Verstappen wins as Italian GP finishes behind safety car

A two-stop strategy doesn't pay off for Charles Leclerc as he finishes second after starting from pole position

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202209110347 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen has secured the first Italian Grand Prix victory of his career, beating Charles Leclerc as the race finished behind the safety car in Monza.

The Dutchman had to come from down the order due to a grid penalty, while Ferrari tried a different strategy to beat the championship leader, but the Red Bull had too much pace for Leclerc, with George Russell securing the final spot on the podium for Mercedes.

Lando Norris lost places at the start after his car went into anti-stall, but Verstappen made quick work of the cars in front of him, moving up to second after five laps.

Carlos Sainz, who also started towards the rear of the field due to an engine change, also progressed well early on, climbing up to fourth.

Sergio Perez was the first driver to come into the pits, and left the pitlane with his brakes on fire. Smoke continued to come from his front right for the majority of his outlap, but the fire eventually went out.

The virtual safety car was needed when Sebastian Vettel lost power, forcing the four-time champion to pull his Aston Martin to the side of the track. 

Ferrari called the race leader into the pits, but as they did so, the VSC ended, dropping Leclerc down to third as the rest of the field got back up to race pace.

With concern that Leclerc’s tyres wouldn’t get to the end of the race after making an early pitstop, the team told the driver a second pitstop would be likely.

The Ferrari team called him back in to make his second stop with 18 laps remaining, coming back out just over 18 seconds adrift of Verstappen, but the gap didn’t come down quickly enough.

Further down the order, Norris and Lewis Hamilton were among the final drivers to make their pitstops. Hamilton made the most of his new soft tyres, picking up six drivers in just over a lap to climb up to sixth, but a slow pit stop from McLaren left Norris with work to do.

A water pressure issue caused Fernando Alonso to retire early, while Lance Stroll also had to end his race prematurely because of a mechanical issue.

Reliability issues also hit Daniel Ricciardo late on, who had looked set to finish in the points, as his McLaren ground to a halt. The safety car came out to allow the marshals to clear the stricken car, but they weren’t able to get the track clear before the end of the race, leaving the field to cross the line behind the safety car.

Nyck De Vries, filling in for Alex Albon who has appendicitis, scored points on his F1 debut, holding off a challenge from Guanyu Zhou to secure ninth.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

3. George Russell (Mercedes)

4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

6. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

7. Lando Norris (McLaren)

8. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

9. Nyck De Vries (Williams)

10. Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)

11. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

12. Mick Schumacher (Haas)

13. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

14. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

15. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

16. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)


Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

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