Leclerc takes Italian Grand Prix win epic battle with Hamilton

Charles Leclerc takes stunning Italian Grand Prix win after epic battle with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to take Ferrari’s first Monza win in nine years

  • Charles Leclerc secured Ferrari’s first win at the Italian Grand Prix since Fernando Alonso in 2010
  • The Monegasque driver held off a strong fight from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to triumph at Monza
  • Valtteri Bottas secured second place following error from Lewis Hamilton at turn one late on
  • Sister Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel endured torrid afternoon to finish way down in 14th place 

Charles Leclerc was harried and hustled all the way around Monza by Lewis Hamilton – but the rising star ultimately held on and ended up the triumphant hero of Ferrari and by extension of all Italy.

What a moment of jubilation it was for the ice-veined Monegasque, a 21-year-old in his first Italian Grand Prix wearing the most famous overalls in motor racing.

It was not easy, as we were saying, because he had the greatest driver in the world breathing right down his neck for most of this sprint around the Temple of Speed. That meant he spent the majority of the 53 laps with no let up, just an examination of his nerve.

Charles Leclerc celebrates his stunning win at Monza for Ferrari in Parc Ferme following an epic battle with Mercedes

The passionate Italian crowd brought out a large Ferrari logo banner onto the podium to celebrate the famous victory

The drivers celebrate on the podium in front of a packed crowd on the home straight in Ferrari’s first Monza win for nine years

Leclerc takes the acclaim of the Italian crowd in front of Valtteri Bottas (left) and Lewis Hamilton (right)

He won for the second time in eight days, following his maiden F1 glory in Belgium last Sunday.

It is not entirely right to say Leclerc was faultless. He ran straight on after locking up at the first corner on lap 36 but he wiggled back out in the lead. Hamilton was less than impressed, saying: ‘There’s some dangerous driving going on.’

The stewards decided – rightly in my view – that Leclerc gained no advantage and therefore let him race on unhampered by punishment.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS AND STANDINGS

1 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1hr 15mins 26.665secs

2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:15:27.500

3 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:16:01.864

4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:16:12.180

5 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:16:24.830

6 Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 1:16:25.980

7 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:16:40.467

8 Max Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:16:41.157

9 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo at 1 lap

10 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren at 1 lap

11 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Toro Rosso at 1 lap

12 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point at 1 lap

13 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari at 1 lap

14 George Russell (Gbr) Williams at 1 lap

15 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo at 1 lap

16 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas at 1 lap

17 Robert Kubica (Pol) Williams at 2 laps

Not Classified: 18 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 43 laps completed, 19 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso 29 laps completed, 20 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 27 laps completed   

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 284pts

2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 221

3 Max Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 185

4 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 182

5 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 169

6 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Toro Rosso 65

7 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 58

8 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 34

9 Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 34

10 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso 33

11 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 31

12 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 31

13 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 27

14 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 25

15 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 19

16 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 18

17 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas 8

18 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo 3

19 Robert Kubica (Pol) Williams 1

20 George Russell (Gbr) Williams 0 

Constructors standings: 1 Mercedes 505pts, 2 Ferrari 351, 3 Red Bull 266, 4 McLaren 83, 5 Renault 65, 6 Toro Rosso 51, 7 Racing Point 46, 8 Alfa Romeo 34, 9 Haas 26, 10 Williams 1 

Leclerc led into the first corner ahead of Bottas who passed Mercedes team-mate Hamilton at the start of the race

But despite trying to pass Leclerc, Bottas was repassed by Hamilton on the exit of the Rettifilo chicane on the opening lap

As if to show that Leclerc’s mistake was an understandable lapse, Hamilton also locked up six laps later. He lost second place to Valtteri Bottas, his Mercedes team-mate, as he went round the bollards and back on to the track. It finished that way: Lelcerc first, Bottas second, Hamilton third.

Hamilton, however, holds a huge 63-point lead over Bottas in the race for the title with seven rounds remaining.

Leclerc, who started on pole, held off a sustained Hamilton thrust in the middle third of the grand prix. The best of a long duel of machismo-soaked racing saw them side by side in the second chicane towards the middle of the action. Leclerc just squeezed Hamilton a touch and the Brit ran off, the floor of his car eliciting a plume of dust. 

Leclerc, followed by Hamilton and Bottas, soon pulled out a gap to the rest of the field to set up the story of the race

Vettel spun under no pressure from fourth place at the Ascari chicane, before rejoining the track unsafely

As a result he pushed Racing Point’s Lance Stroll off the circuit and collected a 10-second stop/go penalty for the incident

‘He didn’t leave me a car’s width,’ said Hamilton. ‘He put me off.’ I agreed. So did the stewards, sort of. They awarded the Ferrari man a black and white flag – F1’s equivalent of a yellow card – for unsporting behaviour. That seemed about right. 

Leclerc’s brilliance was in stark contrast to Sebastian Vettel, the supposedly senior man at Ferrari. He spun off early on at the Ascari chicane and then returned to the track carelessly, forcing Lance Stroll’s Racing Point off. The German was handed a 10-sec stop-go penalty, one of the most severe punishments open to the stewards.

His ignominy was endless. He was lapped while tootling around in 15th place.

Leclerc was attacked by Bottas in the final stages but could not be budged.

Leclerc came under heavy pressure from Hamilton for much of the afternoon in a thrilling Italian Grand Prix

Under intense pressure from Hamilton, Leclerc locks up his left front wheel heading into turn one

Leclerc takes the chequered flag to secure his second grand prix victory in a week after winning in Belgium last time out

Lewis Hamilton shakes hands with Leclerc post-race following their intense battle for victory at Monza

Daniil Kvyat pulled over at turn one for Toro Rosso after his Honda power unit failed, bringing out the virtual safety car




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