Charles Leclerc has proved beyond doubt he is the future of Ferrari, becoming the first Prancing Horse pilot to win the Italian Grand Prix since Fernando Alonso in 2010. On a day when his four-time F1 World Champion teammate Sebastian Vettel again fell apart under pressure.
Leclerc’s win is his second-straight, following on from Belgium last weekend - and was secured in style, the 21-year-old absolutely impervious under pressure from both Mercedes, as both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas applied maximum pressure. Leclerc the darling of Monza, as his star rises at the Scuderia.
“What a race!” Leclerc exclaimed. “I’ve never been so tired.”
“I did a few mistakes, but at the end I finished first. So very happy with this. But I need to be careful with the mistakes. Obviously none of them lost positions today.”
Bottas and Hamilton completed the podium, while Leclerc's teammate Vettel finished 13th and one lap down after a lurid spin at the Ascari chicane on Lap 6. He rejoined the track in an unsafe manner, also forcing Racing Point's Lance Stroll to spin, earning a 10-second stop-go penalty.
There’s now a two-week break until the teams fly out to Singapore for F1’s original night race on September 22.
|6||23||Red Bull Racing Honda||53||+59.315s||8|
Here’s how the 2019 FORMULA 1 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX played-out lap-by-lap:
There’s always lots of emotion at Monza ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, but even more so with this year’s edition the 90th - with Ferrari, too, having celebrated its 90th anniversary as well. The sport is still reeling, however, after a shambolic Q3 in qualifying yesterday in which the pack left their final runs too late - leading to traffic, blocking and just McLaren’s Carlos Sainz making the line. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, fresh from his maiden win in Belgium, is on pole for the fourth time in his career - the Monegasque pushing to become Ferrari’s first winner at Monza since 2010. He’s ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who will want to get a better start and the lead into Turn 1.
On the second row, it’s Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas - who will be aiming to keep Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel behind him, with the German starting fourth and desperate to win in front of the Prancing Horse’s home crowd. Then it’s both the Renaults, with Daniel Ricciardo in fifth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg - who was reprimanded, along with Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll, for his part in the final Q3 run chaos. Sainz starts seventh, his best slot since Germany - alongside Red Bull Racing’s Alex Albon.
Stroll starts ninth, having outqualified his teammate Sergio Perez for the first time this year, while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi closed out the top-10, with the Italian enjoying his first home event as a Ferrari-affiliated Grand Prix driver. McLaren’s Lando Norris (P16), Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly (P17), Perez (P18) and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen (P19) all received grid penalties due to multiple power unit element changes, while Kimi Raikkonen starts from the pit lane after installing a new-spec power unit and gearbox.
In terms of strategy, there’s a 10 per cent chance of rain - but should it stay a dry race, low degradation and a long pit lane (23 seconds for a pit stop) means that the fastest way to finish the race is a one-stop on the softest compounds, with the hard compound unlikely to be used. For those starting on the softs, a stop is expected between laps 19-29 then switch to the mediums. Those starting on the medium tyres should go 10 laps longer, stopping between laps 28-38 - moving onto the softs. But weather and safety cars can change everything, with 15 SC/VSC deployments from 2007-2018 meaning a 36 per cent chance.
12 of the top-13 are on the softs, with Kvyat (P12), and then Russell (P14), Kubica (P15), Norris (P16), Gasly (P17), Perez (P18), Verstappen (P19) and Raikkonen (pit lane) on the mediums.
Polesitter Leclerc gets a good start, but Hamilton is dragging him down to Turn 1 and slots in behind Bottas taking third. Verstappen in trouble at the back, broken front wing. Hamilton retakes second ahead of Bottas. Hulkenberg takes Vettel for fourth into the second chicane. Ricciardo is sixth ahead of Stroll.
Leclerc leads Hamilton by 0.7 seconds, then it’s Bottas, Vettel passes Hulkenberg for fourth down the pit straight. Sainz in P8 is chasing down Stroll. Verstappen pits for a new front wing and takes on soft tyres, very ambitious. Verstappen hit Perez into the first corner on Lap 1 it’s reported.
Leclerc sets the fastest lap, a 1:25.194 - he’s 0.9 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Bottas keeping in touch. Vettel is 1.3 seconds behind the Finn. DRS enabled. Albon passes Sainz with an aggressive move into the second chicane, but loses it going too deep into the chicane and loses the place the first Lesmo and runs wide.
Leclerc sets another fastest lap, a 1:24.954. He’s 1.3 seconds up on Hamilton. Bottas is P3 within a second. Albon in P11 is chasing Magnussen.
Ricciardo passes Hulkenberg down the pit straight for fifth - Vettel is now 3.6 seconds ahead. Leclerc is 1.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Albon in P11 getting closer to Magnussen
Leclerc is now 1.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton, Bottas 1.1 seconds behind in P3. Vettel has spun, with Stroll having spun as well - Gasly goes off track to avoid contact with the Canadian.
Vettel pits with front wing damage, new front wing - he’s onto the hard tyres, 10.5 second stop. What a nightmare for Vettel, who spun at Ascari by himself - and when he rejoins forces Stroll off the track and into a spin.
Leclerc leads Hamilton by 1.3 seconds, then Bottas, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg closes out the top-five. Stewards are investigating Vettel for his unsafe rejoining of the track.
Replays show Grosjean spinning at the exit of Ascari chicane, and he pit on the previous lap. Albon going wide at second chicane, in a desperate move to get ahead of Magnussen. But goes wide. Hamilton says Leclerc is struggling.
Leclerc leads Hamilton by 1.2 seconds - the Mercedes driver is managing his tyres. Perez in P11 is 0.6 seconds behind Magnussen, chasing the Dane.
Stroll’s front wing is damaged, but Racing Point is keeping him out until his stop. Hamilton is now 1-second behind Leclerc, with the Monegasque again under fire from the 5-time F1 World Champion. Perez and Magnussen wheel to wheel.
It’s Leclerc, Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Giovinazzi, Albon, Kvyat and Magnussen - the top-10. Vettel given a 10-second stop go penalty for his unsafe rejoining of the track after his spin on Lap 6.
Leclerc leads Hamilton by 1.3 seconds, and told the team is thinking Plan B.
Vettel takes 10-second stop-go penalty. He exits in last place, 20th, one lap down. Verstappen is up to 16th, but says he’s lost power out of Turn 2 again.
Raikkonen potentially has not started the race on his Q2 tyres, he’s under investigation now. Stroll given a drive-through for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner. Verstappen passes Raikkonen for P15 down the pit straight.
Leclerc leads Hamilton by 1.7 seconds, as we approach the window for soft-tyre shod runners. Stroll takes his drive-through penalty. Mercedes is in the pit lane with hard tyres.
Mercedes going back into the garage, so a bit of gamesmanship. Hamilton says Leclerc is quicker than us, despite the Brit doing a marginally faster time on that last lap.
Top-three are the only ones in the 1:24s. Bottas the fastest of the trio. Albon given a penalty for the advantage he gained in trying to pass Magnussen. Verstappen passes Gasly for P13 into the first corner. Hamilton says rears are dropping off.
Leclerc leads Hamilton by 1.8 seconds. Pit window is open for the soft runners on a one-stop. Ricciardo in P4 has done a personal best lap. Raikkonen has a 10-second stop-go penalty for starting the race on incorrect tyres.
Hamilton pits from P2, he’s onto the mediums - and 2.6 second stop. Mercedes trying the undercut. He exits on P5 behind Hulkenberg. The Brit is pushing hard to try and get the advantage over Leclerc.
Leclerc pits from the lead, onto the hards - and it’s a 2.3 second stop, so two tenths faster. He’s into turn 1 ahead of Hamilton, but the Brit is on much softer tyres. And now Leclerc is being hunted, Hamilton half a second adrift.
Hamilton tries to get ahead of Leclerc going into the chicane, but can’t make it stick. Bottas, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg are ahead, and it’s for position so Leclerc is stuck.
Leclerc overtakes Hulkenberg into the Parabolica, but Hamilton follows him through down the straight. And he’s so close, and he goes wide at the second chicane as they touch wheels and the Mercedes gets rattled over the rumble strip. Hamilton has set the fastest lap, a 1:24.196.
Hamilton complains Leclerc didn’t give him enough room. Leclerc has been given the black and white flag for unsportsmanlike behaviour, but questions why to his team.
Leclerc and Hamilton are approaching Ricciardo now. Leclerc has set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:24.121. Bottas leads Ricciardo, then it’s the duelling Hamilton and Leclerc… who doesn’t yield into Parabolica.
Leclerc gets past Ricciardo into Turn 1, but Hamilton doesn’t - and gets past before the second chicane. So it’s now Bottas, Leclerc and Hamilton.
Leclerc in P2 sets the fastest lap, a 1:23.532. He’s 0.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Albon takes his penalty. Hamilton complaining it’s hard to keep up with Leclerc.
Bottas pits from the lead, softs go on - and 2.3 second stop. He’s back in P4 behind Leclerc, Hamilton and Ricciardo. Sainz has left the pits with a loose wheel, and stops out on track at pit exit.
Leclerc remains just 0.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Virtual Safety Car has been deployed. Leclerc slows right now, but Hamilton brakes hard to try and stay behind. Kvyat, Perez and Gasly pit. VSC stood down. Hamilton fight again re-ignited.
Hamilton trying hard to get close to Leclerc into Turn 1, but can’t make it work. Hulkenberg pits from P5, free stop with Kvyat 30-seconds behind.
Leaders are approaching backmarkers. Kvyat has stopped at the exit of the first chicane. Bottas sets the fastest lap, a 1:22.896. As the VSC is deployed again. Ricciardo pits.
Kvyat’s issue looks like an oil leak, says team boss Franz Tost. Verstappen in P12 is chasing down Gasly, and he takes the place for P11 into Turn 1.
Hamilton just 0.6 seconds behind you. The pair lap Vettel.
Leclerc stays ahead of Hamilton, as Vettel slots in behind - going deep and almost being passed by Russell. Hamilton asking for more power.
Verstappen passes Magnussen for P10, after the Dane went off at Turn 1 with a huge lock-up. Hamilton continues to hunt down the Ferrari of Leclerc - and he’s very close this time.
Hamilton much closer this time, as Leclerc locks up and goes wide over the chicane and retains the lead. Hamilton all over him, can’t get past into the second chicane.
Hamilton complaining of the way Leclerc is defending, as Bottas continues to close on his teammate.
Leclerc cleared of his off-track excursion by the stewards. Hamilton complains he doesn’t have much tyres left. Leclerc goes wide at Ascari and is all over him into Parabolica.
Hamilton can’t get Leclerc into Turn 1.
So it’s Leclerc, Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Albon, Perez, Giovinazzi, Verstappen, Norris - as top-10.
Leaders are approaching back marker Stroll. Unsafe release for Sainz will be investigated after the race.
Hamilton locks up, a snap on the right front, and goes into turn 1 run-off and returns in third place, behind Bottas. Can the Finn get close to Leclerc and take him for the win?
Bottas is 1.8 seconds behind Leclerc - and told to hunt him down. This should be fascinating. Vettel pits again, 2.8 seconds for the mediums.
Leader Leclerc is under fire now, with Bottas looking very strong - and setting the fastest final sector. Hamilton unhappy with his tyres, he’s got a free pit stop in hand. Bottas now 1.3 seconds adrift of Leclerc.
Leclerc leads Bottas by 1.2 seconds. Hamilton told the team is looking at options, with road behind him clear. Hamilton has blisters on right front. Magnussen has retired, he’s in the garage.
Bottas told c’mon this is your win!
Bottas still 1.7 seconds behind Leclerc, mistake at Ascari chicane putting him half a second behind.
Bottas sets the fastest lap, a 1:22.859, as Leclerc 1.5 seconds ahead sets a personal best lap.
The leaders approaching back markers, he passes Gasly quickly but Bottas still behind.
Hamilton pits for softs, he’s onto the softs - 2.4 second stop for a chance at the final point for fastest lap. Leclerc slid the car into Turn 5, the second chicane. Bottas now in DRS range.
Bottas now all over Leclerc, but goes wide at the first chicane, brakes too late. Toto Wolff winces in the Mercedes’ garage.
Leclerc leads Bottas by 1.2 seconds. Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:21.779.
Lap 53 - FINAL LAP:
Leclerc makes it two in a row, becoming the first Ferrari driver to win at Monza since Alonso in 2010.
|6||23||Red Bull Racing Honda||53||+59.315s||8|
|7||11||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||53||+73.802s||6|
|8||33||Red Bull Racing Honda||53||+74.492s||4|
|9||99||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||52||+1 lap||2|
|10||4||McLaren Renault||52||+1 lap||1|
|11||10||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||52||+1 lap||0|
|12||18||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||52||+1 lap||0|
|14||63||Williams Mercedes||52||+1 lap||0|
|15||7||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||52||+1 lap||0|
|16||8||Haas Ferrari||52||+1 lap||0|
|17||88||Williams Mercedes||51||+2 laps||0|
|NC||26||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||29||DNF||0|