The Italian Grand Prix sees the end of the European leg of the 2019 Formula 1 season but it was just the beginning of Charles Leclerc’s ascent to the status of Ferrari legend. Not all drivers that came to Monza left in high spirits, however.
We take a look at the winners and losers in Italy…
Charles Leclerc dominated the weekend at Monza, claiming victory on Sunday and delivering Ferrari its first race win on home soil since Fernando Alonso’s victory in 2010.
The Monégasque driver scored Ferrari’s 21st Monza pole and his second in a row and withstood a two-pronged Mercedes attack to win his second race in succession.
Leclerc’s latest win – and Sebastian Vettel’s failure to score any points – sees the guard change, moving him ahead of his teammate in the Drivers’ Championship standings, all while still in his first season at Ferrari and only his second in Formula 1.
A race-long battle with Lewis Hamilton saw the 21-year-old to make errors in his defence for the lead, having forced Hamilton off-track at the second chicane then missed the apex of Turn 1 going over the speed breakers which the stewards allowed.
The podium was surrounded by a sea of tifosi, dressed in red and holding a massive team flag, as they welcomed their newest hero who continues to mark himself out as a future World Champion in the making.
Their year has been one to forget thus far but on the fastest track on the calendar, Renault scored their best result of the season.
Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg locked out the third row of the grid on Saturday, marking the first time both factory cars had qualified in the top-six since the 2007 French Grand Prix.
But rather than getting passed by one of the Red Bulls behind them, the Renaults held their own during the race with Ricciardo coming home a season’s best fourth, 12 seconds and a place ahead of his team mate Hülkenberg.
The Monza result delivered a 22-point haul for the Enstone team and pushed them up into fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings, overtaking Torro Rosso and trailing McLaren by 18 points with seven races remaining.
As the only Italian driver in the Italian Grand Prix, Antonio Giovinazzi delivered another reason for Italian fans to celebrate securing his second points finish of the season in front of his home crowd.
The Alfa Romeo driver (pictured top) gave a faultless performance, running in the top ten throughout the race and crossing the line in ninth to score a career-best result in F1.
Giovinazzi’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen’s race was a stark contrast, however, with the Finn starting last on the grid after his qualifying crash and then incurring a 10-second stop/go penalty for starting the Grand Prix on the wrong tyres.
With Giovinazzi’s two points keeping Alfa Romeo ahead of Haas in the Constructors’ Championship standings, it’s likely this could help his chances of securing a seat for next season.
As the sea of red-clad Ferrari fans celebrated Leclerc’s victory on the pit straight, the #5 driver Sebastian Vettel suffered a dire race after an unforced error saw the German spin himself out of contention early on, ending the race in P13.
In a move that he will want to forget in a hurry, Vettel was running fourth in chase of Mercedes’ Valterri Bottas on Lap 6 when he spun and then clipped Lance Stroll as he tried to rejoin the track, damaging his front wing and collecting a stop/go penalty from the stewards for his actions.
The contact leaves Vettel with nine penalty points, having also blotted his copybook at this year’s Canadian and British Grands Prix. It means that should he incur three more penalty points in any of the next three races in Singapore, Russia or Japan he will earn himself a one-race ban.
Vettel’s hopes for points were all but over, leaving him to eventually come home a lap down in 13th. His teammate’s 25-point haul drops him to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship standings with seven races left in the season.
The result capped a miserable weekend where he was also out-qualified by Leclerc for the seventh consecutive race. The Ferrari momentum, it appears, is greatly captured by Leclerc.
Haas F1 Team
The tough trot for the Haas F1 Team continued with the Italian Grand Prix handing them their tenth points-free race of the season.
Kevin Magnussen showed reasonable pace on Saturday, qualifying twelfth-fastest ahead of his teammate Romain Grosjean in P16. Grid penalties saw Grosjean promoted to thirteenth, but a bump from Pierre Gasly at the start of the race at Turn 1 severed his chances of having the pace to keep up with the pack.
Haas’ day went from bad to worse as Kevin Magnussen was forced to retire with a hydraulic leak.
Having parted ways with their controversial title sponsor Rich Energy, the American team needs to overcome falling a further 8 points behind Alfa Romeo in the battle for eighth in the Constructors’ Championship.
With the promise of much needed points on the cards for Lance Stroll in Monza after qualifying ninth-fastest, the Canadian should have earned his fifth points finish of the season and third in five races.
Unfortunately, that was not to be as while the Racing Point driver was running comfortably in the top ten, he was clipped by a recovering Sebastian Vettel at the Ascari chicane, sending him into a spin.
Then in an effort to rejoin the track he made the same wrong move as Vettel and ruined his race by forcing Torro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly to take avoiding action through the gravel. Stroll was hit with a drive-through penalty and finished out of the points, coming home in P12.
The Formula 1 show now makes it way to the Marina Bay Circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix on 20-22 September.
Images via Alfa Romeo Racing, Haas F1 Team, Renault F1 Team, Scuderia Ferrari
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