Leclerc resists Mercedes pressure to win 2019 Italian GP

    Leclerc scored back-to-back wins after fending off attacks from Bottas and Hamilton at Monza.

    Published On Sep 09, 2019 02:16:00 PM

    4,371 Views

    Charles Leclerc was able to successfully keep the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at bay to win the 2019 Italian GP, handing Ferrari its first win on home soil in nine years. The 21-year-old has now become only the 11th driver to win an F1 race for Ferrari at Monza.

    Coming off the high of scoring his maiden F1 win at the Belgian GP, Leclerc kicked off the Italian GP weekend on a high note, topping the first two practice sessions and then clinching pole position. Despite leading majority of the race, it wasn’t an easy victory for Leclerc – he was unable to really pull away from the Mercedes drivers and lost the support of his teammate Sebastian Vettel early on as the latter spun at the Ascari chicane while running in 4th place and then made contact with Lance Stroll while re-joining the track. Soon after, Stroll made a similar error and forced Pierre Gasly into the gravel. Pitting for a new front wing dropped Vettel to last place and his race went from bad to worse when he was handed a 10 second stop/go penalty for the incident with Stroll, essentially ending his chances of scoring any points. Stroll, on the other hand, received a drive through penalty.

    Out at front, Hamilton went for the undercut, pitting for medium tyres. Leclerc pitted a lap later and emerged just ahead of Hamilton, with Ferrari opting to give him the more durable hard tyres. The two then spent close to 20 laps battling one another – Hamilton attempted a move into the second chicane on lap 23, but Leclerc cut to the right of the track, forcing Hamilton into the run-off. Leclerc then endured a tense moment on lap 36 as he locked up into the first chicane, but he was able to hold on to the lead as Hamilton started struggling on his medium tyres. Meanwhile, the tussle between the two allowed Bottas to catch up on fresh tyres.

    Hamilton closely followed Leclerc for the next few laps, but then he locked up into the first chicane on lap 42, allowing Bottas to move up to 2nd place. Despite being on fresher tyres, Bottas was unable to launch an attack on Leclerc and had to settle for 2nd place as Leclerc crossed the chequered flag to claim his second consecutive victory. Hamilton finished 3rd – a late pit stop allowing him to set the fastest lap and grab an additional point. As a result, he’s only lost two points to his teammate Bottas in the drivers’ standings and yet leads the championship by 63 points.

    Renault enjoyed its best finish of the year so far with Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg finishing 4th and 5th respectively. Alexander Albon finished 6th followed by Sergio Pérez, who benefitted by pitting under the virtual safety car. Max Verstappen endured a difficult race – having started from the back of the grid due to engine penalties, he had to pit on the very first lap after damaging his front wing at the start. He was ultimately able to recover to finish 8th, followed by Antonio Giovinazzi and Lando Norris.

    A total of three drivers retired from the race. Carlos Sainz had to pull over after his front right wheel was not properly attached, while Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen suffered an oil leak and hydraulic issues.

    Results

    POS

    DRIVER

    CAR

    LAPS

    GAP

    1

    Charles Leclerc

    Ferrari

    53

    1h15m26.665s

    2

    Valtteri Bottas

    Mercedes

    53

    0.835s

    3

    Lewis Hamilton

    Mercedes

    53

    35.199s

    4

    Daniel Ricciardo

    Renault

    53

    45.515s

    5

    Nico Hülkenberg

    Renault

    53

    58.165s

    6

    Alexander Albon

    Red Bull/Honda

    53

    59.315s

    7

    Sergio Pérez

    Racing Point/Mercedes

    53

    1m13.802s

    8

    Max Verstappen

    Red Bull/Honda

    53

    1m14.492s

    9

    Antonio Giovinazzi

    Alfa Romeo/Ferrari

    52

    1 Lap

    10

    Lando Norris

    McLaren/Renault

    52

    1 Lap

    11

    Pierre Gasly

    Toro Rosso/Honda

    52

    1 Lap

    12

    Lance Stroll

    Racing Point/Mercedes

    52

    1 Lap

    13

    Sebastian Vettel

    Ferrari

    52

    1 Lap

    14

    George Russell

    Williams/Mercedes

    52

    1 Lap

    15

    Kimi Räikkönen

    Alfa Romeo/Ferrari

    52

    1 Lap

    16

    Romain Grosjean

    Haas/Ferrari

    52

    1 Lap

    17

    Robert Kubica

    Williams/Mercedes

    51

    2 Laps

    -

    Kevin Magnussen

    Haas/Ferrari

    43

    Hydraulics

    -

    Daniil Kvyat

    Toro Rosso/Honda

    29

    Oil leak

    -

    Carlos Sainz Jr.

    McLaren/Renault

    27

    Wheel

     

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