Red Bull’s Italian Grand Prix in review - from bad to worse
Red Bull’s confidence in their ability to score a podium at Monza was fading before Lap 1 was over; what led them to such catastrophic results?
Disappointment from the Flying Dutchman
Lewis Hamilton’s most recent and aggressive challenger, Max Verstappen, was looking for his seventh consecutive podium at the Italian Grand Prix, but it was evident that his chances of spraying the champagne were gone as soon as the race began.
Photo credit: Red Bull
He had an uncharacteristically poor start, which dropped him from fifth to seventh and set the trajectory for the rest of his race. On Lap 31, after running in fourteenth place with mechanical issues, Red Bull opted to retire Versappen’s car from the race altogether.
“It was a pretty ‘beep it away’ day,” he said, wisely swapping his preferred choice of language for something more permissible. “First we had a very bad start. When I dropped the clutch, I had a lot of wheelspin as the engine was hot somehow.
“And then from there onwards, we got stuck in the DRS train - you can’t pass around here then. After the red flag and the second start, when I accelerated, I had a problem with the engine, so we tried to solve it but it didn’t go away and we had to retire the car.
“Now we just have to forget this race and move on to next week at a new circuit [Mugello] we are all excited to visit.”
Albon in the same boat
It was both sides of the Red Bull garage that experienced struggles and frustrations on Sunday, as teammate Alex Albon’s race was handicapped by damage to his car right from the start, eventually leading to a disastrous P15 for the Thai driver.
Photo credit: Red Bull
“That wasn’t a fun race and P15 clearly isn’t reflective of our true package,” he said after the race. “We had a lot of damage with the left side of the floor missing after contact in Turn 1, and then with the time penalty our race was basically over.
“We had no grip and lost a load of downforce so it was a long race where we were just limping to the end. It’s been a tough weekend for us as a team which we thought it could be, and then with the circumstances today it’s just made it a lot harder.”
Italy’s effect on the Championship
Monza provided Red Bull with their first non-points scoring race since Round 1 of 2020 at the Austrian Grand Prix, and just as much bad luck. As a result, the gap to McLaren - who currently sit third in the Constructors’ Championship with 98 points - has been reduced to 60 points.
In the Drivers’ Championship, things are just as disappointing for Red Bull; Verstappen’s retirement and consequent lack of points-scoring allowed Valtteri Bottas to reclaim second place, now seven points adrift of the Dutchman. Alex Albon’s own lack of points meant that the gap between himself in sixth and Charles Leclerc behind him was reduced to a mere three points.
Incoming driver shuffle?
An overall dreadful weekend for Red Bull, the Italian Grand Prix will not sit favorably in the team’s memory. However, their sister team AlphaTauri was able to claim victory at Monza for the first time since 2008 (then Toro Rosso), and with the very driver who was demoted from Red Bull last year… is Pierre Gasly ready to make his return?