Charles Leclerc held onto pole position in an absorbing race to claim a second consecutive race win and give Ferrari a first Italian GP triumph since 2010
Right, well that’s us done for the afternoon. After a high-quality and absorbing race, one of the better ones this season, and one that ended in home euphoria with Charles Leclerc recording his second race win in a row for Ferrari, whose fans will be partying for some time after a first home triumph for nine years. (Even if their other contender, Sebastian Vettel, had something of a race from hell). Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton competed well and kept the race interesting to the last, but didn’t have the pace to reel in Leclerc on this occasion. Hamilton is still set fair to retain his world crown though, so needn’t feel downhearted.
Stay on the site for reports and reaction, and thanks for following. Bye.
1. (1) Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 53 laps, 1:23.722, 25 points.
2. (3) Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, 53, +00.835 seconds, 18.
3. (2) Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 53, +35.199, 16.
4. (5) Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Renault, 53, +45.515, 12.
5. (6) Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Renault, 53, +58.165, 10.
6. (8) Alexander Albon, Thailand, Red Bull Racing Honda, 53, +59.315, 8.
7. (18) Sergio Perez, Mexico, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 53, +1:13.802, 6.
8. (19) Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing Honda, 53, +1:14.492, 4.
9. (10) Antonio Giovinazzi, Italy, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 53, +1:21.956, 2.
10. (16) Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren Renault, 52, +1 lap, 1.
11. (17) Pierre Gasly, France, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 52, +1 lap.
12. (9) Lance Stroll, Canada, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 52, +1 lap.
13. (4) Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Ferrari, 52, +1 lap.
14. (14) George Russell, Great Britain, Williams Mercedes, 52, +1 lap.
15. (20) Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 52, +1 lap.
16. (13) Romain Grosjean, France, Haas Ferrari, 52, +1 lap.
17. (15) Robert Kubica, Poland, Williams Mercedes, 51, +2 laps.
18. (11) Kevin Magnussen, Denmark, Haas Ferrari, did not finish, 43.
19. (12) Daniil Kvyat, Russia, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, did not finish, 29.
20. (7) Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, McLaren Renault, did not finish, 27.
Here’s an on-the-flag race report. Giles Richards’s report from Monza to follow:
Related: Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc delights Italian F1 GP crowd with Monza win
Presentation time: Hamilton ascends the podium, followed by Bottas, and then the volume goes up several more notches as Leclerc comes out to Monza’s acclaim. Monaco’s anthem – which is a long one – and then Italy’s ring out.
Leclerc speaks: “What a race, I’ve never been so tired.” Then he switches to Italian, offering profuse thanks to his supporters. “I made a few mistakes,” he says self-critically, “but fortunately none of them made me lose position today.”
Bottas on Mercedes: “I think we had a good strategy, and some opportunities opened up at the end, and I’m gutted that I couldn’t get past. It was difficult to overtake, we tried everything with our engine modes but yeah, we move on.”
Leclerc is mobbed by his crew, roared on by thousands in the stands who’d like to do likewise. His decision to stay on the hard tyre vindicated, thanks to his impressively calm race management
So this is how they’ve finished: 1 Leclerc, 2 Bottas, 3 Hamilton, 4 Ricciardo, 5 Hulkenburg, 6 Albon, 7 Perez, 8 Verstappen, 9 Giovinazzi, 10 Norris. Sebastian Vettel was back in 13th.
Lewis Hamilton has picked up the fastest lap, but he wasn’t in this race from just after half way. He’s ended third, but maintains a comfortable championship lead. Today is all about Leclerc there – what a prospect he is, though even in his moment of triumph he taps his car in acknowledgment of Anthoine Hubert.
Lap 53/53: Leclerc holds his nerves, his pace, navigates the braking zones adeptly. Bottas keeps pressing, but it’s not enough. Ferrari have a Monza win for the first time since 2010!
Lap 52/53: Leclerc has shown magnificent composure here, it has to be said, and not been afraid to be a little ruthless. He now leads from 1.3sec going into the final lap. Hamilton is third, Ricciardo fourth and Hulkenburg fifth.
Lap 51/53: Bottas attacks Leclerc with DRS going into the first two chicanes, but locks up, braking a little too late, and squandering a massive opportunity. Perhaps his last. More cheers.
Lap 50/53: Leclerc’s lead is cut slightly, giving Bottas a DRS opportunity. But he goes into the 51st lap with a 0.5sec advantage.
Lap 49/53: Daniel Ricciardo merits a mention in fourth, heading for his first top-five finish as a Renault driver. Mercedes’ mechanics are coming out in the pit lane, for Hamilton who comes in for soft tyres. He’s going to finish behind his teammate and surrender some points to him.
Lap 48/53: Ferrari are managing their systems well, even while one of their team, Vettel, has had a shocker. He’s marooned back in 14th still. Bottas gains a couple of tenths on Leclerc, but needs more.
Lap 47/53: So they stand like this: 1 Leclerc, 2 Bottas, 3 Hamilton, 4 Ricciardo, 5 Hulkenburg, 6 Albon. Leclerc now leads by 1.4sec. Bottas might have missed his chance here.
Lap 46/53: “This is your win,” Leclerc is told by his race engineer over the radio, leading by 1.5secs as they move into the last six laps. The atmosphere is building, as is the tension. Bottas lost a bit of ground on that last lap.
Lap 45/53: Bottas’s car has plenty of grip and his tyres look good, but he’s running out of time and needs to gain a bit more on Leclerc than he currently is. The leads is 1.02sec. Verstappen’s charge through the field continues as he moves into eighth. Magnussen has retired from the race.
Lap 43/53: Leclerc has just done a personal best lap here, and now has 10 laps to hold his advantage and spark big celebrations. He leads Bottas by 1.6sec
Lap 42/53: Leclerc now has a 1.9sec lead from Bottas in second. The Mercedes driver has been gaining ground impressively for the last 15 laps or so, and is now well placed. Hamilton is now more than three and a half seconds off the lead in third. Elsewhere, the hapless Vettel has to pit again.
Lap 41/53: Hamilton has reportedly not been given the “up to 11” engine power he’d asked for, and he locks up and is forced into the run-off area at the first engine. He loses second place! A huge cheer goes up. It’s Leclerc’s to lose now, though Bottas is coming on strong.
Lap 40/53: Phew. Right, so Leclerc now leads by 0.9sec from Hamilton with Bottas only 1.58sec further back in third. Could he spring a surprise by overhauling both the drivers in front of him? Will Mercedes tell him to go for it?
Lap 39/53: Max Verstappen’s put in a fine little performance, give his pre-race handicap and early pit stop. He’s up to ninth. Lando Norris has moved into 10th just behind him. Leclerc is still holding the pace out front.
Lap 38/53: Bottas is still gaining ground, now 2.7sec behind Hamilton.
Lap 37/53: Hamilton is gaining, only 0.3sec now
Lap 36/53: Bottas’s advance raises questions for Mercedes as to whether they’d let the Finn have a go at Leclerc if Hamilton can’t pass him. The Briton is still going hard at Leclerc though, and the race leader will escape punishment for the way he held off Hamilton in the preceding lap on Curva Grande.
Lap 35/53: Leclerc locks up going through the chicane, and Hamilton has a go at the Curva Grande, zig-zagging across the track, but he can’t make it, Leclerc blocking him out and retaining the lead, cutting out the corner. Encouragement for Hamilton. The lead is now 0.7sec. Hamilton is unhappy with Leclerc’s tactics. Bottas is also gaining ground in third, 3.3sec behind.
Lap 34/53: Hamilton looks as if he’s pondering another attack on Leclerc after the first two chicanes, but can’t quite get past him. “I need more power, man,” he sighs over the radio. Leclerc and his car holding out well at the moment, for all the pressure being exerted. Verstappen passes Magnussen to climb into 10th.
Lap 33/53: Leclerc lead is cut to 0.4sec, his teammate Vettel meanwhile is still in the back half of the field, in 11th, and has to accept a blue flag to let the front runners past. And it’s close at the top.
Lap 32/53: How they stand: Leclerc leads by 0.7sec from Hamilton, with Bottas a further 5.2sec further back. Ricciardo is fourth, Hulkenburg fifth. Kvyat had been sixth before his withdrawal, which has been attributed to an oil leak.
Lap 31/53: Kvyat’s out of the race, engine smouldering at the side of the track. Smoke was seeping out of the engine as he came out of the pit lane and he sputtered to the edge of the road.
Lap 30/53: Hamilton comes out of the parabolically strongly, and almost within range of Leclerc after the virtual safety car leaves. But the Monagesque dricver retains his lead. Bottas moves up into third above Ricciardo. Leclerc’s lead is a mere 1.2sec.
Lap 29/53: The virtual safety car is out after the Sainz incident. Leclerc still leads from Hamilton.
Lap 28/53: Bottas replaces soft tyres with medium tyres as he goes into the pits, which puts Leclerc back in the lead, but Bottas’s tyres might be in better nick come the end of the race. Meanwhile, Sainz’s wheels have come loose as he was coming out of the pits. He’s out of the race, for the second weekend running.
Lap 27/53: Hamilton is still within DRS range of Leclerc. Further back, Verstappen has now moved into ninth, with Albon pitting, taking his five-second penalty and returning in 12th. Bottas is coming into the pits.
Lap 26/53: Leclerc passes Ricciardo into second, and so does Hamilton on the chicane. So Leclerc and Hamilton are now second and third respectively. But Ricciardo’s not really in this to win it today, but to gain position on Hulkenburg.
Lap 25/53: Leclerc has just set the fastest lap of the race on his new compound tyres. “It’s superfast on the straights,” observes Hamilton. His teammate Bottas still leads, but hasn’t pitted, and might want to push the pace a bit before doing so.
Lap 24/53: Leclerc gets a slap on the wrist in the form of a black-and-white flag. He might be relieved by that. “No action at the moment.” Bottas leads from Ricciardo. Leclerc is a mere 0.7sec ahead of Hamilton.
Lap 23/53: Brilliant stuff from Leclerc, who passes Hulkenburg on turns one and two, and then Hamilton comes at him again but is forced onto the gravel, and the crowd goes noisily berserk. This is a serious contest. Hamilton complains that he was pushed off, over the radio. The stewards might want to take a look at the space Hamilton was given there.
Lap 22/53: Leclerc resists Hamilton’s attack down the straight, benefiting from the slipstream created by Hulkenburg in front of him. Bottas is currently in front, from Ricciardo and Hulkenburg. None of the top three have pitted. Leclerc is fourth and Hamilton fifth.
Lap 21/53: Leclerc comes in to the pits, for hard compound tyres, and gets out just in front of Hamilton, whose tyres are better warmed up. The defending champion might be pleased with how this has gone. He’s in DRS range when they’re next through the activation zone. Can Leclerc’s tyres last the pace?
Lap 20/53: Hamilton comes back out in front of Sainz in fifth, on his new soft compound tyres. He has a 25 second gap now to the leader, but he’ll fancy it.
Lap 19/53: Pit window is now open. Suggestions that the Ferrari team are getting ready for tyre changes. Hamilton pits.
Lap 18/53: Albon has a penalty for his move on Magnussen that gained him an advantage he shouldn’t really have had. He has to stay stationary for five seconds at his pit stop. Verstappen continues to move up, to 13th now.
Lap 17/53: The Mercedes team were coming out with a set of hard and compound tyres just there, but then appeared to change their minds and go back in. The teases. Leclerc leads by 1.55sec. Hamilton is on his game, but Leclerc’s speed looks swift and true on the straights.
Lap 16/53: Right, let’s recap. Leclerc leads by 1.6sec now from Hamilton in second, Bottas 1.7 further back in third.
Lap 15/53: Stroll gets a drive-through penalty for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner, a less severe punishment than Vettels but still a blow. Albon’s driving well now, moving up into seventh. Verstappen moves slowly through the field from the back, moving into 15th.
Lap 14/53: Vettel, then, is paying the price for not waiting for a martial to signal him back onto the track before he clashed with Stroll. Result being, he’s at the very back of the field now. Leclerc leads by 1.5sec.
Lap 13/53: Raikkonen is also being investigated for incorrect tyres, as Leclerc slightly stretches his lead to 1.38sec. Bottas is a further 1.35sec behind.
Lap 12/53: Vettel gets a 10-second stop-go penalty for the way he came back onto the track in the incident with Stroll. He’s having an absolute ’mare here.
Lap 11/53: So Leclerc leads by 1.29sec, Hamilton is second with Bottas, Ricciardo, Hulkenburg and Sainz behind them.
Lap 10/53: Albon could have to give back his overtake of Perez, with the stewards looking at whether he overtook while on the gravel. Vettel meanwhile is back in 19th at the moment, leaving Leclerc alone at the front with no teammate help as Hamilton and Bottas give pursuit.
Lap 9/53: Hamilton says he’s feeling good in his car but is being cautious with his rear tyres – and he’s lost GPS tracking in his car. He knows he’s second though, 1/3sec behind Ferrari’s Leclerc.
Lap 8/53: Out front, Hamilton has closed on Leclerc, making 2/10 of a second on the last lap. Leclerc leads by 1.2sec, with Bottas third, Ricciardo fourth and Hulkenburg fifth.
Lap 7/53: Stroll complains on his radio that Vettel “came back on the circuit like an idiot” in the clash between their cars. Vettel looks like he’s going to take a penalty for that. Grosjean has also pitted.
Lap 6/53: Vettel spins and is in trouble! The front of his car looks in a right old state after some kind of clash with Stroll. He’s off the track for repairs. Futher back, Gasly is forced wide off the track too. Stoll’s car has also taken a knock and he has to pit too. It’s all happening.
Lap 5/53: Grosjean goes past Kubica into 15th, while the Albon-Sainz incident is not deemed worthy of investigation by the stewards.
Lap 4/53: Anyway, Leclerc leads by 1.4sec from Hamilton, with Bottas third and Vettel fourth. Hamilton’s looking good here. Verstappen’s back in the race but stuck at the back and Ricciardo passes his Renault teammate Hulkenburg.
Lap 3/53: Carlos Sainz jostles with Albon, who careers off into the gravel, but stays in the race. The stewards might have a look at that.
Lap 2/53: Verstappen needs a front-wing change already – is he going to last this race? Meanwhile, Vettel raises the crowd’s spirits by restoring his lead over Hulkenburg. Leclerc still leads. Further back, Kubica moves up to 13th, Russel drops back to 15th.
Lap 1/53: Leclerc is away well, Hamilton too, but Leclerc handles the first two turns well, Hamilton passes Bottas, while Hulkenburg goes past Vettel, dealing Ferrari a critical early blow. There’s bother for Verstappen at the back though.
They’re off on the formation lap, Leclerc leading them down to the first chicane
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is making decent use of the international football break – he’s hob-nobbing on the track for the pre-race interviews.
Bottas speaks, briefly: “We can take it to [Ferrari] today, we have a good race car, and the starting position is close to them, between two red cars. For sure, the first turn is important to make some positions but it’s a long race after that, and we have the pace for it.”
Anthem time: The Italian anthem – jaunty and catch as ever – rings out, accompanied by an impressive fly-by overhead.
Martin Brundle’s caught up with former F1 luminary Fernando Alonso in his pre-race track walk. The Spaniard is currently preparing for Paris-Dhaka, which he says is “a bit scary, very different in lots of ways, but it’s just motorsport so it has the same DNA as a competition. I’m not missing [F1] too much, have been busy with endurance championship, indy racing, and now with this Dhaka challenge. I enjoy the formula one races on television but not missing – yet – being here.”
Weather news: blue skies and light clouds prevail in northern Italy, not a sign of the risk of rain that had been suggested. Though it did rain overnight.
It’s likely a one-stop race here at the temple of speed, reckoned to be between laps 19 and 29, and Sebastian Vettel will be under pressure to at least split the Mercedes drivers in front of him, and is in danger of being eclipsed at Ferrari by Leclerc. How he performs today after yesterday’s chaos will be intriguing.
Meanwhile, Leclerc feels the love from the Tifosi:
The tifosi show their appreciation for @Charles_Leclerc ❤️#F1 #ItalianGP pic.twitter.com/Ow4841f1eM
Some pre-race interview chat: Max Verstappen, forced to start at the back, is targeting fifth place. “Everything we did in the buildup was to maximise speed,” he says. “We’re not the fastest on the straight but not the slowest either, and the car is still handling really well. You have to look after your tyres, it’s still a long race, but we have a good race car so we definitely can move forward … I’m aiming for fifth.”
Inevitably, the Ferrari ‘home passions’ stuff is being ramped up …
What with it being the 50th anniversary of Jackie Stewart’s famous win at the Italian grand prix, our man in Monza, Giles Richards, had a chinwag with the great driver the other day. Read what he said here:
Related: Jackie Stewart’s glorious 1969: ‘I had a fantastic team around me’
Related: Charles Leclerc on Monza pole for Ferrari as qualifying ends in farce
Afternoon everyone. So, with the destination of both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles seemingly a foregone conclusion, we may have to absorb ourselves in subplots and controversies and little individual battles as the season enters the home straight. And we’re getting a few. Take yesterday’s qualifying, when a game of “no, after you, I insist” among slipstream-keen drivers led to go-slows and accusations of blocking.
Nonetheless, the upshot of it all was a Ferrari driver in pole for the 90th edition of the Italian grand prix. Monaco’s Charles Leclerc will carry the Scuderia’s hopes of a first success at Monza since 2010 as he looks to consolidate an impressive first campaign for the team and build on his win in Belgium last time out. The pace of the track and the backing of the crowd should stand him in good stead too.
Source: Formula 1