AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly claimed his maiden FIA Formula 1 victory at yesterday’s red-flagged Italian Grand Prix, using Pirelli’s all three compounds during the 53-lap race.
Pierre Gasly clinched his first Formula 1 victory at the end of an enthralling, incident-packed Italian Grand Prix that saw Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll take second and third respectively. After dominating the first part of the race, Lewis Hamilton lost the lead through a stop and go penalty for pitting while the pit entry was closed.
Following a slightly cooler Friday, weather conditions changed for Saturday and remained dry and warm, with 30 degrees ambient and 41 degrees centigrade at the re-start of the race.
Drivers started the 53-lap Italian Grand Prix with different strategies. While the majority chose the soft compound for the first stint, Nicholas Latifi, Romain Grosjean, Kimi Räikkönen , George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi started the Monza round with the medium compound. Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel were the only drivers to commit themselves to the C2 hard compound for their opening stint.
There was an equally wide selection of tyres used when the race restarted: with all three compounds chosen for the re-start. However, the top six at the finish all selected the medium tyre for the second half of the race.
As it is always the case with a red flag, there were some drivers who gained with the interruption and there were others who were handicapped due to the stoppage. Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, who finished third, effectively gained a ‘free’ pit stop, as he was the only driver not to stop before the red flag came out. Carlos Sainz had a used set of medium for his closing stint while the race winner Pierre Gasly had a brand-new medium compound following his two previous stints that he completed on the red and the hard rubber.
It was also interesting to see that Hamilton chose the hard compound for his last stint in which he needed to close in on the field following his penalty. The fact that the Briton’s fastest lap was 1.136 faster than the second fastest race lap shows how much Mercedes has in reserve in races.
When it comes to the longest stint on the different compounds available at Monza, the longest distance was 27 laps with all three compounds. This was, however, not surprising given the safety car period which meant that all the drivers could change tyres in the pits.
Romain Grosjean, Alexander Albon and Lewis Hamilton opted for the white-walled hard compound while Kimi Räikkönen, Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi chose the softest compound available, the C4. The medium compound turned out to be the favourite option with ten drivers completing the second half of the race on the C3.
On the hard rubber, it was Hamilton to set the fastest lap with a time of 1m22.746 that became the fastest lap of the entire race. On the mediums, it was again the Briton to post the fastest lap with a 1’23.504 which he achieved on heavy fuel load during the first part of the race, highlighting the dominance of his Mercedes W11. On the softest compound available at Monza, the red-walled C4, it was Renault’s Esteban Ocon to register the best lap time with a 1m24.490.
Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola stressed that the red-flag period overwrote the pre-race strategy calculations with drivers completing a long second stint after the interruption.
“All our compounds performed well today. The race strategy was obviously dominated and reset by the red flag. This was preceded by a safety car, all of which added up to a highly unusual and entertaining grand prix. Effectively, we had a 27-lap sprint race to the finish, which meant that the drivers had to think about managing their tyres throughout the duration of the second half of the race. "
The Italian was happy to experience an unusual result on the podium. „Congratulations to Pierre Gasly and AlphaTauri for a very memorable and perfectly-managed victory – as well as to Carlos Sainz with McLaren and Lance Stroll with Racing Point, who finished second and third at this incredible Italian Grand Prix: where the top three all used completely different strategies,” he concluded.