Italian Grand Prix – Bonus-malus: Verstappen and De Vries, the Oranje rule the roost of Ferrari

Italian Grand Prix - Bonus-malus: Verstappen and De Vries, the Oranje rule the roost of Ferrari

Rating: 2/5

We tried to believe it. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) quickly seemed on borrowed time against Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and bowed out through pit stops. We will not complain for once about the outrageous effects of the DRS. There were a few overtakes without it but the last six non-racing laps took it all away.

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The winner: Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

We could see him taking the lead after two laps but it took longer than expected, due to the limited effects of the DRS at Monza. Fortunately, finally. Faster on worn “soft” at the end of his first stint than Leclerc on new “medium”, he again gave his rival a lesson in tire handling. “We were better with all the mixtures of tyres”he summarized.

First podium and first victory at Monza, first “5 in a row”, 31st career success “and 126 points ahead of Charles Leclerc in the championship. He can bend everything in Singapore.

The beaten: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

He had not come so close to success since his victory in Austria on July 10. He has nothing to be ashamed of, and everything was perfect with the Reds, who gave him their best pit stop of the year in 2″21, the best in the pitlane itself, excluding Red Bull.

Unfortunately, he didn’t get the boost he was hoping for: when he stopped on lap 12, the virtual safety car regime ceased when he was in the pitlane. Would a free stop have propelled him to victory? No, because he had 41 laps to complete in “medium”.

The fighter: Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

Stuck behind Daniel Ricciardo from the second lap, the Frenchman waited for the Australian to retire to pass, on the 46th lap! A real release that was worth four points, his biggest total since his top 5 in Baku in June.

“I’m going to have nightmares of this rear winghe said on Canal +. It was a race against myself because I tried everything, tried to put as much pressure as possible but he didn’t make a mistake. We were too slow in the parabolic, so I was never close enough to try anything. I think I tried twice at the first corner. As soon as I had the slightest opportunity I tried everything, unfortunately it didn’t happen. I was going crazy in the car. In the end, we had a very good race, we finished behind the three top teams and the McLaren Norris. Given our recent performances at the moment, it’s the best we could hope for.”

Overtaking: The two in one of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Bonus: Nyck de Vries (Williams)

A Dutchman elected “driver of the day” is quite common in 2022. However, receiving this distinction when you start 8th and arrive 9th is something anachronistic. Unless we’re talking about the rookie that Toto Wolff is pushing in (almost) all Mercedes-powered cars this year.

The 2021 Formula E world champion started his weekend in an Aston Martin and finished it in the Williams, which he knew well from having practiced it in Spain. Beyond the pleasure we saw him demonstrating that Nicholas Latifi didn’t have much to do in Formula 1, he burst onto the screen and we have only one desire: to see him in a full-time racing seat in 2023.

Penalty: Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

End of a series of ten points finishes for the Spaniard, due to a water pressure problem. Esteban Ocon at the gate of the points, Alpine yields only 6 McLaren units but keeps 18 points ahead of Woking.

The question: was it necessary to end up under a neutralization regime?

Race direction followed the long and complicated procedures to deal with Daniel Ricciardo’s badly parked McLaren. The safety car was badly positioned when it entered the track, and without that the peloton might have been in order, and rid of its latecomers, when the track was finally declared “free”, on the 52nd lap. But the race direction respected the regulations to the letter by maintaining the neutralization until the end.

The number: 7

Max Verstappen was P7 at the start, and he has won from 7 different grid positions this season.

The statement: Otmar Szafnauer (Team Principal Alpine)

“It’s a shame the race didn’t finish under a green flag. I’m sure it’s possible to find better ways to improve the show when these kinds of scenarios arise.”

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