F1: Gasly Claims Maiden Victory In Phenomenal Italian Grand Prix

Pierre Gasly embracing his AlphaTauri mechanics after taking France's first F1 win since 1996. Image sourced from @AlphaTauriF1 via Twitter.

Gasly Wins, As Sainz & Stroll Take Podiums In Red Flagged Italian GP.

David Beats Goliath

Pierre Gasly clinched a shock maiden victory over Carlos Sainz Jr. in a race for the ages at Monza.

Making AlphaTauri the first team to slay the ‘Three Headed Dragon’ in over seven years.

A performance which also saw the Italian outfit take their first victory since Sebastian Vettel’s at Monza in 2008.

Gasly: “Honestly, it’s unbelievable, I’m not sure I’m realising what’s happening right now, it was such a crazy race.”

“I’ve been through so much in the space of 18 months, my first podium last year and now the win in Monza.”

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly soaking in the emotions after his maiden Formula One victory at Monza. Image sourced from XBP Images.

“I have no words. This team have done so much for me, they gave me my first opportunity in F1, they gave me my first podium, and now my first win. I can’t thank them enough.”

Monza Magic

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. crossed the line less than half a second behind Gasly in a tantalisingly close finish.

Sainz: “I’m halfway disappointed with second. We couldn’t imagine being able to fight for first.”

“But really we’re happy overall. I have felt all weekend that I could have dominated the midfield.”

Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. on the podium after claiming a second career podium at the Italian Grand Prix. Image sourced from @PirelliSport via Twitter.

Following Sainz was Lance Stroll who came home in third for Racing Point.

Off The Line

Mercedes’Lewis Hamilton retained his lead off the line as team-mate Valtteri Bottas dropped to sixth.

Initially Bottas feared he was suffering with a puncture, but the team confirmed to tge Finn his “tyre pressures” were good.

Bottas then began pulling off of the racing line on the straights, in a bid to manage his engine temperature.

Sebastian Vettel’s weekend ended on a low as his SF1000 suffered a brake failure on early in the GP. Ultimately forcing the German out of the Scuderia’s home race.

Sebastian Vettel crushing through the foam blocks at T1 after a rear brake failure during the teams first home grand prix of 2020. Image sourced from XBP Images.

Vettel: “It’s poor where we are, for our home race. I think it’s probably a blessing that there is nobody on the stands.”

“We have to keep our heads up, even if it is difficult. Next we head to Mugello, a completely different track and maybe there we could be in a bit of a better place.”

Twist Of Fate

The order remained stagnant for much of the opening half, but a retirement from Haas’ Kevin Magnussen ensued, causing a huge mix-up.

Pierre Gasly who pitted just a lap before was promoted into the top positions after the teams strategy call.

Due to the location of Magnussen’s Haas outside the pit entry, the FIA opted to deploy a full ‘Safety Car’.

In sequence with this, the pitlane was also closed as a result.

However, Lewis Hamilton and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi still entered the pit-lane to change tyres despite this.

Warranting an investigation on both by the stewards as a result.

Once the Haas was cleared, the pit-lane was re-opened, when the majority of the grid came in for their mandatory stops.

Those who didn’t pit were Nicholas Latifi, Kimi Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, Leclerc and Stroll all moved up.

A Fly In The Ointment

As racing resumed, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, now in fourth, suffered a spectacular crash at the exit of Parabolica.

Which subsequently lead to a ‘Red Flag’, to allow track side marshals to repair the damaged tyre barrier.

Leclerc: “A bit pain here and there but overall I am okay.”

“I have lost the rear, it was simply my mistake. Before that it was definitely not an easy race, very difficult if anything.” D

During the intermission, it was revealed both Hamilton & Giovinazzi would serve a ’10 Second Stop-Go Penalty’ for their earlier infringements under the first ‘Safety Car’.

Red Bull’s Alexander Albon was also hit with a penalty during the interval as a result of an incident with Haas’ Romain Grosjean earlier in the race.

Déjà Vu

Once the repairs were completed, the FIA announced the race would restart at 16:20 local time.

After a formation lap behind the safety car, the drivers endured their second standing start of the grand prix.

Lance Stroll took advantage of the Red Flag to take a free mandatory pit-stop ahead of the restart in North Milan. Image sourced from @RacingPointF1 via Twitter.

Hamilton led away, while Lance Stroll lost second to Gasly off the line.

Mercedes & Hamilton opted to take the penalty on the proceeding lap, with the Brit falling to last as a result, thirty seconds behind Albon’s Red Bull in sixteenth.

Both Alfa Romeo cars ran in 2-3 briefly, before Giovinazzi also came in to serve his penalty.

Räikkönen would eventually drop out of the points after losing third to Stroll who recovered back to the podium places.

Soon after Carlos Sainz Jr. also overtook Räikkönen, beginning his chasedown on Gasly in first.

As Kimi’s team-mate Giovinazzi finished last, unable to recover from his penalty.

Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris came home in fourth in the other McLaren.

Damage Limitation

In fifth was Valtteri Bottas, with the Finn holding off Renault’s Daniel Riccardo despite suffering with cooling issues.

Bottas: “Every time I got close to another car, I had to back off due to the overheating or look for clean air on the straights, which meant I couldn’t get the tow.”

“It felt a bit better after the red flag and towards the end of the race, but there’s lots of things for us to review and understand.”

The ‘Honey Badger’ crossed the line in sixth for the Enstone based squad which will be rebranded as ‘Alpine F1’ for 2021.

Hamilton clawed his way back to seventh place in his ‘Black Arrow’ W11.

Hamilton: “My race wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t see the boards saying the pit lane was closed because I was following the safety car delta on my dash, so I take responsibility for that and it’s something that we’ll investigate and learn from.”

Red Bull were forced to call Max Verstappen in to retire due to an engine issue late on.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen sitting in his RB16 during the Red Flag intermission in Monza. Image sourced from @RedBullRacing via Twitter.

Both team and driver rued what could have been a huge capitalisation on Mercedes’ misfortunes in Monza.

Verstappen: “I think pretty much everything that could go wrong today did go wrong.”

Horner: “Certainly not our finest weekend but we will re-convene and work hard to ensure that we are back where we belong next weekend in Muggello.”

Renault’s Esteban Ocon was eight, Kvyat in the sister AlphaTauri in ninth position.

With Racing Points’ Sergio Perez securing the final point in tenth.

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