Ferrari didn’t make any blunders in front of the largely supportive public. On the contrary, he did his best to avoid a new victory for Red Bull in the 2022 Formula 1 season. But there was no way around it: Max Verstappen climbed from seventh from the start and went on to win the Italian GP this Sunday (11), at Monza. It is Verstappen’s 11th win in 16 races this season, fifth in a row. The second world championship is very close.
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Already on the track, the advantage to win the race was established and practically consummated with 15 laps to go. But there was the possibility of a little taste of emotion when Daniel Ricciardo stopped the car on the track with problems. The safety car appeared with six laps to go, the top finishers all stopped, but nothing came of it. The race ended with the safety car on the track, offering no chance of a fight for the win.
The end was a bit of an anticlimax, it is undeniable, but it was only the intervention of the safety car that brought some proximity between Verstappen and the others. On the track, the difference was clear: Red Bull is left over at this point in the season.
Leclerc finished in second place, while George Russell was third. Despite the defeat, Ferrari’s sins in Italy were only related to performance compared to Red Bull: for some reason, since Hungary, the balance no longer exists. In the operational part of the race, there was no error. On the contrary, the team acted quickly to call Leclerc to the pits when Sebastian Vettel stopped on the track and caused a speedy VSC. Even so, Max’s performance was too strong and swallowed any possible tactics.
Carlos Sainz went from 18th to fourth and scored well, while Lewis Hamilton went from 19th to fifth. Sergio Pérez, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, debutant Nyck de Vries and Guanyu Zhou scored. Pérez still had the best lap.
Formula 1 thus comes to the end of the European part of the 2022 season. The championship continues in three weeks, between the 30th of September and the 2nd of October, straight from Marina Bay, with the Singapore GP.
Check out how the Italian GP went:
A sunny day in Monza for the start of the Italian GP. The ambient temperature was 27°C, but with the sun reigning in the open sky, the asphalt reached 43°C. Charles Leclerc was the pole of a grid that was greatly modified due to the many weekend punishments. Max Verstappen, for example, was only seventh.
George Russell completed the front row next to the Ferrari driver, while Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso appeared before the Worlds leader. Behind him, newcomer Nyck de Vries — replacing Alex Albon, out because of appendicitis —, Guanyu Zhou and Nicholas Latifi completed the top-10. Sergio Pérez was 13th, while Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton were 18th and 19th, respectively.
The two front row riders decided to start with new soft tyres. Like them, Verstappen and De Vries, in the top-10, and Esteban Ocon, also penalized, in 14th. Otherwise, all with medium tires.
Leclerc and Russell started very well. The Mercedes driver tried to dive but was stopped by the defense of car #16. Russell still complained, said he was pushed off the track, something the image belies.
Norris, on the other hand, started slowly and fell behind Ricciardo, Gasly and Alonso, as well as Verstappen. In fact, for Max, things started out that way. In the first meters, he was already in fourth place. Right at the beginning of the second lap, he passed Ricciardo and took third place. Norris turned back on Alonso and regained one of the positions he lost.
Among the out-of-position cars at the back of the field, Sainz was the only one to start well. Pérez lost position to Ocon, while Hamilton followed in 19th. On the second lap, Sainz and Pérez found themselves on the track despite having started with a difference of five positions. And Carlos got the better of it.
In the middle of the cake, Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher touched and were lucky to get out without major problems. Sainz continued to climb: quickly after taking Pérez out of the way, he was already in tenth place. Verstappen, unlike his teammate, attacked more and overtook Russell on lap four. It was already in second place.
With many difficulties in the race, Pérez stopped in the pits at the end of lap seven and changed the medium tires to hard ones after smoke came out of the wheel, apparently overheating the brakes. When leaving the pit lane, however, the smoke was still there. Concern at Red Bull.
Sainz flew. Zhou, De Vries and Alonso were easy victims and closed the tenth lap already in seventh place. Norris was just ahead and would be next before the end of lap 11. While the situation with Sainz was exciting, the team was talking to Leclerc about strategy. “If Verstappen goes to plan C, we go to our plan B, okay?” asked the team. Leclerc said yes.
The first serious problem came at turn 12 of 53. Sebastian Vettel warned that he was losing power, and was told by Aston Martin that it was better to stop the car in a section of the track where it was safe. End of race for the four-time world champion and virtual safety car on the track.
Thus, Ferrari acted quickly and called Leclerc to the pits to change the soft tires for medium ones. No one else stopped at that window, not least because the flag was green at the end of the race leader’s pit-stop. Was it a hit? The rest of the race would show.
Anyway, Leclerc came back with space ahead to accelerate. He was in third, with Ricciardo and Sainz clinging to him. At first, with cold tires, he was even threatened by the Australian, but quickly avoided any danger. Sainz took advantage and took the other McLaren out of the way to take fourth place.
In 16th place, Kevin Magnussen was placed under investigation and later punished for taking advantage by going off track. If the race was bad for Haas before… McLaren had problems too. Norris struggled against the car and momentarily left the track, making way for Alonso to take seventh place. Ricciardo was another who found himself under intense threat from Gasly: the two began to exchange positions.
Pérez had been the first driver to test the hard tires in the race, so eyes were on him to strategize for the remainder of the race. And the response was quite good, as it had been in Holland: the Mexican was in tune with Sainz and was already in the field after the difficulties at the beginning of the race. Nicholas Latifi also decided to put the tough ones on. In the following laps, Ricciardo, Gasly, Zhou, Ocon and limited company would do the same.
The transmission turned to a technical conversation between Leclerc and Ferrari. The team asked something about changing the engine on corner exits, while the pilot replied that he couldn’t do it and asked for an engine investigation. As nothing happened in sequence, everything seemed reasonable.
Already past the 20th lap, rookie De Vries received a black and white flag to indicate that he was violating the limits of the track. If he continued, he would be punished. It was at the end of the 23rd lap that Russell decided to stop in the pits. The gap between Verstappen and Leclerc was around 16s, and the Dutchman had to stop at some point close by.
Although Russell put on hard tyres, Verstappen came in at the end of lap 25 and bet on the same mediums as Leclerc. He was 10s behind Leclerc, who managed to extend the lead well with the pit-stop game. Now, however, he would have to see if it was possible to hold the Dutchman with the newest tires on the track.
Among the top ten at that time, Sainz, Norris, Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher and Bottas had not yet stopped. The design of the dot zone would still change a lot. Hamilton still did his thing and passed Alonso to take fifth place at the moment using the mobile wing.
On the first lap of warm new tires, Verstappen ran in 1min25s1, while Leclerc turned 1min25s6. As the distance was considerable, Max would not arrive immediately, but he already made it clear that he would sweep the advantage over the next few laps barring one new fact. F1’s projection was that Verstappen would overtake Leclerc on lap 40 of 53. But the Dutchman turned in 1min24s7: 0s9 better than Charles on the 30th lap.
Sainz’s stop came on lap 31. The Spaniard came back in eighth place, albeit behind Alonso, Hamilton and Norris, who still had to pit. He put on soft tires, though. Who had done well. it turned out to be Pérez. He was sixth and would move up to fifth when Norris and Hamilton stopped. It was obvious that anyone who hadn’t stopped would put on soft tires when they went to the pits.
Alonso’s run ended shortly thereafter. On the day he equaled Kimi Räikkönen as the driver with the most GPs in F1 history, with 349, he had to park in the garage at Alpine’s request. Some problem with car #14.
On lap 33, Ferrari warned that they would go to plan C. A few moments later, to try to save the race, Leclerc stopped in the pits and put on another set of soft tires. He had 20s to take if he wanted to capture Verstappen and win.
Hamilton had pitted one lap before Leclerc, while Norris came in two later. With everyone stopped and Sainz after another easy pass against Pérez, Verstappen was in the lead and had Leclerc, Russell and Sainz in the top four positions. Pérez was fifth, with Hamilton having made five passes in four laps and now sixth. Ricciardo. Norris, Gasly and De Vries closed the points zone.
Keeping an eye, then, on Leclerc’s first lap with the new tyres. In fact, he set the best lap of the race so far, 1min24s510, but only 0s3 better than Verstappen. It would have to be more than that to win the race.
The race design was set after 45 laps: Leclerc would not be able to catch up with Verstappen. But there was a fight for points, as Zhou attacked De Vries to try for tenth place. When it looked like the Chinese would overtake, Verstappen appeared, catching the two as laggards.
There, a factor that changed the complexity of the last laps. Ricciardo had problems in what was a good points race and stopped the car on the track with McLaren’s consent. With six laps to go, safety car on track.
Verstappen and Leclerc went straight from the pits, but whoever was following stopped and put on soft tyres. For Sainz, zero softs, while Russell, for example, used used softs. A lap later, Verstappen and Leclerc also stopped for used softs.
But would there be a restart? For a few minutes, suspense over a possible red flag to offer the chance of at least two final green flag laps, but it didn’t happen. On the 52nd lap, the warning that the race would end with the safety car on the track. Thus, Verstappen’s victory without any additional emotion.
Formula 1 2022, Italian GP, Monza:
|1||M VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull Honda||53 laps|
|6||S PEREZ||Red Bull Honda||+6,091|
|7||L NORRIS||McLaren Mercedes||+6,207|
|8||P GASLY||AlphaTauri Honda||+6,396|
|9||NUMBER OF VRIES||Williams Mercedes||+7,122|
|10||G ZHOU||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||+7,910|
|12||M SCHUMACHER||Haas Ferrari||+8,549|
|13||V BOOTS||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||+1 lap|
|14||Y TSUNODA||AlphaTauri Honda||+1 lap|
|15||N LATIFI||Williams Mercedes||+1 lap|
|16||K MAGNUSEN||Haas Ferrari||+1 lap|
|18||L STROL||Aston Martin Mercedes||NC|
|20||S VETTEL||Aston Martin Mercedes||NC|
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