After an emotional weekend at Belgium last week, the Formula 1 carnival made its way south to Italy where the F1 2019 Italian Grand Prix took place in Monza for the 69th time. Autodromo Nazionale Monza is one of the most familiar race circuits to F1 fans, though Italians and the Tifosi fans of Ferrari have had little to cheer for in recent history. With Lewis Hamilton winning four of the last five Italian Grand Prix races and starting second on the grid, today was Charles Leclerc’s day to prove that he is the future of Formula 1.
The qualifying saw some interesting tactics this weekend with a late red flag causing most drivers to miss their second flying lap. The grid didn’t look too out of shape however, though the Renault team with Australian Daniel Ricciardo had one of their best starts of the season in 4th and 5th.
Though there was plenty to watch in the lower part of the grid, the race for the podium was only ever a 3 horse race with a prancing one out front. Charles Leclerc held his position at the front of the pack from the start until the finish, but not without some cheeky maneuvers. Twice the FIA stewards decided that Leclerc’s racing needed investigation, but twice the stewards let him off with warnings despite Hamilton’s frustration as he spent 53 laps trying to overtake.
Hamilton had some choice words to say about Leclerc’s racing, in a post-race interview he stated that, “We’ve gone over and over it multiple times, it’s pointless me bringing it up. I avoided the collision, and just kept focusing on trying to get close again.
“It seems like the new generation get away with a lot more in that space, of how they manoeuvre their car compared to I’d say the more experienced drivers. But it’s good knowledge, now I know, and I look forward to the next one.”
Should Leclerc have been penalised for taking this shortcut through the chicane?
“We’ve just constantly asked for consistency.” Continued Hamilton, “There was a rule put in place, and then it wasn’t abided by today.
“They used different consequences for the rule today. I don’t know why that was the case. I guess the stewards woke up on a different side of the bed this morning, I don’t know.”
As Hamilton’s tires began to fall apart late in the race, he himself made a mistake with a few laps to go, however this gave team mate Valtteri Bottas a chance to overtake and offered a few laps to try his own moves on Leclerc. Ultimately however it was Leclerc’s day in Italy, and the Italian crowd went wild.
“Thank you so much! What a race. I’ve never been so tired…” said Charles Leclerc on the biggest race of his life, “I did a few mistakes, but at the end I finished first so very happy with this. I need to be careful with the mistakes, but none of them made me lose a position today.”
In other events, Max Verstappen started from the back of the grid and immediately damaged his front wing causing a pit stop after the first lap. Somehow he clawed his way through the order over the course of the race to finish 8th in what was probably the most impressive drive of the day. Today was not the day for Sebastian Vettel however, spinning out mid-race and then causing an incident when he dangerously re-entered the track, clipping Lance Stroll who then made contact with Pierre Gasly. Vettel was awarded a time penalty and never recovered in what is turning in to a disappointing second half of the F1 2019 calendar for the four-time Formula 1 World Champion.
Carlos Sainz was possibly going to earn some points, but a dodgy pit-stop where his front right tire wasn’t secured caused his race to end on lap 27. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen couldn’t have had a worse day at Monza, already starting the race in the pit lane and then being penalised by the race stewards after they realised the Alfa Romeo Racing Team had swapped his tires, which is an obscure violation that perhaps the team had overlooked.
Check out the full F1 2019 Italian Grand Prix race results below:
Join us in two weeks as the Formula 1 2019 carnival heads back to Asia for the Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest battles of the F1 2019 calendar.