Max Verstappen, King of Monza in slow motion. In a late race neutralized by the retirement of Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), the Dutchman rode the last six laps of the Italian Grand Prix behind the safety car on Sunday afternoon. The reigning world champion beat poleman Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), who hoped for a second victory under the eyes of the tifosi until the last moments. George Russell (Mercedes) takes the last place on the podium.
The Italian event deserved another end, but the joint efforts of the marshals and the race direction were not enough. In Monza, on Scuderia land, Max Verstappen (Red Bull) took his 11th victory of the season, the 5th in a row.
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The Inno di Mameli and the Monegasque anthem did not resonate in the Temple of Speed as in 2019. The prancing horse team, which celebrated its 75th anniversary with a yellow combination – color of Modena -, had nevertheless left in the lead thanks to the pole position of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari).
A frustrating end
Leclerc withstood the charge of George Russell (Mercedes) at the first corner, while Verstappen (Red Bull), demoted to 7th place by a penalty, was already P3 after two laps. The Monegasque and the Dutchman had bet on two very distinct aerodynamic configurations: an unloaded rear wing to maximize top speed for the first, a little more downforce for the second. Unfortunately, they were unable to fight on the track, since the deployment of the virtual safety car following the retirement of Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) precipitated the strategy of the Reds (and yellow).
Leclerc (Ferrari) was called up on lap 12 for Mediums and his pit stop, if he was good (2″2), condemned him to a second pit stop. Verstappen (Red Bull), leader, is returned 14 laps further, also for Mediums which he hoped to carry to the end. The gap between the two rivals was 17 seconds and the Dutchman was heading for another authoritarian success. Except that a safety car, real this time, thwarted his plans and those of the Austrian team.
Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) stopped on the track on the 47th lap, the Dutchman and the Monegasque put on Tenders to cover the last laps. Without suspecting the length of the marshals’ intervention to clear the single-seater of the “Honey Badger” The track was declared clear a few hectometres from the start of the final loop, but it remained for the latecomers to regain their position. This situation has deprived the tifosi of a new battle between the two contenders for the world crown.
Verstappen heading for the title, good operation for McLaren
In 2022, there will be only one Charles knighted. The Ferrari driver delayed the coronation of Verstappen, who still took a step towards a second title in a row. Third, George Russell (Mercedes) followed the action from afar, he who would have signed for this performance. The Briton continues his series in the Top 5 (he has only had one abandonment this season).
Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) made a solid comeback from 18th to 4th place. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) followed him. Also condemned to the back of the grid after changing his power unit, the seven-time world champion reached 5th place.
Note the excellent operation of Nyck de Vries (Williams). The Dutchman replaced Alexander Albon (appendicitis) before qualifying and finished the race with his first two points in his pocket (P9), far ahead of his experienced F1 teammate, Nicholas Latifi (Williams, P15).
Alpine and McLaren, battling for 4th place in the Constructors’ category, each had one retirement (Fernando Alonso and Ricciardo). But the British team, unlike the Habs, placed Lando Norris in seventh place, while Esteban Ocon crossed the finish line at the points gate.
Alpine remains 18 units ahead of McLaren (125 to 107), in a championship dominated by Red Bull (544). Leclerc (Ferrari), he has a disbursement of 116 points on Verstappen (Red Bull) with six races to go. There is a scenario that would give the Dutchman his second title at the Singapore Grand Prix, in two weeks: he will have to win with the point for the fastest lap and see the Monegasque finish 8th.
Even though Ferrari lost to Max Verstappen, fans celebrated Charles Leclerc’s 2nd place at Monza
Credit: Getty Images
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