2020 Italian Grand Prix – what the drivers said

The drivers share their thoughts following an eventful race at Monza

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Race winner Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia AlphaTauri, second placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and McLaren F1 and third placed Lance Stroll of Canada and Racing Point stand on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 06, 2020 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Jenifer Lorenzini - Pool/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202009060547 // Usage for editorial use only //

Pierre Gasly became an F1 winner in an action-packed Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The AlphaTauri driver found himself on the right strategy after two safety cars, a red flag and a penalty for Lewis Hamilton mixed up the field.

It was an unusual podium lineup, with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll joining the Frenchman on the rostrum.

Here’s what the drivers said following a memorable afternoon’s racing:

Pierre Gasly – 1st (AlphaTauri):

“This is amazing! I’m lost for words! It’s unbelievable! I’ve been through so many things in the past 18 months and it’s better than anything I expected. I focused hard when I re-joined Scuderia AlphaTauri. Day by day, race by race, we improved ourselves and got stronger and stronger – this team gave me my first podium in F1 last year in Brazil and today, these guys gave me my first win in Formula 1, in Italy, in Monza, with an Italian team. I’m not someone who gives up on anything, I always fought for everything in my life until I made it to F1. Today it was a great day!

MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 06: Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia AlphaTauri on the podium following the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 06, 2020 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Jenifer Lorenzini – Pool/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202009060533 // Usage for editorial use only //

“When I was fighting the last few laps to keep P1, I knew how gutted I would have been if I had lost it, I wouldn’t have been happy with P2. I gave it everything I had – it was difficult – I pushed hard at the start of the stint to not give anyone the slipstream behind, then the last five laps were so intense, I almost shunted 10 times… I was pushing so hard! My tyres were gone but I wanted that win so much, it still feels weird to say I’m an F1 race winner. A big thanks to all of these guys here at the track and at the factory, in Faenza and Bicester, it’s a great day for them too. Most of them are Italian and the HQ is in Faenza, Italy, so to win the Italian Grand Prix is amazing. Thank you all.”

MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 06: Race winner Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia AlphaTauri, second placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and McLaren F1 and third placed Lance Stroll of Canada and Racing Point celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 06, 2020 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Jenifer Lorenzini – Pool/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202009060532 // Usage for editorial use only //


Carlos Sainz – 2nd (McLaren):

“Well, what a race! Extremely happy to land a P2 here in Monza! Days like today are what make our sport so intense and rewarding. I’m especially proud because I think today we got this podium on pure pace, which is a great achievement! I was fast from start to finish and could maintain a great pace throughout the whole race. Without the red flag, being the first car legally on a stop, I could’ve won the race after Lewis got a penalty during the first Safety Car. It’s obviously impossible to be too disappointed with P2, but I wanted that win! I did my best to move quickly through the field after the restart and catch Gasly towards the end. Probably missed out by one lap! Still, super happy! Thank you to the whole race team for a great effort all weekend and to everyone back at the factory. We deserve it! On to Mugello.”

Carlos Sainz, McLaren, 2nd position, sprays himself with Champagne


Lance Stroll – 3rd (Racing Point):

“It’s been a while since I’ve stood on the podium, but it was worth the wait to get my second one! It feels great to be back on the podium, I’m still pinching myself! Firstly, I want to congratulate Pierre, it was such a crazy race, but he fully deserved that win. He had a great launch at the restart and was so consistent after that. It’s a bit of a bummer for me, because I think it was our race to win. We got a bit of luck with the timing of the red flag, but that’s part of Formula 1 and I’ll take it when it comes! Regardless, I’m delighted with third today. I’m so happy for the team – thanks to them for giving me such a strong car.”


Franz Tost – Team Principal (AlphaTauri):

“Twelve years after the great victory in Monza in 2008 with Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia AlphaTauri was able to repeat itself, again in Monza with Pierre Gasly. Strategy-wise, the team did a fantastic job in deciding to bring him in one lap before the safety car was deployed. Of course, we didn’t know this at that time, but at the end this was exactly the right call because at the restart of the race he was in P3 and was able to overtake Stroll into Turn 1. Hamilton had a stop and go penalty which elevated Pierre to the lead, and once he was in this position he was able to defend it until the end of the race, keeping Sainz under control. I must say Pierre drove a fantastic race. Daniil also drove a very strong race, he finished in the points although, was a bit unlucky with the tyre change. Normally, we would have liked to have called him in later, but in the end, he still finished in the top 10. This was the best possible result and we’re extremely happy. Last but not least, a big thanks to Honda for their very powerful engine and their fantastic cooperation. Now we are switching our attention to Mugello, where we’re looking to have another strong race.”

MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 06: Pierre Gasly of Scuderia AlphaTauri and France celebrates with the team after winning the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 06, 2020 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202009060524 // Usage for editorial use only //


Lando Norris – 4th (McLaren):

“A really good race for me and us as a team. I had a great start and got ahead of three people into P3. I was really happy and we were controlling the pace well compared to some faster cars, but once everything settled down it’s also very difficult to overtake. The whole race was going really well until the red flag. Some people benefitted and got very lucky, so it’s a shame. We put in a lot of hard work to put ourselves in a good position, but the rule allowing teams to change the tyre before the restart worked against us and meant that we lost out. It’s a frustrating rule, and one that I hope can be looked at and reviewed. We could’ve had a double podium on merit today, but we lost out to that and the pitlane re-opening. But, I don’t think we could’ve done much more so I’m happy with what I did. I’m also so happy for the team, it’s an amazing result for us all.”


Andreas Seidl – Team Principal (McLaren):

“P2 and P4 at the ‘temple of speed’. It’s a fantastic result coming at the end of a weekend where we’ve been competitive from the first laps onwards. Congratulations to every single member of the team, out here at the track and back home in the factory, to our colleagues from Renault and especially our drivers for a sensational effort today. Circumstances were difficult and the special situation of the Safety Car with closed pit entry and the red flag didn’t play into our hands. Everyone kept their heads down and focused on executing the race perfectly, resulting in the best finish for the McLaren F1 team since 2014. We’re leaving Monza with a lot of positives and looking at the second half of the season with confidence. We’ll enjoy ourselves this evening after a great race, and tomorrow we’ll reset and begin preparation for next weekend. We need to deliver another strong performance in Mugello. Finally, congratulations to AlphaTauri and Pierre Gasly for a sensational victory today.”

Carlos Sainz, McLaren, 2nd position, and the McLaren team celebrate their podium finish


Valtteri Bottas – 5th (Mercedes):

“That was a difficult day out there. The start was pretty poor and on the first lap, I had a bit of contact and thought I had a puncture, but it turned out I didn’t. I had massive understeer and the car was pulling to one side. It recovered but then I was suffering some overheating issues with the engine running in traffic, so there wasn’t much I could do. Every time I got close to another car, I had to back off due to the overheating or look for clean air on the straights, which meant I couldn’t get the tow. It felt a bit better after the red flag and towards the end of the race, but there’s lots of things for us to review and understand. We’ll debrief and then move onto Mugello. We should have a good car there but it’s going to be tough to overtake, so Qualifying will be crucial.”


Otmar Szafnauer – CEO & Team Principal (Racing Point):

“Congratulations to Lance and the whole team for today’s podium – the first of the Racing Point era. It was a day all about taking opportunities and I’m very proud of the whole team. Lance battled hard today – making some excellent overtaking moves – and he really deserves this result. On the other hand, the luck didn’t go Sergio’s way today and his chances of scoring good points ended when the safety car came out. All in all though, it’s a day of celebration for everybody at Racing Point.”


Daniel Ricciardo – 6th (Renault):

“That was a crazy race. It reminded me of Baku in 2017 with a similar, tense feeling and it being very unpredictable. Congratulations to Pierre [Gasly] for his first win. I know the feeling from winning for the first time and it’s crazy. Sixth isn’t bad for us today, I felt I couldn’t have done anymore in the situation. We weren’t the only ones, but the safety car and red flag did not go our way today. After a good start and good pace, the timing wasn’t on our side, but that’s something we can’t change. I’m happy with how it went today, we had a great start, good pace and we move onto next weekend.”


Toto Wolff – Team Principal (Mercedes):

“This is a loss for Mercedes and the big teams, but it’s a victory for the sport. That was great entertainment today and it was fantastic to see the young guys fighting out front. Congratulations to Pierre and Alpha Tauri, they deserved the win. It was obviously a disappointing race for us. With Lewis and the penalty, it was a weird sequence of events. We should have spotted earlier that the pit lane was closed, by the time that we did, the car was entering the pit lane. It’s a tough result to take but we must take it on the chin. The recovery drive that Lewis did was very good. It is difficult to overtake in Monza, particularly now with the new Technical Directive on engine modes, so with that in mind, to recover to P7 was very strong. On Valtteri’s side, we need to see what happened with the car, as it wasn’t turning well into the right-handers and that was making it hard for him to make progress. We were also marginal on cooling, which made things even tougher for him out there. We’ll take all the learnings we can from this weekend and come back fighting in Mugello.”


Lewis Hamilton – 7th (Mercedes):

“Huge congratulations to Pierre, it’s a fantastic result for him and it’s great to see such a young podium. Obviously, I’ve seen what Pierre’s been through, being dropped from a top team and then beating that top team today. It’s fantastic to see him recover and see him grow, so I’m very happy for him. My race wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t see the boards saying the pit lane was closed because I was following the safety car delta on my dash, so I take responsibility for that and it’s something that we’ll investigate and learn from. That stop/go pit stop was long, and I had 26 seconds to catch up to the next car. I was giving it absolutely everything. I honestly didn’t expect to get seventh and fastest lap at that point in the race. I took a lot of life out of the tyres closing the gap and there was a lot of turbulence from the other cars, which made it hard to follow them. But once I caught up to everybody, it was a fun battle and I still got some good points. I’ll definitely take the result and am grateful for it. We’ll move onto the next one and I look forward to it.”


Esteban Ocon – 8th (Renault):

“I have mixed feelings today as we had a good race on track and took some solid points, but also it was one of those races when you see the podium and wonder what could have been. We didn’t have luck on our side with the pit-stop before the red flag and that meant a free stop for the others. The race was strong, I passed three cars at the start and had good race pace to be competitive inside the points. It’s strange as I passed Gasly at the start and he won the race! We probably didn’t match our expectations on the pace we thought we would have in Spa, but it was still a good effort.”

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Renault F1 Team RS20.
Italian Grand Prix, Sunday 6th September 2020. Monza Italy.


Daniil Kvyat – 9th (AlphaTauri):

“It was a very eventful race. I’m very happy for Pierre, congratulations to him and to the team, it’s a great day for us. Looking at my race, P9 was the maximum we could achieve today with the timing of the safety car and the tyre choice we went for at the start of the race. Everything that could have gone wrong with the strategy, unfortunately did, but at least it was the opposite for Pierre. It was amazing for him to take the opportunity and I’m happy for him. I’m disappointed not to have had the same opportunity but I’m satisfied with my race, I’m honest with myself and I think I drove a good race.”


Sergio Perez – 10th (Racing Point):

“Well done to Lance and the team on the podium, it’s a great result. From my side, it’s been a disappointing day. Anything that could go wrong seemed to happen to us. The main positive is that I was able to recover to get back into P10 and earn a point – and the team had a great day with Lance’s finish too.”


Nicholas Latifi – 11th (Williams):

“It was a very tricky and eventful race. I lucked into the position having completed the pitstop prior to the red flag. It was nice that I got to experience a top 10 starting position with the restart following the red flag. We are still struggling on those opening laps, with cold tyres and dirty air. It seems that the other cars can do much more, whilst I am trying not to crash and maintain the position. I am disappointed that I slipped out of the points. Once things settled down, I think the pace was alright and I managed to catch Kimi which was nice to have some kind of a battle. I am happy with the overall result, but it would have been nice to reward Claire and the team with some points today. It’s been a huge privilege to race for Claire and Frank. From the moment I joined the team I felt right at home, and it was very clear the atmosphere and culture they’ve instilled is valued. You can understand why so many of the employees’ love working for them and the team. I’m going to miss them, Formula One is going to miss them, and I want to wish them all the best of luck for the future wherever life takes them.”

Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing FW43.
Italian Grand Prix, Sunday 6th September 2020. Monza Italy.


Romain Grosjean – 12th (Haas):

“Well, sadly that’s our pace – and we finished where we did. It was a tough race for us, I drove my heart out as always. I had a fun battle with George (Russell), we pushed the limits to the maximum. Everything was great, the tires, the brakes, the energy and so on. I think it’s been a more important day for Pierre (Gasly) today, it was a fantastic win for France, and for him after a tough year last year. It’s been 24 years since there was a French winner in Formula One – since Olivier Panis in Monaco in 1996. It’s beautiful, I’m happy for that.”


Charles Leclerc – DNF (Ferrari):

“It was a very difficult race and I struggled quite a lot with the balance. I thought at first we were unlucky when the safety car came out, but due to the fact the pit-lane remained closed, we were actually pretty lucky. We were in a very good place at that point, but I was struggling a lot on the hard tyres. I tried to push but then I made a mistake, lost the rear and crashed at Parabolica. The crash was quite a big one but I am ok. A bit of pain here and there, which is quite normal. We have had two difficult weekends for the team, but it’s like this at the moment and I hope we can bounce back, so I am looking forward to Mugello.”


Kimi Raikkonen – 13th (Alfa Romeo):

“It was a very disappointing result in the end but there was nothing we could really do. We only had soft tyres left at the red flag, after using mediums at the start, which effectively put us in a very difficult position. The soft tyres were good to fight and defend in the first few laps after the restart, but when they faded away we were left exposed. Until the red flag we were in a good position: the car felt good and things had turned pretty positively for us, but after that we really couldn’t fight.”


George Russell – 14th (Williams):

“It was an unfortunate race and we were unlucky not to pit before the red flag. The car was feeling really good, we were just slow on the straight. Every time I overtook a car, they just passed me on the straight. It is a shame, because I think we could have scored points today. The car was feeling fast but that is just racing. I am really happy to see the top four finishers today; it is absolutely awesome for them. It’s also the end of an era and it’s been a privilege to be a part of it. What Claire and Frank have done for the team, and for the people that work for the team, is extraordinary. They’ve always kept them in their hearts and that’s still the case now.”

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW43.
Italian Grand Prix, Sunday 6th September 2020. Monza Italy.


Alexander Albon – 15th (Red Bull):

“That wasn’t a fun race and P15 clearly isn’t reflective of our true package. We had a lot of damage with the left side of the floor missing after contact in Turn 1 and then with the time penalty our race was basically over. We had no grip and lost a load of downforce so it was a long race where we were just limping to the end. It’s been a tough weekend for us as a Team which we thought it could be and then with the circumstances today it’s just made it a lot harder. It’s obviously a much better day for AlphaTauri so we’re happy for those guys but for us, we need to put our heads down and focus on Mugello in a week’s time.”


Antonio Giovinazzi – 16th (Alfa Romeo):

“We end up without points after such a crazy race, which is a shame as things looked good at the beginning. In hindsight, knowing how things unfolded, we know that a top ten finish would have been unlikely, but it’s still disappointing to have a penalty put you far at the back of the field when running in the top positions. We will need to investigate how the situation that led to the stop and go unfolded: in the moments after a safety car is called, everything happens really quickly and you react to what’s happening around you: I was just focused on getting back to the pits. Afterwards, I was too far back to do anything, but this is racing. I just need to put this behind me and focus on next week race, another home Grand Prix for me, to try to do a better job.”


Christian Horner – Team Principal (Red Bull):

“Firstly, I want to congratulate everyone at AlphaTauri, especially Franz, Pierre and Honda who achieved something great today to take victory here at Monza. Our challenging weekend continued into the race with Max initially bogging down at the start and finding himself in a DRS train which is almost impossible to break around this track. Alex suffered damage from contact at Turn 1 which he also incurred an arguably harsh five second time penalty for, putting him to the back of the field before the safety car re-start. At the re-start Max suffered an engine issue which we were unable to overcome, forcing him to retire on lap 30. The damage to Alex’s floor from the early race contact was significant and he was losing around a second a lap throughout the race, resulting in him finishing P15. Certainly not our finest weekend but we will re-convene and work hard to ensure that we are back where we belong next weekend in Mugello.”


Kevin Magnussen – DNF (Haas):

“I got caught in the middle of a three-wide situation at turn one on the first lap, I was sandwiched and ended up having my front-wing damaged. I had to pit, came back out with a new front-wing, and I had really, really good pace. We didn’t expect to have that level of pace. That makes it even harder to be out of the race so early. It’s not great of course, especially as we saw how good the pace was – we were matching the McLarens. I would have liked to have seen what we could have done in the race. It was pretty eventful. It was exactly the kind of race I’d loved to have been a part of.”

AUTODROMO NAZIONALE MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 06: Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-20 during the Italian GP at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Sunday September 06, 2020 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Mark Sutton / Sutton Images)


Mattia Binotto – Team Principal (Ferrari):

“Retirement for both cars is the worst possible end to a very difficult weekend. After Belgium, we knew that here too we would struggle a lot and so it turned out. That was clear in yesterday’s qualifying but failing to get either car to the chequered flag really hurts. It’s even more disappointing that Sebastian’s retirement was down to a lack of reliability on the car. Problems like that, in this case with the brake system, should not happen. It’s a very hard season but it’s by facing up to difficulties like these that you get stronger. We must look ahead and there are useful lessons for all of us to take away from this to build for the future. Having said that, we must absolutely not give up and we will be giving our all next weekend at Mugello which is a special event for us, being our one thousandth Formula 1 Grand Prix.”


Max Verstappen – DNF (Red Bull):

“I think pretty much everything that could go wrong today did go wrong. I had a very bad start with a lot of wheel spin when I dropped the clutch and from there onwards I was stuck in a DRS train which makes it almost impossible to overtake around here. After the red flag I had a problem with the engine at the re-start which we tried to solve but it didn’t go away and we had to retire the car which is of course very disappointing. Now we just have to forget this race and move on to next week at a new circuit we are all excited to visit. It may not have been our weekend but I am very happy for Pierre as AlphaTauri have been very fast all weekend and to win here in Italy is very emotional and a great result for them. They are a great group of people and I hope they are going to enjoy this one tonight because they all deserve it.”


Sebastian Vettel – DNF (Ferrari):

“This is a very difficult moment for the whole team and as part of it, I am suffering along with everyone else. But this is our reality right now and we need to try and do the best we can, to have a worthwhile final part of the season with still plenty of races to go. We have a lot of work to do and we have to be focused on that. As for my race it was very short as almost immediately I had an issue with brakes. I went on the brakes in the first chicane but the car didn’t slow and I had to drive through the run-off area. Actually it was the best possible spot to have the issue. We have to keep our heads up, even if it is difficult. Now we head to Mugello, a completely different track and maybe there we could be in a bit of a better place. Hopefully we can have a clean weekend.”


Claire Williams – Deputy Team Principal (Williams):

“It has been my greatest privilege and my biggest honour to work with everybody in our incredible team. But more importantly from Frank, myself and everybody in the Williams family I would like to thank all of our team, past and present, for everything they have given to us over the years. They are the true warriors of this team and we wish them all the success in the world for the future. We would also like to thank all of our fans around the world who have supported us through thick and thin for so many years. You have humbled us. Our time in this sport has been a huge privilege, we leave with so many memories, we have been through highs and lows, triumph and adversity and will forever love Formula One.”

Claire Williams (GBR) Williams Racing Deputy Team Principal presented with a front wing from the team.
Italian Grand Prix, Sunday 6th September 2020. Monza Italy.

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