Gasly fights off Sainz to surprise win at Italian GP

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Italy, Autodromo Nazionale di Monzait

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly has won the Italian Grand Prix, fending off a charging Carlos Sainz in the final few laps. After the order was reversed in two safety car periods, Gasly held on and underlined an already impressive season with his first win.

When the lights went out, Lewis Hamilton launched off the line well and maintained first place. Behind him, Sainz reacted well and rapidly moved up into second, followed by Bottas, Norris and Perez.

Bottas did appear to have an issue in the first lap, and reported a puncture, only to stay out and continue. By then, the Finn, had already dropped down to 6th as Norris, Perez and Ricciardo all managed to make their way past the Mercedes.

Max Verstappen followed up in 7th, with Stroll, Ocon and Gasly completing the top 10. Albon had the worst start of all and dropped from 9th to 15th after missing the first chicane and slowly going over the run-off area. He additionally received a 5s penalty for squeezing Romain Grosjean into the grass during braking for that first Turn.

Already on lap 5, Vettel was in serious trouble and couldn't keep up with the cars ahead, until a fire on the left rear upright caused his brakes to fail, forcing him to pit and retire from the race.

By lap 15, Hamilton got himself a 10s lead over Sainz, who also built up a 4s gap to his team mate. As of Norris, the cars remained fairly close, resulting in some higher car temperatures. For Bottas especially this became an issue, as he was asked to move off line to give the car some fresh air. The Finn himself complained he was unable to fight with his current engine setting.

Two laps later, Leclerc makes the first regular pitstop and switched to hard tyres.

Magnussen retired another two laps later with "oh, something broke". His race was an uphill battle anyway as the Dane already pitted after the first lap. He parked just ahead of the pitlane entry, triggering a safety car and closure of the pitlane for 2 laps.

On lap 23, lots of people pitted, with Bottas moving ahead of Perez and Ricciardo, ending up just behind Norris. Sainz ended up 7th, behind all cars who had pitted beforehand, including Stroll, Gasly, Leclerc, Raikkonen and Giovinazzi. Lewis Hamilton still led the race.

One lap after the SC left the track, Charles Leclerc veered off the track on the exit of Parabolica, having been somewhat eager on the throttle. Needless to say, it was another SC, only to get a red flag and race stoppage moments later. Leclerc was lucky to escape unharmed, but the tyre barriers were damaged to such an extent that all cars lined up in the pitlane to await a restart.

During the stoppage, it was announced that Giovinazzi and Hamilton were both handed a 10s stop-and-go penalty for entering the pitlane while it was closed.

At 16:20 local time, the session was restarted, with below positions and tyre situation:

After another installation lap, the start was given from the grid for a second time, with Hamilton retaining the lead for a single lap as he then served his stop and go penalty. Still, things were even worse for Verstappen as he pitted and retired from the race.

This brought Gasly in the lead, followed by Raikkonen, Giovinazzi and Sainz. Lance Stroll rapidly lost some positions and then held on to 5th, followed by Norris, Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon, Kvyat and Perez.

Giovinazzi served his penalty after the second lap, dropping down to last, and moving Sainz up into third.

On lap 32, Sainz got past Raikkonen on the outside of Turn 1, setting himself up for a chase towards Gasly, who by then was 4s ahead. For Raikkonen, it was the start of a painful period as Stroll then also passed him at Variante Roggia, and Norris did the same at Turn 1 of the next lap. Despite the fortunate circumstances, the Alfa was clearly not good enough for a podium finish.

Hamilton meanwhile continued to string together fastest lap after fastest lap. On lap 37, he came into striking distance of Albon, who then was the last of the pack. Albon did try to resist though, and missed Turn 1 in his efforts, but there were nothing that could stop Hamilton from getting past eventually.

By lap 44, Hamilton was up in 11th, 0.8s behind Perez. Hamilton made it into the points moments later when Perez and Hamilton simultaneously passed Raikkonen, leaving the Finn to finish this race without points, despite the promising situation at the halfway point.

At the front, with 8 laps left, Sainz closed the gap to Gasly to 1.7s. Sainz edged ever closer and had better top speed, but only managed to get into DRS range at the end of the penultimate lap, which was basically too late.

It means Gasly wins the Italian Grand Prix, surprising everybody, and not least himself and his team. Though they lucked out in the pitstops, Gasly was free of errors and held on to the end to take his first Formula One race win.

With Mercedes out of the picture, this proved a thrilling race, and the surprising result is certainly good news for Formula One as a sport.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
110Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda5336:39.17425
255Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault53+0.415s18
318Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes53+3.358s15
44Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault53+6.000s12
577Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG53+7.108s10
63Daniel RicciardoRenault53+8.391s8
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG53+17.245s7
831Esteban OconRenault53+18.691s4
926Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri Honda53+22.208s2
1011Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes53+23.224s1
116Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes53+32.876s0
128Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari53+35.164s0
137Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari53+36.312s0
1463George RussellWilliams Mercedes53+36.593s0
1523Alexander AlbonRed Bull Racing Honda53+37.533s0
1699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari53+55.199s0
NC33Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda30DNF0
NC16Charles LeclercFerrari23DNF0
NC20Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari17DNF0
NC5Sebastian VettelFerrari6DNF0

Lewis Hamilton awarded an extra championship point for setting fastest lap