I think even if, at the moment professionally, there are not many good things, there are always some positives. So it is just a question of what you focus on.

    “Certainly it was tough for all of us because our main focus is on the car and the race, especially racing at Monza. But we have to keep our head up and look forward to next week and to look at the positives, even if there are very few.”

    Vettel said he was glad that his brakes failed on the entry to the first chicane, because there was a lengthy run-off area that allowed him to slow down without too much danger.

    “It [brake failure] is actually the worst thing, but at least it happened in probably the best spot. So if it happens elsewhere it is not so nice.

    “I completely lost the pressure on the pedal and went straight. On the laps before we ran into trouble, we managed the brakes but it was quite bad.

    “We need to understand why and fortunately it happened in Turn One where there is a lot of run-off, but I have never had a brake failure like that.”

    Teammate Leclerc also endured a nightmare day, as an error on the lap after a safety car resulted in an off at Parabolica that brought out the red flag.

    “I just lost the car,” he said. “It is my fault and it was a very difficult race to be honest as I struggled quite a lot on the first set [of tyres].

    “Then I thought we were unlucky with the safety car but, with the pitlane closed, we were actually pretty lucky. Then with the hard tyres I struggled massively. I tried to push but I lost it at Parabolica and I crashed.”

    The impact was enough to require Leclerc to visit the medical centre, where he was given the all-clear.

    He is hopeful that he will be unaffected for next weekend’s race in Mugello.

    “I feel quite okay. A bit of pain here and there, but it should be fine. It is normal as the crash was quite big, but I am feeling okay.”

  7. “Oh my god guys we did it again!” And with those words, screamed over team radio, Pierre Gasly summed up both the pure joy and the absolute astonishment of his maiden F1 win – a richly deserved, but hugely surprising victory in a spectacular Grand Prix at Monza.

    This was a day when luck was on the Frenchman’s side – at the start of the race he survived heavy contact with Alex Albon’s Red Bull going into Turn 1 – but also one where he maximised every opportunity that came his way. In a race that saw a safety car, a stop-go penalty for runaway race leader Lewis Hamilton, and a red flag stoppage followed by and second race start, Gasly rose supremely to the front of the field before brilliantly fending off McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.

    It gave the Italian AlphaTauri team a second-ever race win, 12 years after their first, which also came on home soil and in similarly surprise circumstances, with Sebastian Vettel in 2008. Little wonder then that the 24-year-old could scarcely believe what had happened when he stepped out of the car.

    “Honestly, it’s unbelievable – I’m not realising what’s happening right now,” he said, as his team celebrated wildly in parc ferme. “It was such a crazy race…”

    Indeed it was. Gasly started in 10th place but was one of the first to make a pit stop, swapping his softs for mediums on lap 19. It proved an inspired move, for when the safety car was called on lap 20, to deal with Kevin Magnussen’s stranded Haas, Gasly found himself in P3 when all the pit stops had shaken out.

    Then, after a lengthy red flag stoppage, brought about shortly after the race had gone green again, when Charles Leclerc crashed heavily at Parabolica, Gasly nailed the re-start to jump from P3 into P2 behind Hamilton, which became first when the Briton took his stop-go penalty for changing tyres when the pit lane was closed.

    All that was left was for Gasly to tick off the remaining laps at the head of the field with the finesse of an old-hand, as Sainz ratcheted up the pressure from behind.

    “I have got no words,” continued Gasly. “This team have done so much for me; they gave me my first opportunity in F1 [in 2017], they gave me my first podium [at Brazil, last year], now they are giving me my first win.

    “After the re-start I think we had 28 laps to go. I managed to pass Lance into Turn 1 and I think this really helped me for the rest of the race. Lewis pitted, I think on lap 1 [after the re-start]. And then after that I was on my own, just reminding me of my Formula 2 days, when you are just leading the race, focusing on your own driving corner by corner.

    “I pushed so hard at the start because I wanted to break the tow from the guys behind. I didn’t have anyone in front of me so I knew I had to make the time in the corners. And the last five laps were really hard because my tyres were completely gone and I was sideways in every corner. I could see Carlos slowly closing the gap.

    “And I know myself, I would have been so pissed at myself if I’d lost that win in the last few laps, so I just gave everything I had. And I’m so happy right now to get my first win in Formula 1.

    Gasly’s win was also a first for a Frenchman in F1 since Olivier Panis won at Monaco in 1996 – another race with an unexpected outcome.

    “That’s right!” buzzed Gasly, “Olivier Panis was the last one and I’ve always said it coming in F1 that’s one thing we need to change, it’s been so long, but I never expected that it would happen to us with AlphaTauri. We just kept focusing on ourselves since last year working, improving step-by-step. It’s crazy, honestly. I’m just so happy.”

    The win comes just a week on from an emotional weekend for Gasly in Belgium, where he took a fine eighth place and driver of the day honours, having begun that weekend laying flowers in honour of late friend Anthoine Hubert – his fellow Frenchman who died at Spa-Francorchamps on the same weekend Gasly returned to AlphaTauri following his disappointing demotion from Red Bull Racing.

    Those thoughts were no doubt running through his head as he sat on his own on the Monza podium, after the ceremony had ended.

    “I’ve been through so much in the space of 18 months, my first podium last year, I was already like ‘wow’ with AlphaTauri and now my first win in Formula 1 in Monza, I struggle to realise,” he said.

    “I didn’t want to leave [the podium],” he added, “because these kind of moments you never know how many times you’re going to be able to enjoy these kind of times.

    “I wish we could have had all the tifosi and grandstands full of people because it’s probably one of the best places to be on the podium. But nevertheless, I just wanted to sit down and take a moment to myself, to go through the stuff that was crossing my mind and just enjoy that moment.”

    Gasly is F1’s 109th different winner, and the first to win from as low as P10 since Daniel Ricciardo in Azerbaijan in 2017 – incidentally the last red-flagged race.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *