Leclerc delights Ferrari fans with Monza win

Charles Leclerc makes it back-to-back wins with victory at the Italian Grand Prix

GP ITALIA F1/2019 - SABATO 07/09/2019 credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

There were jubilant scenes at Monza as Charles Leclerc gave the Tifosi a first Ferrari win at the Italian Grand Prix since 2010, holding off the challenge of the Mercedes duo.

The 21-year-old made it back-to-back wins after securing his maiden victory in Belgium last weekend, with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton joining him on the podium.

There was some jostling for position at the front early on as Hamilton tried to go around the outside of Leclerc, but briefly lost out to his teammate, while Nico Hulkenberg got in front of Sebastian Vettel, only for the Ferrari driver to move back in front a couple of corners later.

There was early damage for Max Verstappen as he had to take evasive action to avoid a heavy collision with Sergio Perez, damaging his front wing before having to take to the escape road, forcing Red Bull into an early pitstop.

Lance Stroll made a strong start to the race and was running seventh when he was collected by Vettel. The four-time champion spun through the gravel trap and drove into the Canadian while trying to return to the track, with the Racing Point driver almost colliding with Pierre Gasly, but the Toro Rosso man took evasive action. As a result, Vettel was given a 10-second stop and go penalty, while Stroll received a drive through for his near-miss with Gasly.

Alexander Albon dropped down the order after banging wheels with Carlos Sainz. The Red Bull driver rejoined the track behind Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, and tried to force his way back ahead of the slower car. However, he did so while cutting the chicane, and was unable to give the place back to Magnussen as the Dane was also overtaken by Daniil Kvyat, earning Albon a five-second time penalty.

It was a busy first half of the race for the stewards as Kimi Raikkonen started the race in the pitlane after making a number of changes to his car following his crash in qualifying. However, he didn’t start on the same tyres he set the best time on in Q2, leaving him with a 10-second stop and go penalty.

Hamilton was the first of the front runners to come in for new tyres, doing so one lap earlier than Leclerc. The Monegasque driver got back out just ahead of the Mercedes driver, but with his tyres up to temperature, Hamilton was able to put the Ferrari man under pressure. Hamilton got alongside Leclerc, but some strong defending from the winner last time out saw Hamilton put a wheel on the grass, sending him through the escape road. Leclerc was given a black and white flag, warning him not to push Hamilton that hard again, but didn’t face any further action for the move.

There was a virtual safety car midway through the race when McLaren released Sainz from his pitstop without attaching one of the wheels properly, forcing the Spaniard to pull in at the end of the pitlane. Bottas pitted from the lead during the VSC period, dropping him back to third but costing him less time than if he’d come in under green flag conditions.

Another VSC followed a few moments later as Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso let out a plume of smoke, allowing Daniel Ricciardo to also make a cheap pitstop, cementing his fourth place.

Hamilton and Leclerc continued to battle for the lead, with Leclerc locking up going into turn one, launching his Ferrari over the kerbs, but Leclerc rejoined ahead of his rival. The stewards briefly looked into the move to see if Leclerc gained an advantage, but decided no action was necessary.

Hamilton remained within half a second of the leader, but had his own lock up inside the final 10 laps, forcing him to take to the escape road, which saw Bottas jump in front of his teammate. With fresher tyres than Hamilton, the Finn seemed to be in a strong position to close the gap to the Ferrari, but couldn’t quite get close enough to make the move.

Magnussen was a late retirement, bringing his Haas into the garage after suffering a hydraulic problem, while Hamilton made a late pitstop for a second set of new tyres to wrap up the bonus point for fastest lap, having found himself with a big gap back to Ricciardo in fourth.

Provisional classification:

1 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)

5. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

6. Alexander Albon (Red Bull)

7. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)

8. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

9. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)

10. Lando Norris (McLaren)

11. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)

12. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)

13. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

14. George Russell (Williams)

15. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)

16. Romain Grosjean (Haas)

17. Robert Kubica (Williams)

DNF:

Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)

Carlos Sainz (McLaren)

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