Formula 1

Charles Leclerc holds off Mercedes to win in Monza

Credit: Ferrari

Charles Leclerc put in a brilliant drive to hold off both Mercedes drivers to win the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Leclerc lead away from the start and withstood heavy pressure from Lewis Hamilton in the early stages, having better straight line speed down Monza’s long straights.

Mercedes tried to over-cut Leclerc to get the lead, pitting Hamilton on lap 19 to put on the medium compound, but Leclerc changed tyres a lap later, switching to the hard compound and just about managed to stay ahead.

Hamilton used his soft tyre to close down the Ferrari driver and made a move to pass him on lap 21, but Leclerc left Hamilton with nowhere to go at the second chicane and the Mercedes driver was forced to take the escape road.

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Leclerc was given the black and white flag for that move and Hamilton was never able to get sloe enough again, eventually locking up at Turn 1 on lap 42, allowing Valtteri Bottas to overtake him for second place.

Bottas appeared to have more pace than Leclerc and closed in on the 21-year-old, but made a mistake at Turn 1 with three laps to go, allowing Leclerc to maintain a gap and win the race.

Hamilton crossed the line third and took a late pit-stop to put on the soft tyre to claim the fastest lap of the race on lap 52.

Daniel Ricciardo had a strong race claiming his first top five finish since his move to Renault, crossing the line in fourth, while his teammate Nico Hulkenberg was behind in fifth.

Alex Albon was next to finish in sixth while Racing Point driver Sergio Perez but in a stellar drive finishing seventh having started 18th.

Max Verstappen was next to finish having started at the back of the field. The Dutch driver had to pit at the end of lap 1 after breaking his front wing at the first corner, while Antonio Giovinazzi and Lando Norris rounded out the top ten.

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Sebastian Vettel had a nightmare of a race compared to his Ferrari teammate. He spun at the Ascari chicane on lap six and hit Lance Stroll whilst returning to the circuit.

That incident caused Stroll to spin, and he forced Pierre Gasly on to the grass as he tried to rejoin the track.

Vettel was given a 10 second stop-go penalty as a result of his actions, while Stroll was given a drive through penalty, as no contact was made with Gasly.

Gasly ended up finishing 11th, while Stroll and Vettel were 12th and 13th respectively.

George Russell was 14th for Williams ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean and Robert Kubica.

Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat both retired with mechanical issues while Carlos Sainz failed to finish for the second race running as he left his pit stop without his  right front wheel connected properly.

 

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