2020 Italian Grand Prix: Pierre Gasly takes victory in Monza thriller
Review of the 2020 Italian Grand Prix
For the 8th time this season Mercedes once again dominated Saturdays qualifying session and this time it was championship leader Lewis Hamilton he stormed to pole position setting a time of 1:18.887 which was a mere 0.069 quicker than teammate Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull struggled on Saturday which allowed Carlos Sainz Jr and Sergio Perez to claim third and fourth on the grid. Meanwhile Ferrari were really disappointing in qualifying as neither car made the top 10. We were in for a cracking race.
As the race began Hamilton led the field into Turn one as Carlos Sinz Jr made a mega start jumping ahead of Bottas into P2. Further round the first Lap Valtteri Bottas' poor start was compounded as the Finn got swamped by Lando Norris, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo and found himself in a lowly P6. As for McLaren it was a dream start for the Woking based team as both cars were inside the top 3 in P2 and P3. Further down the field the Wiliams team were in 18th and 19th as the Williams family enjoyed there final race in charge of the team.
Sebastian Vettels early retirement
Sebastian Vettel who qualified in 17th made a decent start but only a few laps into the 53 Lap event suffered a terminal brake issue and was forced to retire. The German has had a torrid season so far and this untimely non finish is exactly the opposite of what Vettel needed, especially at Ferraris home race.
Magnussens retirement and Safety Car
On Lap 19 Kevin Magnussens Ferrari engined Haas ground to halt on the at the exit of Parabolica. A lap later the Safety car was thus deployed. Race leader Lewis Hamilton pitted for a set of the medium tyres however the pit lane entry was closed. Which meant that Lewis Hamilton and Antonio Giovnazzi who also stopped under the Safety Car were under investigation. On Lap 23 the pit lane opened again and the majority of the field came in for new tyres.
Leclercs crash and Red Flag
Shortly after the Safety car came in Charles Leclerc was giving it everything but he lost control of his Ferrari at Parabolica and slammed into the barriers on the outside. Fortunately the Monagasque walked away. The Red Flag was subsequently brought out which brought the Italian Grand Prix to an abrupt halt. As the Red flag came out all the cars formed up in the pit lane and Lewis Hamilton and Antonio Giovinazzi were both given 10 second stop-go penalties for their pit lane infringements. During the red flag Lewis Hamilton went up to the stewards to protest his penalty.
We began after the restart on Lap 29 with a standing start. Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll on the front row. Hamilton led into Turn one while Gasly made a great start to move into second. At the end of the first racing Lap Gasly led the field as Hamilton served his penalty. The Brit had a mountain to climb as when he came out of the pits he had lost 30 seconds. There was another twist in the tale as young Dutchman Max Verstappen retired from the Italian Grand Prix due to a mechanical issue.
Hamiltons charge through the field
After Lewis Hamilton served his penalty he was a half a minute behind the leader and the reigning World Champion began to charge through the field. Hamilton made easy work of Alex Albon and George Russell using the superior pace of his Mercedes W11. He set fastest lap after fastest lap relentlessly passing car after car lap after lap in Monza and eventually ended up in seventh with a bonus point for achieving the fastest lap of the race.
Pierre Gaslys maiden victory
After all the carnage it was AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly who took a stunning maiden Grand Prix win. The Frenchman took advantage of all the mayhem after Hamiltons penalty and Verstappens retirement. Gasly was under huge pressure for the second half of the race from Mclarens Carlos Sainz Jr in the McLaren. Sainz Jr used every trick in the book to get passed but Gasly held firm and hung on to take an incredible win. The first for AlphaTauri and the first for a Frenchman in Formula One since 1996 when Olivier Panis won the Monaco Grand Prix. It was an absolutely brilliant performance from the Frenchman and he deserved the win.
What happens next?
Next up on the Formula One Calendar we stay in Italy but travel to Mugello for the Tuscan Grand Prix next weekend.