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Italian Grand Prix: F1 race results

Can the resurgent Ferrari spoil a flawless season record for Red Bull, willed on by a feverish Tifosi crowd?

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Max Verstappen now stands as the sole record holder for most consecutive race wins in Formula 1, following victory at the Italian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jr. took a sensational pole position during Qualifying on Saturday (Image Credit: @Carlossainz55 on X)

Ferrari have looked fast all weekend, and converted promising showings in free practice sessions into pole courtesy of Carlos Sainz Jr.

Championship leader Max Verstappen was just over one hundredth of a second behind the Spaniard, while Charles Leclerc made it a Ferrari 1-3.

Also impressive in Qualifying was the Williams of Alexander Albon. The FW45 typically excels in a straight line, with Lewis Hamilton claiming it will be “almost impossible” to overtake the Thai-British driver during the race.

With Ferrari’s overall weekend pace seemingly on par or better than that of Red Bull, many suggest that the Italian Grand Prix may be the race where we see the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s dominance come to an end.

Nevertheless, Verstappen will be hoping for a record-breaking tenth consecutive victory, which would put him above Sebastian Vettel’s nine wins in succession back in 2013.

A chance for the Dutchman to cement himself indisputably as one of the greatest; can he do it? He’d have to muscle his way past a Ferrari at it’s home Grand Prix first, with the Tifosi wishing ill upon him and willing the Red cars on…

The starting grid

Lights out

All drivers decided on the Medium compound of tyre, apart from Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen opting for the Hard tyre.

Before the race even started, Yuki Tsunoda pulled off on the side of the track with a suspected engine failure. Smoke billowed out of the rear of the Japanese driver’s AlphaTauri.

The field went around the circuit for a second formation lap to allow marshals to remove Tsunoda’s car. However, a recovery vehicle had to be called to move the AT04, leading to an aborted race start for a further 10 minutes or so.

A shortened 51 laps of the Italian Grand Prix eventually got underway, and it was Sainz who got off the line quickest. The Ferrari driver maintained the lead through the first chicane from Verstappen, with Leclerc under pressure from George Russell in fourth position.

Further down the field, Oscar Piastri made his way past the Williams of Albon, while Nico Hulkenberg claimed the final points position from Alonso by the end of the first lap.

Albon’s superior straight line speed allowed the Thai driver to get back past Piastri and reclaim sixth place on the following lap.

Verstappen was sticking to the gearbox of Sainz, biding his time for DRS to be enabled at the start of lap four. Russell was slowly losing touch with the front three drivers, and Sergio Perez behind him was well within DRS range of the Mercedes driver.

Verstappen pulled alongside Sainz into the first chicane, but was forced to take the outside line and thus couldn’t take the lead from the Ferrari. Their battle allowed Leclerc to get back within a second of the Red Bull. By the end of lap six, the top three were separated by less than one second.

The race develops

Russell continued his defence of fifth position from Perez, taking a defensive line into the first corner. Meanwhile, Alonso got tenth position back from Hulkenberg along the main straight.

Verstappen complained on his team radio about Ferrari’s strong straight line speed, which was preventing him from taking the lead from Sainz. But race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase reassured the Championship leader, stating that the current leader was struggling with tyre wear.

Once again, Russell made a defensive shape into the first chicane to keep Perez behind on lap 11. Further back, Pierre Gasly was the first car into the pits, dropping to last of the runners for a long stint on Hard tyres. A few others down the order also pitted, including the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu.

Leclerc dropped out of DRS range from the top two by lap 13. Russell suggested an undercut pit strategy, which could be powerful considering how much defending he was doing against Perez.

One lap later, Russell and Perez both went off track into the braking zone of the first corner. While Perez got past the Briton, he was soon instructed by his race engineer to give the position back.

A huge opportunity for Verstappen, as Sainz locked up into the first corner on the following lap. The latter made the corner, but was slow on corner exit. This allowed Verstappen to pull alongside the Ferrari and take the lead before the Variante della Roggia.

Albon pitted from sixth on lap 16. Verstappen instantly pulled over a second’s gap ahead of Sainz, who was struggling with a flat spot on his front right tyre. Sainz was now under pressure once again, this time from teammate Leclerc.

The gap between Verstappen and Sainz was up to 2.6 seconds by lap 18. Perez was catching the Ferrari duo, 2.4 seconds behind Leclerc, and just 1.4 seconds come the very next lap.

First pitstops from the lead

Sainz was the first of the frontrunners to change his tyres, with Russell following suit from fifth. Both opted for the Hard tyre, and fell down to ninth and tenth respectively.

Verstappen and Leclerc came in on the next lap (lap 21), allowing Perez to take the lead of the race. Sainz just about stayed ahead of his Monegasque teammate, although the pair were now fighting on track for a provisional podium.

Perez was next into the pits, on lap 22. He wasn’t able to make the overcut work, and came out just behind both Ferraris to slot into fourth position.

Piastri, Lando Norris and Hamilton were yet to pit, and were therefore occupying the top three positions on track. Norris was the first of them to pit, dropping to 11th.

Russell was under investigation as he exited the pitlane earlier, as he out-braked himself into the first corner and stayed ahead of Esteban Ocon for seventh. He was awarded a five-second penalty for his illegal manoeuvre.

Piastri pitted and was passed by his teammate following a minor collision through the Variante del Rettifilo, while Hamilton stayed out but lost the lead from Verstappen on considerably newer tyres.

The second phase

Sainz, Leclerc and Perez were line astern at half distance, though their procession was briefly interrupted by Hamilton who continued to fall down the order on worn Hard tyres. The Mercedes driver finally came in on lap 28 for a set of Mediums, falling to tenth place.

Hamilton made light work of Alonso, up the inside of the first corner to claim ninth from the Aston Martin.

Albon was now struggling on his Hard tyres, and was under pressure from both McLarens in a three-way battle for P6. Norris locked up trying to go around the outside of the Williams on lap 30, and maintained seventh.

Meanwhile, further up the field Perez moved alongside Leclerc for third place, but dipped a wheel into the grass on the outside of the della Roggia chicane and would have to settle back behind. The Red Bull didn’t take long to make a move stick, dispatching Leclerc along the main straight later on lap 32.

A few drivers near the foot of the field opted for a two-stop strategy, with the likes of Gasly, Magnussen and Zhou pitting for another set of fast Medium tyres.

Verstappen had pulled out an eight-second margin to Sainz by lap 35, only a Safety car or driving error would put victory in doubt now for the Red Bull driver. Leclerc was staying within DRS range of Perez after being passed earlier, a double podium still a possibility for the Scuderia.

The latter stages

Norris finally had another opportunity to get past Albon for sixth on lap 38. Although he got past the Williams, he had to give the position back as he completed the move off the racetrack.

Meanwhile, Hamilton was catching Albon, Norris and Piastri, and attempted a move at the Variante della Roggia on lap 40, but couldn’t quite pull it off. On the very next lap, they came together at the same corner, damaging Piastri’s front wing.

Piastri was forced into the pits to replace the front wing, promoting the Williams of Logan Sargeant into P10 for what could be his first ever points finish in F1.

The cameras focussed on the battle for second place on lap 43, as Perez managed to pull alongside Sainz along the main straight but couldn’t brake as late as the Spaniard. He tried the same again on the following lap, cut the chicane and slotted back into third behind the polesitter.

Bottas got past Sargeant for the final point, while Hamilton complained of a different feeling car after his collision with Piastri. Hamilton subsequently received a five-second time penalty for his part in the crash.

Same move, same result for Perez in his battle for P2 against Sainz. But on the next lap (lap 46), Perez finally made it stick around the outside of the first chicane to make it a Red Bull 1-2.

Hamilton passed Norris for seventh, and then got past Albon for sixth. Sainz dropped back another position as Leclerc got past on the next lap, though Sainz claimed P3 right back at the Variante della Roggia as both Ferraris ran wide.

But Sainz was clearly struggling with his tyres at the closing stages of the race, and Leclerc was hounding him for the final podium spot. The team eventually intervened on the penultimate lap, telling Leclerc to stay behind Sainz to bring home a Ferrari 3-4.

A bit further up the track, Verstappen crossed the finish line to take a record-breaking tenth consecutive race win, while Perez and Sainz round out the podium.

Final race classification

Formula 1 will return in two weeks time for the Singapore Grand Prix, which marks the beginning of the Asian leg of the 2023 season. Make sure to follow us for more updates.

Feature Image Credit: @F1 on X

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