Pierre Gasly won an action-packed 2020 Italian GP as Monza churned out one of the most memorable F1 races in recent history. With this, the French driver has secured his maiden F1 win and AlfaTauri’s second win in the sport, 12 years after Sebastian Vettel handed the team – then competing as Toro Rosso – their first victory at the same venue.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll completed an unexpected podium after a 10-secs stop and go penalty for early leader Lewis Hamilton threw the race wide open.
- Pierre Gasly clinches his maiden F1 win
- Hamilton recovers from 10-sec stop and go penalty to finish 7th
- Both Ferraris retire on home ground
Why was Hamilton handed a penalty at the Italian GP?
It initially seemed like Hamilton was well on his way to secure his 90th career win. His Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas’ poor start allowed the McLaren duo of Sainz and Lando Norris to climb to 2nd and 3rd. And this only helped Hamilton pull away at the front.
However, the race was turned on its head when the safety car was brought out as marshalls recovered Kevin Magnussen’s Haas. The location of the stricken Haas meant that the pit lane had to be closed. But Mercedes and Alfa Romeo seemed to miss out on this, with Hamilton and Antonio Giovinazzi both diving into the pits for fresh tyres.
Just moments later the race was red flagged after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc suffered a massive crash at Parabolica. While the grid waited for the race to re-start, the stewards handed Hamilton and Giovinazzi a 10-secs stop and go penalty for their pit lane transgressions, which translated to roughly a 30-secs loss at Monza.
Hamilton served his penalty after the race re-started on lap 28 and it dropped him all the way down to last place.
Gasly’s landmark victory
Hamilton’s penalty, Bottas’ cooling problems and Max Verstappen’s subsequent retirement due to a power unit issue left the race with a rather unexpected leading pack. Gasly had done well to overtake Stroll at the re-start and he now found himself in the lead ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sainz.
Sainz overtook Raikkonen on lap 34 and then set about trying to catch Gasly. At one point his race engineer reminded him to avoid making any errors as 2nd place was yet a major result. But Sainz replied with a steadfast “I want this win”.
The race went right down to the wire as Sainz eventually closed up to the back of Gasly’s AlphaTauri. But he ran out of time and had to settle for 2nd place. Gasly ended up crossing the line 0.415 secs ahead – some much-needed redemption for the French driver, 13 months after he was dropped by Red Bull. Stroll secured his second career podium with a 3rd place finish.
Interestingly, this was the first time since the 2013 Australian GP that not a single driver from Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari stood on the top step of the podium. “Honestly, it’s unbelievable. I’m not realising what’s happening right now. It was such a crazy race, and then we capitalised on the red flag,” a shocked Gasly said after the race.
"I’ve been through so much in the space of 18 months, my first podium last year, I was already like ‘wow’ with AlphaTauri. And now my first win in Formula 1 in Monza. I have got no words,” he continued.
Norris comfortably held off Bottas to take 5th place and secure another strong result for McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo raced to 6th place, while Hamilton recovered from his penalty to finish 7th. Esteban Ocon, Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.
Disastrous home race for Ferrari
Following a disappointing Belgian GP, where Ferrari failed to score a single point, things only got worse for the Italian squad on home ground.
Sebastian Vettel could only qualify down in 17th and retired early on with a brake failure. Leclerc, meanwhile, lost the rear of his car and crashed into the outside wall at Parabolica. Speaking after his race ended prematurely, Vettel even said that it was “a blessing” that there were no fans at Monza.
“Tough times are part of life and part of sports but at the moment I think it’s not fair to all the guys that put so much effort in, that we are that bad. But on the other hand it’s a testimony of where we stand and it’s poor obviously where we are, especially here for our home race – I think it’s probably a blessing that there’s nobody in the stands,” he said.
What does the F1 2020 drivers’ championship look like?
Hamilton yet has a firm grip on the top of the standings with a total of 164 points. Verstappen’s retirement has pushed Bottas to 2nd place overall, 47 points behind his team mate. Meanwhile Verstappen now stands 3rd, seven points adrift.
F1 will now head to Mugello next week for the inaugural Tuscan GP. This will also mark Ferrari’s 1,000th world championship race, so the team will be hoping to not disappoint.
2020 Italian GP results
Alfa Romeo Racing
Red Bull Racing
Alfa Romeo Racing
Red Bull Racing