Max Verstappen breaks the record for most consecutive wins as he claims victory at the Italian Grand Prix, making it ten wins on the bounce.
There was drama on the formation lap as Yuki Tsunoda’s Alpha Tauri suffered a mechanical problem. This ended his race before it even started, with the race itself having been delayed by 20 minutes as a result of the issue.
Once the race started, Carlos Sainz managed to get a good enough start to hold off Max Verstappen going into turn 1, staying ahead in first place. Overtaking proved difficult in the early laps, with Verstappen particularly being stuck behind a Ferrari that was slippery in the straights.
Having lost a position on lap 1, Alex Albon was able to regain 6th on the next lap, making a move on Oscar Piastri at the della Roggia chicane.
Verstappen had attempted a move round the outside on lap 6, but had been denied by Sainz’s robust defence. His teammate was similarly having trouble overtaking George Russell, as he was able to stay close, but was just unable to get a good enough run into turn 1.
Russell and Perez had a close call on lap 14, with both drivers braking too late at turn 1 and had to cut the corner. Whilst Perez had overtaken as a result, he was made to give the position back in case he would be penalised.
Sainz had been defending from Verstappen almost every lap, but the pressure from the reigning world champion proved to be too much on lap 15, as the Spaniard would lock up slightly into turn 1, allowing Verstappen to place his car well and get a good run on the exit, ultimately completing the move at the della Roggia chicane, taking the lead of the race and flying off into the distance.
It was only one lap later that Perez would finally find himself getting past Russell, and he could now chase down the Ferrari’s for second.
Sainz’s lock up meant that he had flat spotted his tyre, causing a decent performance loss. Although Leclerc appeared to be the faster driver towards the end of the first stint, Ferrari opted not to swap the cars round.
By the time the pit window for the front runners had opened, Perez had gotten onto the tail of the Ferrari cars. Sainz would be the first to pit, though he would come out behind Bottas. Leclerc would be next, unable to get the overcut on his teammate, followed by Perez, who found himself behind Leclerc once again.
The two McLarens slightly came together as Piastri came out of the pit lane, though there was no damage to either car following the minor contact.
Perez would eventually clear his first Ferrari on lap 32, managing to get enough straight line speed to overtake Leclerc into turn 1. His sights were now on Sainz, though just like for Verstappen before him, overtaking the Spaniard would be no easy feat.
Further back, Norris had begun to harass Alex Albon for 6th place, with the McLarens possessing more pace at this point in the race. However, Lewis Hamilton found himself quickly joining the battle, having been put on an alternate tyre strategy. First, he would have to get past Piastri, though the two cars came together at the della Roggia chicane. Hamilton’s car was fine, but Piastri was left with front wing damage, killing any hopes for points today. Hamilton would receive a 5 second penalty because of this.
Hamilton would go onto clear Lando Norris on lap 45. With 6 laps left to go, Hamilton would need to overtake Albon quickly and build as much of a gap as possible to secure 6th. Fortunately for him, the overtake would come on lap 47, and he would be over 7 seconds ahead by the end of the race.
Lap 46 would be when Perez finally get past Sainz to complete a Red Bull 1-2. Sainz would find himself now under pressure from his teammate, with Leclerc attempting to take the final podium position multiple times, though Sainz had enough in the tank to keep him at bay. Today’s third place finish is Sainz’s first podium of the season.
With victory in Italy, Max Verstappen becomes the first driver to win 10 grand prix races in a row, breaking the record set by Sebastian Vettel back in 2013. Red Bull also become the first team to win 15 consecutive grand prix with this result. Verstappen’s advantage in the standings has extended to 145 points, and he could potentially win the championship as early as Japan in two races time.
It is now the end of the European leg of the calendar, and F1 will return in two weeks time for the Singapore Grand Prix.