Red Bull are constructors’ title winners following Verstappen victory in Japan

World championship-elect Max Verstappen retuned to winning ways by securing first position at the Japanese Grand Prix and securing Red Bull Racing’s their sixth constructors’ title.

Verstappen fended off an early assault from the McLarens at the start of the race and lived up to Lando’s pre-race prediction that the Woking-based squad would have little answer to Max if he led beyond Turn 2.

The Red Bull driver crossed the finishing line 19.3 seconds clear of Norris, having been considerably out of reach across the 53-lap race at Suzuka beyond the opening laps.

The only moments of close action that the championship leader faced were in his defence of the lead into the first corner, as he pulled across to the inside of the corner to fend off any threat from front-row starter Oscar Piastri.

Norris then placed his car on the outside, but could not get enough to get into the second corner to take the lead, but jumping Piastri nonetheless in the process.

The McLaren driver then attempted to challenge Verstappen on a subsequent restart after a lap 1 safety car was produced to clear debris resulting from a clash between Valtteri Bottas and Alex Albon – in which the Alfa Romeo driver went into the Williams driver’s side by Esteban Ocon.

Verstappen made the perfect restart on the exit of the Casio Triangle, and proceeded to begin his usual efforts to build a break over the rest.

This put him beyond reach despite the early power of an undercut strategy, as Verstappen had enough in hand to preserve a net lead during each pitstop stages.

His efforts ensured that Red Bull outscored Mercedes to tie up the constructors’ championship, the team’s sixth during its 19 seasons in Formula 1. What an incredible achievement.

Norris led a McLaren 2-3 home as Piastri managed to collect his maiden podium – although he undercut Norris following the opening round of stops having pitted under a brief virtual safety car – Oscar’s race pace was less impressive than his teammate and Norris made his way through at the start of lap 27.

Charles Leclerc briefly hinted at being a threat to Piastri’s podium when the 2021 Formula 2 champion was stuck behind a one-stopping George Russell following the second round of stops, but struggled to pass the Mercedes himself once Piastri made his way through.

The Ferrari driver eventually finished 7.5 seconds down on Piastri but had fourth apparently locked in as the cars behind made little progress into his advantage despite differing attempts at strategy.

Lewis Hamilton made an undercut over Carlos Sainz work to secure fifth, having just about fended off the Ferrari driver despite Mercedes’ bad attempt to imitate his Singapore Grand Prix-winning strategy by telling Hamilton to give the following Russell DRS.

Russell was moved aside by Sainz as his sole set of hard tyres had begun to ail and fell to 7.4 seconds behind the Ferrari to secure seventh.

Following a strong getaway at the start of the race that resulted in sixth position, Fernando Alonso could only claim eighth after an early switch from soft tyres to hards – and suggested his team had “thrown me to the lions” as he battled to retain position.

He managed to stay ahead of the Alpines, as Ocon recovered from the first-lap drama to collect ninth ahead of Pierre Gasly.

Liam Lawson beat AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda as the home favourite was announced for the 2024 season, as Zhou Guanyu beat the Haas duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

Magnussen had survived an assault from Sergio Perez at the Turn 11 hairpin as the Red Bull driver made an bad divebomb on K-Mag. Checo then earned a five-second penalty and retired, but returned to the circuit well into the race to serve that penalty before retiring again.

Williams retired Albon and Logan Sargeant as a result of the damage, as the latter used his newly rebuilt car to push off Bottas into a spin at the hairpin, causing the Alfa Romeo driver to retire his own car two laps after the contact.

So congratulations to Red Bull Racing in winning the constructors’ title. What an incredible achievement in this sport and with Max Verstappen on the verge of taking this season’s title, this success has been incredible.

Japanese Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:30:58.421
2 Lando Norris McLaren +19.387s
3 Oscar Piastri McLaren +36.494s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +43.998s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +49.376s
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +50.221s
7 George Russell Mercedes +57.659s
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +74.725s
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine +79.678s
10 Pierre Gasly Alpine +83.155s
11 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri +1 lap
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +1 lap
13 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +1 lap
14 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +1 lap
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas +1 lap
Alexander Albon Williams DNF
Logan Sargeant Williams DNF
Lance Stroll Aston Martin DNF
Sergio Perez Red Bull DNF
Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo DNF

Verstappen and Red Bull returns back to his usual pole position

World champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing are back on form following qualifying at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Verstappen edged out his nearest competitor of Oscar Piastri by over half a second. His initial Q3 run was a time of one minute, 29.012 seconds – which would have been good enough for pole on its own – and yet the Red Bull driver went even quicker on the second lap to further extend his advantage with a lap time of one minute, 28.877 seconds.

The Red Bull driver’s final lap was 0.581 seconds clear of Piastri’s opening effort, which the McLaren driver unable to improve on the second time around, but nonetheless it was enough for him to secure a first front-row start having shaded teammate Lando Norris by just 0.035 seconds.

Norris could not improve on his second effort either, but lost moments of time compared to his younger teammate in the second and third sectors to be beaten to the front row at Suzuka.

Charles Leclerc only did a single lap in Q3, but gained fourth position as Ferrari appeared to lose pace compared to McLaren overnight having headed the Woking-based squad in Friday’s practice sessions.

The Scuderia Ferraris were split by Sergio Perez, who was 0.773 seconds adrift to teammate Verstappen, but the Red Bull driver found enough to move ahead of Carlos Sainz by two tenths on his final run.

Lewis Hamilton was a second off the pace but beat Mercedes teammate George Russell by 0.3 seconds, responding George’s improvement among the final runs to reclaim his place ahead.

Home hero Yuki Tsunoda made his way into Q3 and grabbed ninth, beating Fernando Alonso, who just managed to get into Q3 to ensure his season-long streak of making the final qualifying session continued.

Liam Lawson could not repeat his Q1 heroics, where he jumped up to fourth, and was knocked out Q2 by just 0.043 seconds as George Russell broke into the top ten at the end of the second segment of qualifying.

Lawson shaded the tenth position Alonso by that tiny margin to claim P11 on Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix grid, as Pierre Gasly was just 0.001 seconds behind the AlphaTauri driver in a tight session.

Alex Albon was first to set a lap in the second set of runs and initially got up to seventh, but fell down the order as the later laps showed greater improvement. He was half a tenth ahead of Esteban Ocon, the Alpine’s squad losing both cars in Q2, while Kevin Magnussen nudged into Q2, but could get no further than P15 for Haas.

Logan Sargeant lost control of his Williams on the exit of the Casio Triangle while attempting to complete his first flying lap, dipping a wheel on the grass and straight into the barrier. This shunt produced a red flag – the second Q1 stoppage in as many races.

This interrupted the laps of Sainz and Leclerc and, with nine minutes remained on the clock when the session resumed, the Ferrari pair were first to go again on new softs in their bid to secure access to the second part of qualifying.

An end-of-session series of laps followed as the bottom half of the field aimed to break away from the top five, where both Gasly and Albon, who had laps deleted following the first runs, managed to get through to Q2.

Albon was last to set a time, and his effort was enough to dump Valtteri Bottas into the drop zone. Lance Stroll dropped out in P17, as his teammate Alonso managed to get his way out of the bottom five despite only modest improvements to his initial time.

Nico Hulkenberg also had a lap deleted but could not progress beyond P18, while Zhou Guanyu lost a lap to minimal effect as he had only made it to P19 anyway, having run slightly wide at the second Degner corner. Sargeant did not get a time on the board and will start last.

So normal service is resumed with Max Verstappen and Red Bull back on top following a dip in form at Singapore’s Marina Bay last weekend. The RB19 looks well balanced with great grip and speed, so it seems the Japanese Grand Prix could see the team winning the constructors’ title. That would be incredible achievement if Verstappen score victory at epic Suzuka on race day.

Japanese Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:28.877
2 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:29.458
3 Lando Norris McLaren 1:29.493
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:29.542
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:29.650
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:29.850
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.908
8 George Russell Mercedes 1:30.219
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:30.303
10 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:30.560
11 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri 1:30.508
12 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:30.509
13 Alexander Albon Williams 1:30.537
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:30.586
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:30.665
16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:31.049
17 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:31.181
18 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:31.299
19 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:31.398
20 Logan Sargeant William No time

Sainz wins thrilling Singapore Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz took his second victory in Formula 1 by holding off Lando Norris and Mercedes in an exciting Singapore Grand Prix as George Russell crashed on the final lap.

The Ferrari driver led every lap of a slow-burning race from pole position, and delivered a tactical masterclass to fend off a rapidly approaching Mercedes duo in the race’s second half by employing Norris as a bodyguard.

Mercedes had forecasted a potential strategic advantage after qualifying on Saturday, with Russell stating that he had saved an extra set of medium tyres available for the race should there be an opportunity to two-stop.

Esteban Ocon’s stopped Alpine presented that opportunity, and the following virtual safety car ensured that both Mercedes drivers could pull in for a free pitstop on lap 44 and claim their fresh sets of tyres.

This gave the Mercedes duo a distinct advantage and, although they gave up track position to drop into fourth and fifth, Russell and Lewis Hamilton were around two seconds per lap quicker than the cars ahead.

Charles Leclerc, who had dropped positions due to the round of pitstops under the earlier safety car having got up to second at the start, was first up for the two Mercedes, who picked him off swiftly and rapidly began to reel in Norris ahead.

Recognising that his best chance of victory was to ensure Norris had the tools to defend, Sainz backed off to ensure Norris had DRS for the closing stages, which protected the McLaren against the threat from behind.

Russell put Norris under heavy pressure on lap 59, but the McLaren driver did just enough to hold firm and keep Russell in his place, buying Sainz some more time.

The leader backed off again to give Norris with DRS for the final few laps, and it proved to be enough; Russell put the result beyond doubt after crashing at Turn 10 having hit the wall on the outside to ensure Sainz could clinch victory

Norris was able to defend from Hamilton in the final lap to secure second, in the first non-Red Bull podium – or indeed, victory – of the season.

Russell had been unable to challenge Sainz off the line and was upstaged by a soft-shod Leclerc at the start as Ferrari began to manage its race early to ensure it could work through the tyre degradation phase.

The field was largely in formation, although Leclerc was told to give Sainz more space – first being told to create a three-second gap, before the demand for a five-second gap grew – to create a margin for a pitstop.

But Logan Sargeant’s clip of the wall on lap 19 put debris over the circuit and, although the Williams driver got the car back to the pits with a broken front wing, a safety car emerged regardless.

This gave the field license to stop, and Leclerc had to check up in his pitbox for Mercedes traffic – which cost him positions to Russell and Norris once he exited the pitlane.

Sainz was then ordered to keep the field bunched up to ensure that Mercedes could not find a gap to pit and bolt on their second set of fresh mediums – but the Ocon-enforced VSC effectively ended that strategy as the Alpine driver retired with a suspected clutch issue.

Leclerc ultimately finished fourth having come to the end of his life, having been effectively ‘sacrificed’ in Ferrari’s hunt for the win – per the Mercedes team radio.

The Ferrari driver held off a fast-charging Max Verstappen, whose alternate strategy paid off for fifth having carved through the order on the medium compound of tyre. Neither Red Bull pitted during the safety car period, and their out-of-position nature at the front on the hards made them easy meat.

Regardless, Verstappen managed to dig out an effective drive to claim a top five result, having passed Pierre Gasly for sixth and then moving up a place when Russell retired.

Gasly finished three seconds clear of Oscar Piastri, who did not have the new McLaren upgrades for this weekend, while Sergio Perez managed to grab eighth position having gone to the back after his sole pitstop.

Perez clashed with Yuki Tsunoda on the first lap which put the AlphaTauri driver out with damage, and is also part of an investigation with Alex Albon as the two made contact at Turn 13.

Liam Lawson claimed his first Formula 1 points with ninth place to cap off a stunning weekend in Singapore, as Kevin Magnussen completed the top ten to add an extra point to Haas’s 2023 points tally.

Albon and Zhou Guanyu finished P11 and P12, with the latter starting from the pitlane having taken a new power unit, and Nico Hulkenberg could only manage P13 having factored in the battle for the points early on.

Sargeant recovered from his error to claim P14, as Fernando Alonso had a miserable race in which he sustained a five-second penalty for passing over the pit entry line and later had an off while suffering with an “undriveable” car. The Aston Martin driver was the last of the drivers to finish.

So the Red Bull winning run of success is over with Carlos Sainz taking victory for Ferrari. This was a refreshing result for the sport after so many wins for Max Verstappen. This Singapore Grand Prix was exciting in the end and such a nice reward for Sainz to take his second career win.

Singapore Grand Prix, race results:
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:46:37.418
2 Lando Norris McLaren +0.812s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.269s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +21.177s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull +21.441s
6 Pierre Gasly Alpine +38.441s
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren +41.479s
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull +54.534s
9 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri +65.918s
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas +72.116s
11 Alexander Albon Williams +73.417s
12 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +83.649s
13 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +86.201s
14 Logan Sargeant Williams +86.889s
15 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +87.603s
16 George Russell Mercedes DNF
Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo DNF
Esteban Ocon Alpine DNF
Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri DNF

Sainz takes Singapore Grand Prix as Red Bulls got eliminated

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz achieved his second consecutive Formula 1 pole position in a dramatic and thrilling Singapore Grand Prix qualifying as championship leader Max Verstappen and the Red Bull getting eliminated in Q2.

Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc had locked out the front row following the opening series of laps, with the two having saved a set of soft tyres each from Q2 to use at the start of the final shootout.

The Ferrari driver set an earlier benchmark with a time of one minute, 31.170 seconds to sit a quarter of a second clear of Leclerc, managed to better his lap time with one minute, 30.984 seconds to take his claim for a second P1 on the bounce after securing Saturday’s spoils at Monza.

Lando Norris split the Ferraris to claim second in a quickfire final round of laps, but Leclerc put the McLaren driver back in his place to reclaim a provisional front-row lockout – just 0.079 seconds off Sainz’s lap.

But George Russell, who had been a step ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton throughout the weekend, set the best middle sector to threaten Sainz’s advantage, but lost some time in the final sector to claim second on Sunday’s grid.

Leclerc had to be content with third, and will start on the second row alongside Norris, who was the remaining McLaren to make Q3 as teammate Oscar Piastri dropped out in Q1.

Hamilton was fifth fastest alongside an impressive Kevin Magnussen, who carried his Haas to sixth on the Singapore Grand Prix grid. Fernando Alonso improved on his final lap to collect seventh, beating Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, and AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson.

Verstappen had a nightmare in Q2 and was knocked out from the top ten shootout by Lawson, as Sergio Perez’s spin ensured neither Red Bull made it through to the final part of qualifying.

The defending champion was first to set a lap in the intermediate phase of qualifying, but his time was quickly rendered uncompetitive as he was quickly outpaced by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and the other traditional front-runners.

Perez was shuffled into the bottom five as Verstappen treaded water just inside the top ten, but the final series of laps cost Red Bull greatly. Verstappen made a mistake in Turn 3 and could never recover – although he improved his time – he was vulnerable.

His teammate did not factor as a Turn 2 spin ended his chances of progression immediately, and Verstappen’s time did not stand up as Lawson pipped him by 0.007 seconds to break into Q3 for the first time.

Verstappen will be subject to two investigations after the session for apparently impeding in the pitlane during Q1, and then potentially holding up Yuki Tsunoda during the second part of qualifying to ensure the AlphaTarui driver could not set a competitive time.

Pierre Gasly split the Red Bulls having eclipsed Perez with his lap, while Alex Albon topped out in P14 while Tsunoda was at the bottom of the Q2 timing board.

Lance Stroll produced the Q1-ending red flag with a heavy crash at the final corner while attempting to prise himself out of the drop zone amid significant track improvement in the dying stages of the session.

A series of final efforts began with Tsunoda vaulting to the top of the timesheets with one minute, 31.991 seconds, underlining the potential time gain for the rest of the field as the Haas duo also found their way clear of trouble.

Albon was able to pull himself out of the drop zone in those final runs but sat precariously on the brink of falling back into the drop zone as Piastri was improving.

But Stroll’s massive shunt, produced after dipping a wheel off the circuit ahead of the final corner, ended with the stricken Aston Martin sitting in the middle of the track – in front of Piastri, who had to back out of his lap to avoid the wreck which saved Albon’s bacon.

Piastri was knocked out in P17, behind Valtteri Bottas in the bottom five, as Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu’s earlier efforts had not been enough improvement to climb out of the drop zone. Stroll ended up at the bottom of the timesheets.

So a dramatic and exciting qualifying with the non Red Bulls unable to take part in the top ten shootout following a shocking Q2 exit. This gave the opportunity for the other teams to challenge for pole and in the end, it was Carlos Sainz who takes P1.

As overtaking is tricky around the Marina Bay street circuit, it will be fascinating to see if Red Bull can fight back but the winning run for the team this season looks over as Ferrari is looking good for another win.

Singapore Grand Prix, qualifiying results:
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:30.984
2 George Russell Mercedes 1:31.056
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:31.063
4 Lando Norris McLaren 1:31.270
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.485
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:31.575
7 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:31.615
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:31.673
9 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:31.808
10 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri 1:32.268
11 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:32.173
12 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:32.274
13 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:32.310
14 Alex Albon Williams 1:33.719
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:31.991
16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:32.809
17 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:32.902
18 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:33.252
19 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo 1:33.258
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:33.397

Perfect ten for Verstappen after winning the Italian Grand Prix

Defending champion Max Verstappen continued his winning run by taking his tenth successive victory in this season’s Formula 1 world championship at Monza. The Red Bull finished first and second with Sergio Perez taking a solid runners-up after making some overtakes.

Early race leader Carlos Sainz won a tight late intra-Ferrari battle ahead of Charles Leclerc to hold onto third position.

Verstappen’s achievement gives him the outright record of consecutive Formula 1 wins ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Alberto Ascari.

The start was delayed by nearly 20 minutes due to Yuki Tsunoda stopping with a suspected MGU-H issue, his AlphaTauri cockpit smoking and the race reduced to 51 laps as the rest had to be regroup on the grid.

When they did finally get away, Sainz covered off Verstappen’s look to immediately seize the lead by covering the run to the first chicane, where rather than attack the lead Red Bull as Ferrari had hoped Leclerc had to defend from George Russell’s Mercedes behind.

But as he was able to hold on, the top three shot clear and Russell turned to defending against Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull.

For 14 laps Sainz was able to hold on in front of Verstappen – regularly defending the inside run to the first chicane, where on lap six the leaders nearly made contact as Verstappen stayed on the outside line and Sainz forcefully shut the door.

But on lap 15, Verstappen again got a run towards to Turn 1 and there Sainz locked up his right front, which meant his rival could got alongside on the exit and was alongside through the Curva Grande.

Verstappen sealed the lead at the second chicane and quickly blasted to a 2.5 seconds lead, as Sainz, his rear tyres crying enough, struggled to hang on in front of Leclerc, who had lost DRS to Verstappen a few laps before the defending champ fought his way into the lead.

Ferrari pitted Sainz to switch from the mediums all the leaders had started on for hards on lap 19, by which point Perez had finally battled by Russell – following a botched pass on lap 14 where they both cut the first chicane and Perez handed the position back – and was closing in on the red cars.

Leclerc and Verstappen came in a lap later, with the former rejoining barely behind Sainz and Verstappen over five seconds clear in the net lead.

When Perez stopped on lap 21, he made it a tight three-way battle for second, with the trio initially lapping quicker than Verstappen ahead and reducing his lead under five seconds.

At this stage Lewis Hamilton led as he had started on the contra-strategy hard tyres, before Verstappen blasted by with his fresher set of the white wall rubber on lap 24 and the Mercedes then fell back towards the second-place scrap.

Sainz passed through at the Ascari chicane on lap 27, before Hamilton pitted and returned to running midway down the pack.

Here Verstappen upped his pace again and pulled his lead back towards six seconds, as Leclerc and Perez continued to chase Sainz.

Perez having a speculative move towards the inside of Turn 1 on lap 30 cost Leclerc enough momentum and, as he moved to defend that, he fell far enough back from Sainz to lose DRS the next time by the main straight.

At Turn 1, Leclerc was able to hang on defending the inside, but when Perez got alongside running towards the second chicane, Leclerc swung across as they moved to brake and Perez’s right-side wheels went onto the grass but it did not lead to a bigger incident.

With Sainz shooting clear by a few seconds, Perez easily took third on lap 32 – using DRS to get Leclerc well before the Turn 1 braking zone.

Up front, Verstappen held a near eight -econd lead entering the final 20 laps, as Perez did not immediately shoot up to Sainz’s rear and Leclerc in turn was able to stay with the Mexican driver using DRS just behind.

But Perez did eventually find enough pace in the low 1m25s where Verstappen had long been running and the Ferraris had been putting in early in stint two to drag himself and Leclerc back to Sainz with 12 laps remaining.

Like his team-mate much earlier, Perez mounted several attacks at the first chicane – twice more cutting Turn 2 as Sainz again firmly shut the door there.

With Perez getting frustrated, eventually his pressure came good as Sainz’s tyres wore and his pace dropped into the high one minute, 26 seconds – so much so that the lapped Kevin Magnussen was able to keep up with the podium battle behind.

On lap 47, Perez was barely behind Sainz starting the tour and he used DRS to shoot ahead on the run to Turn 1 and then sweep across to the inside of the right-hander and final seal second.

But Sainz’s action was not over yet as Leclerc still lurked and the Ferrari pair then engaged in a thrilling intra-team fight.

They both cut the second chicane on lap 47 as Sainz locked up ahead in third, with the pair all over the road as they desperately fought to stand on the podium in front of their home fans.

Just after Sainz had asked Ferrari to call off the fight, which it denied, Leclerc locked up both his front wheels at the first corner and so nearly hit his teammate, the pair crossing the line with Sainz ahead by just 0.2 seconds.

Well ahead, Verstappen had backed off to the flag, a lead that had at one stage been north of 12 seconds down to half that over Perez at the finish.

Russell was a distant fourth, but was in turn enough in front of the rest to negate a five-second time addition he was handed for cutting the first chicane while passing Esteban Ocon’s artificially high Alpine shortly after Russell had stopped.

Hamilton likewise negated a five-second penalty at the finish – as he had battled by Alex Albon and Lando Norris late-on then pulled clear of that pair, who had engaged in a battle throughout the second stint.

Norris undercut his teammate Oscar Piastri having been complaining about the other McLaren’s pace in stint one after starting behind, but when Oscar emerged from his stop he clipped his teammate’s left-rear and nearly dropped his MCL60.

Piastri was then caught by Hamilton’s medium-shod Mercedes in the second stint and they had two incidents at the second chicane – the second one breaking Piastri’s front wing as Hamilton, attacking on the inside, moved over and caused the contact in the view of the race stewards.

He nevertheless raced up too and by the pair ahead, as Albon and Norris were followed home by Fernando Alonso, who Hamilton had quickly caught and passed at Turn 1 just after his pitstop.

Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten – the Alfa Romeo driver involved in clash with Logan Sargaent, for which the second Williams driver was penalised and he fell to P13 from eleventh in the final standings.

Piastri came home P12 just ahead, with Liam Lawson P11 in the remaining AlphaTauri following Tsunoda’s pre-race exit.

So an exciting Italian Grand Prix with full of battles and yet nothing can stop Max Verstappen in achieving a new record in this sport by taking his tenth consecutive victory. The Ferraris gave the tifosi some entertainment with some close wheel-to-wheel fight and in the end Carlos Sainz just managed to fend off Charles Leclerc to take P3.

Italian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:12:13.618
2 Sergio Pérez Red Bull +6.064s
3 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari +11.193s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +11.377s
5 George Russell Mercedes +23.028s
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +42.679s
7 Alexander Albon Williams +45.106s
8 Lando Norris McLaren +45.449s
9 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +46.294s
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +65.950s
11 Logan Sargeant Williams +71.398s
12 Oscar Piastri McLaren +72.240s
13 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri +73.268s
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +81.658s
15 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +81.913s
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine +82.236s
17 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +1 lap
18 Kevin Magnussen Haa +1 lap
Esteban Ocon Alpine DNF
Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri DNS

Sainz takes Italian Grand Prix pole position

Carlos Sainz earned a popular pole position in front of the passionate tifosi at Monza. The Ferrari driver beat both world champion Max Verstappn and his Scuderia teammate Charles Leclerc to be the fastest and take P1 at the Italian Grand Prix.

The session at Monza also formed the second 2023 qualifying session run to the alternative tyre allocation rules that required the drivers to run the hards throughout Q1, mediums in Q2 and softs in Q3.

Both Ferrari drivers had faced a post-qualifying investigation for failing to follow the race director’s instructions in terms of maximum lap time that had been set ahead of Saturday’s action to avoid traffic chaos in this session, based on the duration of their respective outlaps at the end of Q1. But just as qualifying concluded, it was announced that there would be no further action required.

In Q3, Sainz led Leclerc after the first runs – with Sainz recording one minute, 20.532 seconds giving him the edge by 0.032 seconds over his teammate, who had led the way and provided a handy tow. Verstappen, running ahead of the pack and followed by Perez, ended up running slightly wide out of the Della Roggia chicane, as he trailed Sainz by 0.099 seconds.

On the second runs, Verstappen ran between the Ferrari pair – suggesting the tow factor at both Ferrari and Red Bull was not a critical consideration. Here, Leclerc led the way of the frontrunners and he went to provisional pole with one minute, 20.361 seconds before Verstappen went faster.

But Sainz would not be denied – having been the lead Ferrari driver throughout practice and until Leclerc’s final flying lap just seconds earlier – as he flashed through with an incredible late gain to claim pole with one minute, 20.294 seconds and send the home crowd into fever.

George Russell finished fourth, with Perez only fifth for Red Bull, while Alex Albon took sixth for Williams. Oscar Piastri ended up seventh for McLaren ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso.

Earlier, Verstappen led Q2, where Yuki Tsunoda, Liam Lawson, Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas and Logan Sargeant were knocked out.

The middle segment featured Lawson reaching that stage for the first time in his short Formula 1 career as Daniel Ricciardo’s injury substitute, while Hamilton needed a big final lap to jump from the drop zone after the first runs to progressing in Q2 sixth.

In Q1, which Verstappen topped despite losing his first lap to a track limits violation at the second Lesmo corner, Zhou Guanyu, Alpine pair Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll were eliminated.

Ocon had two dramatic moments in that session – nearly colliding with Norris when on a preparation lap and the McLaren was flying towards the Parabolica and then running into the gravel exiting the Ascari chicane mid-way through the opening segment.

So an incredible qualifying result for Scuderia Ferrari with Carlos Sainz taking pole position. The tifosi loved this moment and fingers crossed, Ferrari have the speed to beat Red Bull come race day.

Italian Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:20.204
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:20.307
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:20.361
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:20.671
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:20.688
6 Alexander Albon Williams 1:20.760
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:20.785
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.820
9 Lando Norris McLaren 1:20.979
10 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:21.417
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:21.594
12 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri 1:21.758
13 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:21.776
14 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:21.940
15 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:21.944
16 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:22.390
17 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:22.545
18 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:22.548
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:22.592
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:22.860