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Pierre Gasly claimed his first ever F1 race victory, taking the chequered flag after a drama-packed Italian GP which saw Lewis Hamilton finish seventh.
This was a race that, rarely for this season, went down to the last lap, with Gasly only just holding off the McLaren of Carlos Sainz. Lance Stroll claimed the final podium position as Monza lived up to its reputation for drama.
The pivotal point of the race happened when Kevin Magnussen’s retirement and then Charles Leclerc’s crash into the tyre barrier prompted red flags. However, Hamilton failed to notice that the pit lane was closed as Magnussen’s car was moved and pitted, which saw him handed a 10-second stop-go penalty.
That put the world championship leader to the back of the pack and gave a whole host of drivers the chance to win their first race. In the end, it was Gasly who grasped the opportunity, holding off Sainz and Stroll to cross the line first.
The victory was a first in F1 for Gasly and the first for a French driver since Olivier Panis in 1996.
DRIVER OF THE DAY - Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
What a difference a year makes. 2019 was a season to forget for Gasly as he was replaced as Red Bull’s second driver and sent back to Toro Ross, as it was at the time. This, however, was redemption. There’s no denying Gasly was presented with an opportunity through a sequence of peculiar and fortuitous events, but the young Frenchman took it with both hands. His defending over the final few laps was exceptional.
WHERE THE RACE WAS WON
- 1/53 - LIGHTS OUT! Hamilton gets off well, but Sainz passes Bottas into the first turn. Norris has also made up places! What a start for the two McLarens! Not entirely sure where Bottas is! Did he go wide into the second corner as well?! He’s sixth!
- 6/53 - Vettel DNF! "Brakes failed, brakes failed," the former world champion says over the Ferrari team radio. He went straight through the temporary chicane made out of polystyrene. This will be a DNF for Vettel. Things going from bad to worse for the Scuderia.
- 23/53 - Hamilton might be in trouble here! The pit lane was closed and yet the race leader changed tyres as the marshals were pushing Magnussen's car across that area of the track. Might Hamilton receive a penalty here? This could shake up the race! We're waiting to find out... Giovinazzi also pitted.
- 25/53 - Leclerc into the barrier! That's a big crash. Leclerc is into the barrier! His Ferrari is mangled, but he is moving fine. That's a relief because that was a bad crash. What a disaster for the Scuderia. Leclerc lost the back end of the car under acceleration and ended up spinning into the barrier at speed.
- 26/53 - Session stopped! The damage to the barrier caused by Leclerc's Ferrari means that the race is going to be stopped here. The marshals need time to essentially rebuild the barrier before we can start the race again. What drama we have had at Monza. We're only halfway through the race!
- Hamilton penalty! 10-second stop/go penalty! Hamilton has been handed his punishment for entering the pit lane when it was closed. That is a pretty severe penalty for the race leader. This will cost him. What an unusual race this has been. The drivers are out of their cars in the pit lane now as the marshals rebuild the barrier.
- 28/53 - Standing start! Lights out for the second time this afternoon! Hamilton gets a good start off the grid, Stroll manages to hold his place in second through the first few turns, but his brakes seem to be smoking! Does he have a problem? He's now down into sixth after going wide! Gasly up into second! DRAMA!
- 32/53 - DNF for Verstappen! What a massive missed opportunity for Red Bull. This was a chance for them to make the most of a rare Mercedes slip up, but Verstappen has experienced an issue and he is now out of the race. Red Bull pulled him into the pits to retire him. Verstappen looks furious.
- 43/53 - Sainz closing! There is some real excitement around the McLaren garage. They sense there is something special happening for them here. Sainz is closing the gap on Gasly in P1. There's just two-and-a-half seconds between the front two. Meanwhile, Norris is about four seconds behind Stroll. The Racing Point is also in a good position!
- 53/53 - Last lap! Gasly still has some defending to do here! Sainz says "I want this win" over the team radio, but he's just a little too far away. He can't get close enough to the AlphaTauri. Meanwhile, Hamilton is up into P8. He has managed to salvage some points after his stop/go penalty.
- Gasly wins the Italian GP! What a result for Gasly! The AlphaTauri takes the chequered flag after an incredible race at Monza! Wow! Sainz gave it his all in the final lap, but he just couldn't get within striking distance of Gasly. Stroll completes the podium positions! Norris in P4, but this is all about Gasly and Alphatauri!
PIT EXCHANGE OF THE DAY
“That’s some b******,” Hamilton said over the Mercedes team radio after serving his 10-second stop-go penalty. This was the moment the race changed and the leading positions opened up. Hamilton was unhappy that he had to serve the penalty, even going up to see the stewards as the drivers took a mid-race break due to the red flags.
With under 20 laps left and an opportunity arising, Sainz decided to step things up by going around the outside of Kimi Raikkonen. There was just enough space for the Spaniard to squeeze his McLaren through, but he managed it. This was a demonstration of excellent, and fair, racing between two good drivers.