Italian Grand Prix: Leclerc resists Mercedes for Monza victory

Charles Leclerc resisted an intense attack from Lewis Hamilton and a late charge from Valtteri Bottas to win the Italian Grand Prix and earn back-to-back Formula 1 wins

Italian Grand Prix: Leclerc resists Mercedes for Monza victory

Leclerc fought single-handedly for victory at Ferrari's home race after team-mate Sebastian Vettel had a spin early on while running fourth.

Hamilton gave chase for more than 20 laps in the middle of the grand prix before Bottas took over Mercedes' attack at the end, but Leclerc kept both at bay to win again just seven days after claiming his maiden grand prix victory.

Leclerc had kept Hamilton at arm's length through the first stint but came under attack after stopping one lap later than his pursuer - and taking hard tyres to the Mercedes driver's mediums.

Hamilton's earlier stop brought him out within striking distance of Leclerc straight away and two engaged in an ultra-intense cat-and-mouse chase for more than 20 laps.

During that time, Hamilton got close enough to launch two serious attacks.

First, on lap 23 of the 53, Hamilton used a minor delay as Leclerc passed Nico Hulkenberg's Renault at Parabolica to force the youngster to defend into the first chicane - where Leclerc took to the run-off.

Leclerc defended again into the second chicane but moved back across to the right, made light contact with Hamilton and forced his rival onto the run-off.

Leclerc was given a black-and-white flag warning for that move, and was perhaps fortunate to get away with what Hamilton described as "dangerous" driving on lap 36.

A small lock-up from Leclerc sent him over the run-off at the first chicane and gave Hamilton a run out of the corner.

As Hamilton looked to the outside through Curva Grande, Leclerc jinked to the left to block his path - leaving Hamilton vexed.

Over the next few laps Hamilton remained in close proximity but failed to launch another attack before locking his front left into the first chicane at the start of lap 42.

Hamilton took to the escape road, allowing Bottas through into second after the Finn had crept up to the lead two with his long first stint giving him an eight-lap offset on fresh tyres.

Bottas picked up the chase, three seconds adrift of Leclerc, and almost got within DRS range with six laps to go before losing a bit of time in the final sector.

His best chance came three laps from the end when he got to just half a second behind Leclerc, but Bottas ran deep into the first corner and dropped back.

Bottas got within DRS range again on the final lap, then made a small mistake at the second chicane that ensured Leclerc won by 0.8 seconds.

Hamilton finished a distant third after pitting for fresh tyres to set the fastest lap and score a bonus point, meaning his championship advantage over Bottas stands at 63 points.

While Leclerc held on to win his first Italian GP as a Ferrari driver, Vettel had a miserable race and finished outside the points in 13th.

He ran fourth early on but spun after striking the kerb on the entrance to the Ascari chicane on lap six.

Vettel then rejoined the track while cars were flashing past and clipped the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, who was seventh, into a spin.

Stroll got going again but rejoined as Pierre Gasly was exiting Ascari - which forced the Toro Rosso driver through the gravel.

Vettel received a 10s stop-go penalty for his unsafe return to the track, the harshest possible penalty short of disqualification, while Stroll's actions were deemed slightly less severe and he was hit with a drivethrough.

In the absence of Vettel - and also Max Verstappen, who started at the back following an engine change and had his race compromised by a first lap clash - Daniel Ricciardo clinched Renault's best result of the season in fourth.

Ricciardo had fallen behind team-mate Hulkenberg in the early laps but quickly repassed the sister car and assumed fourth when Vettel spun.

He held a commanding advantage over Hulkenberg until the end of the race, while Hulkenberg - who had briefly passed Vettel on lap one - held onto fifth ahead of Red Bull's Alex Albon to give Renault a massive haul of points.

Albon had to regain ground after banging wheels with Carlos Sainz Jr and going through the Lesmo gravel, and receiving a 5s time penalty for cutting a corner when battling with Kevin Magnussen.

Behind Albon, Sergio Perez benefited from a well-timed virtual safety car around his pitstop window to finish seventh, despite starting 18th.

Verstappen made it back to eighth after stopping on lap one for a new front wing, having broken his when the field bunched up at the first corner.

Antonio Giovinazzi scored points in his home race in ninth, while Lando Norris completed the top 10 having started 16th.

Three drivers retired from the grand prix, two shortly after making their pitstops.

Carlos Sainz Jr lost a likely strong points finish when his McLaren's front right wheel was not attached properly at his stop.

Daniil Kvyat, also running well inside the top 10, pulled his smokey Toro Rosso to a halt exiting the first chicane after his own stop.

Magnussen was the final retiree. He had already dropped out of the points when he locked up at Turn 1 and took to the run-off and eventually stopped with a hydraulic problem.

Race result

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 Hulkenberg Renault 53 58.165s
6 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 53 59.315s
7 Sergio Perez 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 Raikkonen 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

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 284
2 Valtteri Bottas 221
3 Max Verstappen 185
4 Charles Leclerc 182
5 Sebastian Vettel 169
6 Pierre Gasly 65
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 58
8 Daniel Ricciardo 34
9 Alexander Albon 34
10 Daniil Kvyat 33
11 Nico Hulkenberg 31
12 Kimi Raikkonen 31
13 Sergio Perez 27
14 Lando Norris 25
15 Lance Stroll 19
16 Kevin Magnussen 18
17 Romain Grosjean 8
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 3
19 Robert Kubica 1
20 George Russell 0

Constructors' standings

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 505
2 Ferrari 351
3 Red Bull/Honda 266
4 McLaren/Renault 83
5 Renault 65
6 Toro Rosso/Honda 51
7 Racing Point/Mercedes 46
8 Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 34
9 Haas/Ferrari 26
10 Williams/Mercedes 1


shares
comments
A Formula 1 driver's race morning diary

Previous article

A Formula 1 driver's race morning diary

Next article

Vettel one major incident from F1 ban after 'dangerous' Monza move

Vettel one major incident from F1 ban after 'dangerous' Monza move
Load comments
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021