Italian GP Report - Pierre Gasly takes maiden F1 win

Frenchman Pierre Gasly took his maiden Formula One win at round 8 in Monza, as he capitalized on the issues faced by the leading pack. The McLaren of Carlos Sainz managed to secure the second spot, finishing within a second of Gasly, with Canadian Lance Stroll taking the final position on the podium for Racing Point.

Early Stages 

Coming into Sunday it was clear that, as per usual, the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were going to carry an advantage. In the early stages of the race this looked to be the case, at least with Hamilton. However Bottas got a poor start that saw Sainz, Lando Norris and Sergio Perez all pass the Finn within the first half of the lap.

Another man who got a poor start was the Red Bull of Alex Albon who found himself off the track at the first turn, adding to his misery as of late. However after the early drama it did turn into a bit of a procession.

This was until some drama for the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, as the German tried to defend from the Williams of George Russell going into the first turn, his breaks failed, sending him into the polystyrene boards, seeing him later retire from the race.

Crashes and safety cars

The next real piece of action was Kevin Magnussen in the Haas pulling over to one side on lap 20. The Dane pulled the car over on the entry to the pit straight. This sparked the pitstops that would shape the entire race, with Gasly and others at the top end of the grid changing tires. Shortly after the yellow flags came out, the safety car was sent to the track, which would impact the race massively.

As it turns out, Hamilton entered the pitlane whilst the pitlane was closed, due to stewards being active near the entry. This resulted in Hamilton being hit with ten second stop go penalty, that would ultimately kill off his race. Hamilton wasn't the only one to be caught out, as Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo was also caught out.

Not too long after the initial safety car returned to the pitlane, it was back out again, this time for the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque driver had a heavy, head on impact into the tyre wall at Parabolica. He had a twitch of oversteer that once he had corrected himself, he had already found the barrier, leaving both Ferrari cars out of their home race. 

As a result of the heavy impact, the race was red flagged, in  order to allow the stewards to repair the damage to the tyre wall.


Later Stages 

What really cost Hamilton was having to take the penalty following the red flag restart, as the pack was much closer together than previously. The Brit would find himself towards the back of the pack, coming out in dead last by quite some way.

The next casualty of the Grand Prix was the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who bowed of the GP on lap 33. Consequently this left just Bottas of the 'top six' on track, with the Mercedes driver running in sixth place.

In the remaining 13 laps, it was a battle of the top five, with the margins closing and opening all the time. One of the key battles was between Bottas and Norris, with the gap being less than a second. Whilst Lando was keeping the Finn at bay, Gasly was doing the same to Norris's teammate Sainz, who was pilling the pressure on the Frenchman.

Meanwhile, further back in the pack, Hamilton was making moves, having overtaken Kimi Raikonnen to gain tenth place, however he found it hard to make further passes due to the gap that had formed up ahead.

Ultimately it was Gasly's day, having got into the position he was in by the tactical move of his team, and being able to maintain it due to a sensational, defensive performance. It was his best result to date in Formula One, and a result that will have Alpha Tauri in extremely high spirits.