The F-1 World Championship reaches its very hot final stretch, with Verstappen and Hamilton declaring war after finishing the Italian GP early. Both staged an impressive crash , from which they were fortunately unharmed (although with the Dutch sanctioned), and which favored Daniel Ricciardo’s first triumph with McLaren and the eighth of his sports career. The Australian had not won a race since the 2018 Monaco GP.
With the leaders out of combat, the battle for the victory in Monza was hectic, but the McLaren maintained the initiative despite the harassment of Sergio Pérez and Valtteri Bottas , the protagonist of a great comeback, which took him to the podium after the Mexican was sanctioned with 5 seconds. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished in the wake of the Mercedes.
The incident between Verstappen and Hamilton has occurred after the only ‘pit stop’. The controversy is served, since neither Lewis has given space to his opponent nor Max has been content to be left behind . At stake was the World Cup and both have put everything they had – and more – to defend their options for a key victory for the World Cup.
Both leave the Italy race with a ‘zero’, although the two additional points from Saturday’s Sprint Race allow the Red Bull driver to reach the next race in Russia with a 5 point advantage . There, however, he will lose three places on the grid, as the stewards considered him the “main culprit” of the accident, confirming that this championship has heated up even more. There was already a rush in Silverstone and Budapest, with the touches of Hamilton and Bottas to Verstappen, but now the war is unleashed with 8 grands prix ahead.
Ricciardo takes command
The start was spectacular , with Daniel Ricciardo surprising Max Verstappen and putting his McLaren in first position. Behind it was Lewis Hamilton who, on the harder tires, overtook Lando Norris to place third and put pressure on his rival in the fight for the title, which forced him to leave the asphalt to avoid touching. Norris recovered the position and condemned the champion to remain behind in the first ‘stint’.
Regarding the strategy, it should be noted that Mercedes and Alfa Romeo were the only ones who established a different tactic of tires, riding the hard ones at the start to roll at the end with soft ones, while the rest of the cars on the grid came out with the media. This initiative was taken with the intention of being able to regain positions in the final laps on a circuit where overtaking was very difficult.
On lap 23 of 53 the parade dance begins, which Ricciardo starts. The Australian leaves the lead to Verstappen, who stops a lap later and loses many positions due to a problem. As Hamilton overtakes Norris and leads the race, Max is stuck in the pits: 11.1 seconds in the pit stop they ruined his options, seeing how the two McLarens took the lead. Lewis leads the race and seeing himself at the front of the race Mercedes advances his stop.
The perfect Storm
The perfect storm was building. Hamilton returned to the track behind the McLarens and got up right next to Verstappen. The Englishman strangled the Red Bull at the end of the straight, but Max looked for the gap and when he played a piano he lost control of the car and crashed spectacularly against the Mercedes, flying through the air and ending both off the asphalt and with the Red Bull above Hamilton’s car . The halo saved the Englishman from serious injury.
The exit of the safety car regrouped the grid, with Ricciardo and Norris leading the race, but already with Sergio Pérez and Valtteri Bottas in their wake. Pérez was sanctioned with 5 seconds for not returning the position by skipping a chicane and this caused him to be seen off the podium despite finishing third.
The race for Valtteri Bottas, who this week was confirmed to run with Alfa Romeo next year, was spoiled by the penalty of starting last after Mercedes decided on Friday to mount a new engine. The Finn was forced to make a great comeback, confirming great potential this weekend, taking qualifying on Friday and the sprint race on Saturday.
Carlos Sainz , who saw Antonio Giovinazzi hit him on the first lap , who had to change the wing in the pits and was penalized with 5 seconds, finished sixth, while Fernando Alonso was eighth.