Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has extended his title lead with victory at 2022 Italian Grand Prix.
Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc made a clean start but pitted under the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) at end of Lap 12 – as Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel stopped with a power unit failure, whilst Verstappen stayed out on an one-stop strategy unlike Leclerc and made his stop at end of Lap 25.
Leclerc again pitted on Lap 34 which gave Verstappen the lead to the checkered flag albeit under a Safety Car finish, after McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo stopped in-between the two Lesmo curves with a gearbox failure.
Mercedes’ George Russell finished third ahead of Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton who recovered from 18th and 19th to finish fourth and fifth, ahead of Sergio Perez, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly.
Nyck De Vries on his F1 race debut finished ninth for Williams ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou who rounded out the top ten.
In the driver standings, Verstappen extended his title lead over Leclerc to 116 points, which means that he could win the title in Singapore in three weeks time if results go in his favour.
At lights out, Leclerc made a clean start to lead Russell as Norris hit antistall and slipped to seventh as Ricciardo claimed third, ahead of; Gasly, Verstappen and Fernando Alonso, although Norris quickly demoted Alonso to seventh on the Spaniard’s record-equalling 349th race start.
Verstappen however just ahead was on a charge as he swept past Gasly at Ascari for fourth on the opening lap, then quickly cleared Ricciardo at the start of the second lap followed by Russell on Lap 5 whilst Sainz improved to 11th by the end of that lap.
Up front, Leclerc fended off Verstappen’s charge until Vettel stopped on the exit of the second Lesmo Curve on Lap 12 with an Energy Recovery System failure within his power unit, which triggered a VSC under which Leclerc stopped but the VSC was withdrawn during his stop.
Verstappen thereafter cruised unchallenged until he pitted on Lap 26 which dropped him behind Leclerc.
Hamilton meanwhile slowly eased himself up the order to 11th by the end of Lap 17, whilst Perez – who started 13th – had pitted for hard tyres at end of Lap 7.
Sainz though was able to comfortably carve his way through the field to third at time of his stop at end of Lap 30 for soft tyres, which dropped him down to eighth but Alonso retired at the end of Lap 31 with a water pressure failure, due to a leak in the Spaniard’s Alpine.
Norris meanwhile was the last of the top-three grid starters to pit as the Brit stopped on Lap 36 but a slow rear change cost him position as he re-joined behind Ricciardo and Gasly in eighth, although he and Gasly were quickly cleared by Hamilton who had stopped two laps earlier.
Hamilton then cleared Ricciardo a lap later with Norris following suit a further lap later after he had cleared Gasly.
Up front, Leclerc made his second stop on Lap 34 for the soft tyre but Verstappen kept the Monegasque at bay to break the hearts of Ferrari fans at their home race, albeit aided by a Safety Car deployment on Lap 48 due to Ricciardo stopping between the two Lesmo Curves with a gearbox issue.
Verstappen consequently proceeded to win the race under the Safety Car much to furore of the Tifosi crowd who booed loudly during the closing two laps, with the Dutchman now holding a mathematical chance of sealing his second title in Singapore on Sunday 2 October.
Verstappen’s victory also marked Red Bull’s first podium at Italian Grand Prix since 2013 when Vettel won and Mark Webber finished third.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||53||1h 20m 27.511|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||53||+ 2.446|
|3||George Russell||Mercedes||53||+ 3.405|
|4||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||53||+ 5.061|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||53||+ 5.380|
|6||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||53||+ 6.091|
|7||Lando Norris||McLaren||53||+ 6.207|
|8||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||53||+ 6.396|
|9||Nyck De Vries||Williams||53||+ 7.122|
|10||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||53||+ 7.910|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||53||+ 8.323|
|12||Mick Schuamcher||Haas||53||+ 8.549|
|13||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||52||+ 1 Lap|
|14||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||52||+ 1 Lap|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||52||+ 1 Lap|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||52||+ 1 Lap|
|RET||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||39||Power|
|RET||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||10||Power|