What did we learn from the Italian Grand Prix?

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Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix did fail to impress by delivering arguably the best race of the Mercedes-dominated season. AlphaTauri’s Pierre gasly rose to the top with Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll keeping the Frenchman honest in the dying minutes of the race.

The Italian Grand Prix needed a real twist after Mercedes smashed the rivals in the qualifying session. The Anglo-German outfit’s drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas qualified almost a second faster than their closest rival Carlos Sainz. While the Finn lost out at the start and slipped back to sixth, the Briton looked to cruise to another victory.

However, Kevin Magnussen’s technical issues that forced him to stop his car at the pit entry changed the proceedings. The safety car was deployed and the race director decided to close the pit. Mercedes failed to recognize it and called Hamilton in to give him fresh tyres. He was handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty which then led to a thriller of a race.

Fastest on hards – Despite completing the second half of the race on the hard compound, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap in the 53-lap Italian Grand Prix. On his march back to the sharp end of the field following his stop-and-go penalty, the Briton unleashed the W11’s real potential and clocked in a time of 1m22.746 to secure the additional point for the fastest race lap. Carlos Sainz set the second fastest race lap, but his lap time was 1.136s off Hamilton’s fastest lap despite being on the medium compound.

Without top teams - For the first time since the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix, the podium did not feature a single driver from Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari. For the fabled Italian outfit, it marked a dreadful weekend with both Ferraris failing to finish on home soil for the first time since 1995.

Reprimand again – Racing Point’s werid season continued at the Italian Grand Prix. Although Ferrari, Renault and McLaren have all withdrawn their appeal against the ruling in the Racing Point’s rear brake duct case, the team was once again reprimanded after the race at Monza. The stewards have decided that the BTW Racing Point F1 Team is „in Breach of Appendix 6 of the 2020 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations”, therefore the team was handed another reprimand for using the Mercedes-inspired rear brake ducts on both Lance Stroll’s and Sergio Perez’s car.

Quick in the pit lane – Although Alfa Romeo has had a rather difficult season with its uncompetitive car and engine, the Hinwil-based outfit scored 25 points in the DHL race for the fastest pit stop. The team changed the used tyres for fresh boots on Antonio Giovinazzi’s car in just 2.43s. Mercedes was not too quick during the pit stops, becoming only the seventh fastest team regarding the tyre change.

Double-scorers – The Italian Grand Prix saw Racing Point, AlphaTauri, McLaren, Mercedes and Renault score points with both their cars. For the Faenza-based team it was not only their first win since Sebastian Vettel’s masterful victory at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, but it also marked the first time this year that they scored points with both their drivers.

Podium finish or nothing – Max Verstappen’s season is drawing a weird pattern this year – the Dutchman either finishes on the podium or he fails to see the chequered flag. After retiring with engine-related problems at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, the 22-year-old finished on the podium in the following six races with last Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix bringing this series to an end.

Podium finishes - Racing Point’s Lance Stroll secured the 2nd career podium of his F1 career. The Canadian race driver scored his first podium finish at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix which was also the last Grand Prix to be red flagged. For Carlos Sainz, his podium finish at Monza became the first ’real’ appearance on the rostrum after earning a podium finish at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix following a post-race penalty for Lewis Hamilton.

The successful French drivers – Pierre Gasly did not only score his maiden F1 victory, but he also achieved something really important milestone for his home country. France had to wait 24 years for an F1 victory for a French driver - Olivier Panis won in Monaco in 1996 when only three cars finished the wet race. French drivers have scored 80 victories in total at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Bravo, McLaren – For the very first time this season, it was not the Mercedes team to secure the highest point score at a race. The Anglo-German team that is utterly dominating yet another season left the fabulous Monza with scoring 17 championship points while McLaren added 30 units to its tally thanks to a second and a fourth-place finish for Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris. Interestingly, the Italian round has become the race where the lowest number of teams managed to score points – Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams, Haas, Alfa Romeo all failed to secure a single point at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

Still comfortable – Despite losing out because of the stop-and-go penalty, Lewis Hamilton is comfortably leading the Drivers’ Championship. The Briton has scored 164 points so far which puts him 47 points clear of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Third on this list is Max Verstappen who has collected 110 points so far. Kimi Räikkönen, Romain Grosjean, Nicholas Latifi and George Russell are the only drivers who are yet to score points in 2020.