Max Verstappen beats Ferrari at Monza and wins… in slow motion

Max Verstappen, who started from 7th place on the starting grid, avoided all the pitfalls of the first lap, and quickly moved up the field. He was 3rd on the third lap, and 2nd on the fifth.

He then chased Charles Leclerc, who was riding in the lead.

Ferrari bet on a strategy of two stops on lap 13, when the race management had released the virtual safety car (VSC) after the immobilization of the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel at the edge of the track.

Ferrari brought in Leclerc for fresh tires under VSC, while Red Bull opted to leave Verstappen on track, allowing him to take the lead. The strategy well executed by Ferrari could have paid off for the Monegasque driver.

Charles Leclerc during a Ferrari team pit stop at Monza

Photo: Getty Images/Dan Mullan

But the Dutchman simply had a better pace, which allowed him to manage the wear on his tires in each of his stints, and to win. It was his first podium at Monza.

Finally, I can get on this incredible podium. Yes, everything worked fine. We were the fastest with each type of tyre, he pointed out. I could see from afar that the tires of the Ferrari were deteriorating. Our car was going well, and we controlled our lead well at the end. Too bad the race was not restarted.

Six laps from the end, Leclerc in 2nd place was 17 seconds behind Verstappen, and Red Bull had won the race (unless there was a failure or a pilot error).

An F1 single-seater drives on a circuit and negotiates a left turn.

Charles Leclerc in Monza

Photo: Getty Images/Clive Mason

The immobilization of Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren this time forced the race management to bring out the real safety car (SC), and the time to evacuate the McLaren, it was in slow motion that the Italian Grand Prix s ‘is finished. F1 did not want to repeat the haste error at the end of the 2021 season, and preferred to play it safe.

The tifosis did not appreciate, and whistled to signify their disappointment.

It’s frustrating, it’s a shame, reacted Leclerc, clearly disappointed. But I was 2nd before the safety car after everything that happened, and it would be nice to get back to racing. But hey, I finished 2nd, and I gave it my all. I would have liked to win the race in front of the tifosis.

George Russell (Mercedes-Benz) finished third.

Quebecer Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) had to retire 12 laps from the finish. He was driving in 17th place.

We had some problems with the car, so the team preferred to spare the engine and asked me to retire, explained Stroll. It’s a shame, I couldn’t fight. We are going to analyze what happened to try to draw lessons from it. The circuit in Singapore will suit us better.

Toronto’s Nicholas Latifi finished 15th.

His team-mate, Dutchman Nyck De Vries, who replaced Alexander Albon at short notice at the weekend, finished 9th, and scored two points in his first F1 grand prix.

An F1 driver in his cockpit looks ahead.

Nick DeVries at Monza

Photo: Getty Images/Dan Mullan

He is the 67th driver to manage to score in his debut. The public invited to vote made it the pilot of the day.

Max Verstappen, with 335 points in the drivers’ standings, against 219 for Leclerc, will be able to defend his title of world champion from the next grand prix, in Singapore, on October 2.

With six races to go, he can equal or even exceed the record of 13 races won in a season, held by the Germans Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013).

Result of the Italian Grand Prix:

  • 1. Max Verstappen (NED / Red Bull) the 306.720 km in 1 h 20:27.511
  • 2.Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) at 2,446
  • 3.George Russell (GBR/Mercedes-Benz) at 3,405
  • 4.Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP/Ferrari) at 5,061
  • 5. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes-Benz) at 5,380
  • 6.Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull) at 6.091
  • 7. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes-Benz) at 6,207
  • 8.Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) at 6.396
  • 9. Nyck de Vries (NED/Williams-Mercedes-Benz) at 7,122
  • 10. Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo Sauber) at 7,910
  • 11. Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine-Renault) at 8.323
  • 12. Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) at 8,549
  • 13.Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo Sauber) 1 lap
  • 14. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN / AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1 lap
  • 15.Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes-Benz) 1 lap
  • 16. Kevin Magnussen (DEN / Haas-Ferrari) 1 lap
  • 17.Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes-Benz) at 8 laps

Fastest lap in the race:

  • Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull) 1:24.030 on lap 46 (average: 252.381 km/h)

Drop out:

  • Sebastian Vettel (GER / Aston Martin-Mercedes-Benz): engine lap 11
  • Fernando Alonso (ESP / Alpine-Renault): mechanical problem on lap 32
  • Lance Stroll (CAN / Aston Martin-Mercedes-Benz): mechanical problem 40th lap
  • Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / McLaren-Mercedes-Benz): mechanical problem on lap 46 (classified)
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