ITALIAN GP – Pierre Gasly wins maiden race in madness at Monza, in first win for Alpha Tauri in twelve years

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Pierre Gasly has secured Alpha Tauri’s second win by four tenths winning the Italian Grand Prix, marking the teams first win in twelve years and the first win from outside the top three teams since 2013. The Frenchman inherited the lead following the red flag after Charles Leclerc crashed heavily at Parabolica on lap twenty-four causing a red flag.

Its be a wild twelve months for the Frenchman who becomes the first Frenchman to win a Grand Prix in almost twenty-five years. He was demoted from Red Bull ahead of Spa last year, the death of Anthoine Hurbert at that race and inheriting the podium in Brazil last season.

It was the first time since Kimi Raikkonen won the 2013 Austrilian Grand Prix, that a race has been won by a driver not in a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz tried everything he could to try and beat Gasly but couldn’t close the final four-tenths in the closing stages of the race. The race was one where all the top three teams failed to capitalise on mistakes, accidents and strategy.

Gasly said, “I’ve been through so much in 18 months, I struggle to realise this. I’ve got no words. This team has done so much for me, now they’re giving me my first win.”

Sainz added, “My team did a tremendous job because I was determined to come in but they told me not to because the pitlane was shut. When I saw Lewis was going to have a stop-go penalty, I thought I could perhaps win.”

The key moment for Gasly came when Lewis Hamilton was awarded a five-second penalty after going into the pit lane when it was closed after the first safety car when Haas’s Kevin Magnussen stopped in the pit entry. Hamilton pitted as the red light came on earning himself penalty.

Until that point it appeared that Mercedes looked on course for an easy victory, Hamilton extending his lead throughout the first stint, with Sainz quickly gapping his team-mate, who was soon being harassed by Perez. The decision to pit when the pit lane was closed might have seemed natural, but proved even Mercedes can make mistakes.

Gasly had made his stop a couple of laps before the first safety car so did not stop again, and this promoted him to third behind Hamilton and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll for a mixed-up field at the restart.

But then as soon as the race resumed Leclerc lost control of his Ferrari through the Parabolica and crashed heavily damaging the barriers. That brought out the red flag halfway through the race. That capped off a difficult weekend for Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel being forced to retire on lap six with a brake failure.

On the restart Stroll made a poor getaway from pole allowing himself to be passed by Hamilton, Sainz, Kimi Raikkonen and Gasly. Stroll then was under pressure from Gasly, as Hamilton pitted to serve his penalty, allowing Gasly to build a four second lead over the remaining twenty-four laps and secure victory.

The battle between Alpha Tauri, McLaren and Racing Point has been close all season, while the top teams struggled and Red Bull and Ferrari both finished pointless, the hot battle for fourth in the constructors proved to take centre stage.

Bottas was the highest finisher of the leading teams in fifth ahead of Ricciardo and Hamilton, as well as the second Alpha Tauri of Daniil Kvyat, while Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten. The Finn could no take advantage of Hamilton’s misfortune  after a poor initial start.

It was an emotional afternoon for Williams, admit the chaos the team believed they could have secured points on the final race for the family in Formula One. Nicolas Latifi however couldn’t chase after Perez in the closing phases of the race and had to settle for twelfth.

Ferrari and Ferrari’s powered worst Italian Grand Prix since 1984, wasn’t any better on the track, Romain Grosjean the highest finisher in twelfth place a second ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Sebastian Vettel’s final Monza race for Ferrari saw the German retired with a brake failure.

The German was unable to slow down his car at the end of the pit straight and spectacularly took out the polystyrene marker boards at the first chicane run-off.

Red Bull who should have capitalised on Mercedes woes also struggled, Albon having a small collision with Gasly finishing fifteenth. Max Verstappen’s race was brought to a close following the restart when Honda found a power unit issue.

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