Formula 1

Verstappen takes his first-ever Italian Grand Prix win behind the Safety Car as Leclerc has to settle for P2

Max Verstappen won the 2022 Italian Grand Prix under the Safety Car, with pole-sitter Charles Leclerc finishing runner-up as Red Bull denied Ferrari a home victory at Monza.

After the paddock paid their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, the mixed-up grid lined up behind Leclerc and fellow front-row starter George Russell in the Mercedes, both eschewing the general consensus of medium tyres to begin on new softs along with Verstappen, Williams’ debutant Nyck de Vries, and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

From P7 on the grid, Verstappen made it into the top three by Lap 4 and took P2 off Russell a lap later. The Dutchman then led as, during a Virtual Safety Car (for Sebastian Vettel’s DNF on Lap 12), Leclerc pitted from softs to mediums.

Verstappen extended his first stint and swapped for mediums on Lap 26, relinquishing the lead back to Leclerc, who then pitted a second time for soft tyres on Lap 33. The Monegasque driver had a tyre advantage over Verstappen, but a 20-second deficit to claw back by Lap 53. The Dutchman seemed assured of a comfortable victory until a Safety Car on Lap 48, for the stationary McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo. That allowed the top five to pit for softs anticipating a restart.

Ricciardo’s car seemed immovable, however, and the ticker reached Lap 53 and the chequered flag with the field behind the Safety Car – giving Verstappen a slim but altogether comfortable victory over Leclerc and allowing Russell to retain the final podium place.

FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2022

Race results

POSITION TIME POINTS
1  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:20:27.511 25
2  Charles LECLERC Ferrari +2.446s 18
3  George RUSSELL Mercedes +3.405s 15
4  Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +5.061s 12
5  Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +5.380s 10

From P18, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz made it to the podium spots with a lengthy first stint on medium tyres, but fell to P4 after pitting, and ended up behind Russell. Lewis Hamilton declined to pit under the late Safety Car and finished fifth for Mercedes ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who pitted early for hard tyres and ended up settling for sixth and fastest lap, having started 13th.

Lando Norris finished seventh for McLaren, having started on the second row, with Pierre Gasly taking eighth for AlphaTauri. That left Williams’ Nyck de Vries ninth for Williams on his first-ever Grand Prix appearance, the Dutchman also taking Driver of the Day honours.

Rounding out the top 10 was Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, with Ocon missing out on points. Mick Schumacher made late gains for P12 for Haas ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo, with Yuki Tsunoda finishing 14th having pitted under caution in the AlphaTauri. Nicholas Latifi lagged on hard tyres and finished 15th for Williams ahead of Kevin Magnussen, who picked up a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage on Lap 1 in the Haas.

Ricciardo retired late on to bring out the Safety Car, while both Aston Martins – Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel – failed to finish the race with suspected power unit issues. Fernando Alonso also retired, ending a run of points scores for the Alpine driver.

Categories: Formula 1, Race Recap

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