Italian GP Highlights: Verstappen wins Grand Prix with Leclerc behind, Hamilton finishes fifth

Italian Grand Prix: Welcome to Sportstar’s coverage of the Italian GP taking place at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy. Follow the blog for the updates before and during the race.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco steers his car during the Italian Grand Prix race at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco steers his car during the Italian Grand Prix race at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Italian Grand Prix: Welcome to Sportstar’s coverage of the Italian GP taking place at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy. Follow the blog for the updates before and during the race.

Report: Italian GP: Max Verstappen wins on podium debut at Monza, Leclerc finishes second

  • ⦿ Lap 41/53 Lance Stroll of Aston Martin pits the car after instructions from the team, to box the car. He is the third driver to retire in the race so far.
  • ⦿ Lap 38/53 Leclerc clocks his fastest lap of the race, but the Dutchman still has the lead intact as he eyes his first ever win, as well as podium finish in the Italian Grand Prix
  • ⦿ Lap 35/53 Verstappen has regained the lead that he has earned from the beginning and builds on the lead with a 19 second lead over the Ferrari driver.
Lap 30/53 Verstappen closes on the leader Leclerc
While the Dutchman beat Leclerc in his pit stop, it was the same way around as well as the Ferrari driver regains the lead at the midway mark with Verstappen over six second behind.
  • ⦿ Lap 27/53 Lewis Hamilton goes past Fernando Alonso to go sixth in the standings. The Englishman had started 19th in the grid.
  • ⦿ After 25 laps, Lewis Hamilton sits seventh, while Alonso is going strong at sixth. Verstappen, meanwhile pits for a tyre change as he takes on medium tyres.
  • ⦿ Lap 20/53 Verstappen now has a comfortable eight second lead over the Mercedes driver, while Ricciardo pits for hard tyres now.
  • ⦿ Valtteri overtakes Magnussen on the home straight and goes P16; Zhou stops for his first tyres change of the da for Hard tyres and he’s back on track in P17.
Lap 13/53 Verstappen takes the lead
Charles Leclerc pits for medium tyres as Max Verstappen takes the lead at Monza. The Dutchman is up six places to right in front in Italy. Leclec is third at the moment.
Lap 12/53 Sebastian Vettel is out
The German F1 Champions, who has won the race nine years ago has smoke coming out of his engine as he is forced out of the his last race in Monza.
Lap 9/53 Battle for Seventh has Alonso, Sainz and De Vries involved
Sainz and Alonso come close for the seventh position, with Vries behind and the Spaniard crosses his compatriot easily to go seventh with applause from the Ferrari team. Sainz had started 18th in the race.
Sergio Perez’s car looks to be smoking after he changed tires to hard and he tries to get control of the car as he puts more break pressure on the car.
  • ⦿ Verstappen is closing in on Russell and crosses Mercedes as the Dutchman just has Leclerc ahead.
  • ⦿ Three places gained by Tsunoda, while Sainz is up two places at the end of the first lap.
  • ⦿ End of the first lap - Zhou crosses the line in P9, Valtteri in P20 after reporting contact at turn one. There doesn’t seem to be damage.
  • ⦿ Lando dropped a couple of positions off the start, but there’s still a long way to go.
  • ⦿ Charles Leclerc and George Russell starts on soft tires, while Norris, Ricciardo,, Gasly and Alonso start on medium tires as the drivers take their position following the formation lap.
Provisional Starting grid for the Italian Grand Prix
1. Charles Leclerc, 2. George Russell, 3. Lando Norris, 4. Daniel Ricciardo, 5. Pierre Gasly, 6. Fernando Alonso, 7. Max Verstappen, 8. Nyck de Vries, 9. Zhou Guanyu, 10. Nicholas Latifi
11. Sebastian Vettel, 12. Lance Stroll , 13. Sergio Perez, 14. Esteban Ocon, 15. Valtteri Bottas, 16. Kevin Magnussen, 17. Mick Schumacher, 18. Carlos Sainz, 19. Lewis Hamilton, 20. Yuki Tsunoda
Did you know?
Fernando Alonso will start his 349th race today, which would means he will equal Kimi Raikkonen's record of the most race starts in Formula 1.

Formula One leader Max Verstappen is feeling unusually optimistic about his chances of finally earning a good result at the Italian Grand Prix.

Monza is the only circuit where Verstappen has never even finished on the podium. The Red Bull driver’s best result is fifth in 2018.

Verstappen did not even manage to finish the previous two Italian GPs; his retirement last year came after a spectacular crash with title rival Lewis Hamilton, who was also forced to abandon the race.

However, the Dutch driver will take to the track on Sunday on the back of four straight wins and with his Red Bull having superior straight-line speed all season, which is an advantage on one of F1’s fastest tracks.

ALSO READ: Italian GP Qualifying: Leclerc puts Ferrari on pole for home race

“We’ve always been slow on the straights, so then it’s normal when you get here that it’s never going to be a good weekend,” Verstappen said when asked about his previous problems at Monza. “And besides that, you know, a few technical issues as well around this track and we always had to take engine penalties here as well. So, naturally, it’s never going to be amazing.

“But now I think with straight-line speed, it can be a completely different weekend for us.”

Verstappen, however, will start the grand prix no higher than sixth after he was one of a number of drivers hit by grid penalties for changing engine parts. He was given a five-place drop, while Hamilton and Yuki Tsunoda will start from the back of the grid.

Sergio Pérez, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Valtteri Bottas were also penalized.

Verstappen was also issued penalties before the Belgian GP two weeks ago and started 14th but surged through the field to victory.

Verstappen’s dominant performances have built him a 109-point advantage over Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and teammate Sergio Pérez, with just seven races remaining.

Last year, he led Hamilton by just three points heading into the Italian GP.

“I’m always relaxed,” Verstappen said. “Even last year, you know, when the lead wasn’t that big, I think we always felt good and confident. But of course, with the lead we have now, yeah it’s nice and it’s great, but we still want to win more races."

Verstappen won in front of his home fans at the Dutch GP last Sunday and Ferrari will be hoping its passionate red-clad tifosi equally have something to celebrate this weekend on its home track.

Leclerc was on the top step of Monza's iconic podium in 2019 but that was Ferrari's only success since 2010 and he's not expecting to repeat that this year, especially after another error-strewn showing from the team at Zandvoort.

“On paper at least, it looks like a difficult weekend,” Leclerc said. “We expect Red Bull to be stronger, the track characteristics doesn’t fit exactly our car, but we’ve had some good and bad surprises this year so hopefully this is one of the good ones and we overperform.

“Comparing to Red Bull specially … we are slower down the straights. Their main strength this year is straight-line speed, we seem to be a bit quicker in the corners. At tracks like here, it’s not enough to gain back the advantage that they have on the straights.”

ALSO READ: Italian GP: Nyck de Vries makes F1 debut after Alex Albon is taken ill

There was positive news for Ferrari on Friday, however, as it topped the leaderboard in both practices.

Sainz was quickest in the second session, 0.143 seconds ahead of Verstappen and 0.193 ahead of Leclerc, who was fastest in the first session in a Ferrari one-two.

George Russell was third fastest in the first practice, ahead of Mercedes teammate Hamilton and Verstappen in fifth.

He was fifth in the second session, just behind Lando Norris but quicker than Pérez and Hamilton.

The session was briefly red-flagged after Mick Schumacher ground to a halt about halfway through, with a power unit issue subsequently being confirmed.

There was a minute's silence ahead of the start in memory of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday at the age of 96.

Ferrari also had a sticker on its cars in tribute to the British monarch.

(With inputs from AP)

WHEN AND WHERE TO WATCH
Where is the Italian Grand Prix taking place?
The Italian GP will take place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Lights out at 6:30 PM IST.
Where to watch the Italian GP?
The Formula 1 race will be telecast on Star Sports Select and Star Sports Select HD.
Where to stream the Italian GP?
The Italian GP will be streamed on Disney+ Hotstar application.
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