Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his fifth straight race victory at Monza as he continues to close in on a second successive world drivers championship title.
Even despite starting the Italian Grand Prix in P7, the Dutchman made light work of the drivers in front of him on the grid at the start of the race as he carries on his dominant form in the sport.
VERSTAPPEN WINS THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
The Dutchman takes the chequered flag. Leclerc comes home in second with Russell taking the final podium spot #ItalianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/HEqXM7CLqp
He becomes just the ninth different driver in Formula One history to win five successive races in the sport alongside previous greats such as Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari.
The race controversially ended under safety car conditions following Daniel Ricciardo’s late retirement as his McLaren experienced engine difficulties, but even still, it was clear that Ferrari and championship rival Charles Leclerc were again one step behind Verstappen throughout the race.
A visibly annoyed Leclerc came home to finish P2 whilst Mercedes’ George Russell claimed another podium finish in P3, his sixth of the year and fourth across the past five races.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took P4 despite starting at the back of the grid due to an earlier penalty, while Lewis Hamilton also fought back from the back of the grid to finish P5.
Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, debutant Nyck de Vries and Zhou Guanyu rounded out the points-paying positions in the north of Italy.
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After recording four straight race victories heading into the Italian Grand Prix, perhaps we shouldn’t have been too surprised to see Verstappen again defy the odds to take another win even despite starting P7 on the grid due to an engine penalty.
After just two laps at Monza, the flying Dutchman had moved up into third position before he then overtook Mercedes’ George Russell to put huge pressure on championship rival Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari team.
Ferrari responded by pitting Leclerc for medium tyres but when it was clear that Verstappen was again catching them at an alarming rate during the second stint, Leclerc was pitted for a second time. Verstappen who led the race by a whopping 19 seconds before the late safety car period.
The grid-place penalties that were applied for the 2022 Italian Grand Prix saw both Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton moved to the back of the grid for changing engine parts.
Many thought it would be a case of damage limitation drives as a result for the pair but both still managed to finish high up in the points claiming P4 and P5 respectively.
Sainz particularly shone at the start of the race as by lap 14 the Spaniard had already wrestled his Ferrari car up to P4, much to the delight of the Tifosi in the grandstands.
When news broke that Williams driver Alex Albon was unable to take part in both qualifying and the race at Monza due to a bout of appendicitis, Mercedes test driver Nick de Vries was drafted in to take his spot for the backmarker team.
The Dutch national, who some argue has long been overdue a spot on the F1 grid, jokingly told reporters that he had to rush down a cappuccino just an hour or so before qualifying began on Saturday.
He then began the race in P8 after nine grid-place penalties were applied to other drivers and throughout the race, De Vries proved both competent in attacking and defending in equal measure to bring his Williams car home in P9, the team’s joint-best result of the season so far.
CHEQUERED FLAG: Verstappen wins the 2022 Italian Grand Prix!!! The race finishes behind the safety car due to Ricciardo’s late retirement as the Dutch driver claims his fifth race victory in succession. He becomes just the ninth different driver in F1 history to achieve that feat as he closes in on his second world championship title.
Lap 50: The marshals can’t move Ricciardo’s car as it’s stuck in gear so it’s very likely that we’ll be finishing this race behind the safety car in truth unless they can shift it very quickly.
Lap 47: Ricciardo is out of the race and the safety car is out! The front two are through but Russell dives into the pit as does Sainz.
Verstappen and Leclerc then also make their stops on the way around. There are only four laps left in this race though so will we even get a restart?
Ricciardo has pulled up at the side of the track
We have a ⚠️ SAFETY CAR ⚠️#ItalianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/ETbdMtFN9T
Lap 45: So with a lead of 17 seconds at the front and just seven laps to go, Verstappen is absolutely cruising to another race victory here at Monza.
Lap 43: Perez is into the pit lane for a new set of softs as Red Bull make the call that his current hard tyres won’t last until the end of this race. He comes back out behind Hamilton and Norris and now has work to do to get back past the pair.
Lap 41: There’s another retirement as Stroll comes into the pits. That’s a double DNF for Aston Martin and a record is broken in the process as the Canadian was the only driver to finish every race this year up to now.
Back on the track, Schumacher makes a fantastic pass on Latifi at corner one. That’s a lovely overtake from the German.
Lap 39: Ricciardo is struggling on his hard tyres and as a result, both Hamilton and Norris on their new soft tyres get past him on the same lap. The Australian driver is now down to P8.
Lap 36: Norris pits and it’s a calamity for McLaren as he’s in the pit box for at least twice as long as he should be.
He rejoins the race just behind teammate Ricciardo but Gasly sweeps around the outside to take P7. But wait.. here comes Hamilton who gets past both of them and takes P7 following his start from P19. Great battling there!
Lap 34: Verstappen leads the Italian Grand Prix again as Leclerc pits!! It seems like the Red Bull’s pace was so alarming that Ferrari are forced into another change of strategy. He emerges 19.5 seconds behind the current world championship leader.. that’s going to be a very tall order.
Lap 33: Alonso is out! The veteran pulls into the pit lane and retires from this race. He had been complaining for a while about a lack of power and it seems Alpine made the decision that retiring the car was the only resort.
Before that, Alonso had won points in his last ten races.
Agony for Fernando in his 349th race
He’s been asked to come in and retire the car #ItalianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/S5AXEHnfsg
Lap 32: Sainz pits and it’s a set of soft tyres for the Spaniard. That means he should be absolutely rapid for the rest of this race which is just as well as he’s back down in P7 right now and behind Red Bull’s Perez.
Lap 28: Well after coming out of the pits, Verstappen was 10 seconds behind Leclerc who leads but just two laps later and that gap is already down to 8.7 seconds. This could be agonising for Ferrari fans.
Lap 26: Leclerc retakes the lead of the 2022 Italian Grand Prix as Verstappen comes in to pit.
It’s now a case of if the Dutchman can hunt down his old friend towards the end of this race.
Race leader Verstappen pits for medium tyres
He comes back out in P2, 10 seconds behind Leclerc#ItalianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/vaciqr1v4R
Lap 25: Russell is in and out of the pit lane for his one scheduled stop and he emerges in P4. Once Sainz pits ahead he’ll be back into the podium places.
Verstappen is still out in front with a 13.8-second lead, though he needs to pit yet.
Lap 22: All the midfield teams come in for a flurry of pit stops as they look to undercut each other. As a result, Hamilton is up to P7 for now after starting down in P19.
Lap 19: It sounds like Leclerc could have a problem here. His engineer is asking for the Ferrari man to short shift his gears which is greeted by a plea from Leclerc to check the engine is all alright. Surely it’s not more bad luck for the Italian team?
Lap 14: And the pitlane comes to life! Leclerc is in but Verstappen and Russell stay out. The Ferrari driver comes out of the pit as Ricciardo charges down the straight but he just manages to stay ahead of the Australian.
Sainz is up into P4 now just behind as he gets Ricciardo down the next straight!!
Lap 13: The virtual safety car is out as Vettel grinds to a halt down the back straight.
Vettel’s car is smoking and he’s pulled over
The German is out of his last race at Monza
⚠️ VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR ⚠️#ItalianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/WBpvHBenOk
Lap 12: Sainz continues his charge up the field here at Monza as the Spaniard first overtakes debutant De Vries and then gets Alonso the lap after. Next up; former McLaren teammate Norris and, well, Sainz makes very easy work of him too!
Lap 10: Perez heads into the pit lane very early to strap on some hard tyres but there’s a problem. He comes back out and his right brake looks to be on fire. This could be a disaster for the Mexican driver!
Lap 5: Verstappen is already up to P2!! Down the long start/finish straight he picks up Russell’s slipstream and beats the British driver into corner one. This is very easy work for the championship leader so far.
Make that P2 😮
Verstappen gets past Russell on the run down to Turn 1#ItalianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/E64FZtsn0V
Further down the pack, Sainz is already up to P10 despite starting down in P18.
Lap 4: So Leclerc leads Russell by 1.6 seconds and then comes Verstappen just 1.2 seconds behind. After the top three, it’s Ricciardo, Gasly then Norris who made a dreadful start off the start line.
LIGHTS OUT: We’re underway here at Monza as Leclerc gets away cleanly to hold the very early lead in the Italian Grand Prix. Behind comes Russell and then Verstappen who is already absolutely flying out there!
2 mins to lights out: We’re off for the formation lap ahead of the 2022 Italian Grand Prix here in Monza!
Time to go racing! #ItalianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/MBa1KvrrPg
15 minutes to lights out: The drivers and teams will now pause for a minute’s silence in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II who passed away on September 8.
30 minutes to lights out: All the cars are out on track as they head to the start/finish line.
Whilst that’s happening let’s take a quick look back at last year when the 2021 Italian Grand Prix witnessed a bit of a shock as McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo took the chequered flag. What better way to celebrate that then than with a new helmet design this year and this is what the Australian has gone for..
45 minutes to lights out: It definitely feels like today’s Italian Grand Prix is Leclerc’s to lose doesn’t it. With his pole position yesterday coupled with the penalties dished out to his closest championship rivals, the Ferrari man could easily dash off into the distance early on in the race especially as he’s surrounded by slower cars.
That said, if he doesn’t break away quickly then Verstappen will definitely be lurking close behind. Even though the Dutchman is starting P7 this afternoon, he’s in scintillating form of late and managed to win from even further back in Spa just a few weeks ago..
1 hour until lights out: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of the 2022 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
After a hectic qualifying session that saw the FIA take over three hours to finally set the starting grid due to multiple driver penalties, we get to the business end of F1’s third racing weekend in a row.
*indicates grid-place penalty
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