MONZA (Italy) • Ferrari bombed out of the Italian Grand Prix yesterday, but there was another Italian team that helped salvage home pride.
France’s Pierre Gasly won an astonishing thriller for AlphaTauri in a topsy-turvy race packed with suspense and none of the usual suspects on the podium.
Not since 2013 have a team other than Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull won a grand prix – Kimi Raikkonen was the last to do so in a Lotus – and not since 2009 have any one of the trio not finished in the top three.
But Red Bull’s feeder team were able to create a modern-day Formula One shock because championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who had started on pole, received a 10-second stop-go penalty on Lap 27 for entering the pit lane under a red light.
Before that massive blunder, Mercedes’ six-time world champion had been leading and in cruise control, only to end up seventh.
Early in the race, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had to retire on Lap 6 owing to a brake failure.
Teammate Charles Leclerc also did not finish after crashing his car on Lap 25, resulting in a 25-minute red flag suspension that ultimately benefited Gasly, who became the first French driver since Olivier Panis in 1996 to win a race.
On his maiden F1 victory and just the second-ever for AlphaTauri – their first was also at Monza and achieved by Vettel in 2008 under former iteration Toro Rosso – the 24-year-old said: “It’s unbelievable. It was such a crazy race and we capitalised on it.
“I’ve been through so much in 18 months, I struggle to realise this. This team have given me so much, my first chance, my first podium and my first win.
“It is just amazing day. I have said since I came into Formula One that we need another French winner after the last in 1996, but I never expected it to come like that.”
Gasly was dropped by Red Bull last year, but has come on in strides in the strangest of seasons disrupted by Covid-19 and without spectators, moving up to eighth in the drivers’ standings on 43 points, just two behind Leclerc in seventh.
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
1 Pierre Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1hr 47min 6.056sec
2 Carlos Sainz (Esp) McLaren +0.415sec
3 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point +3.358sec
4 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren +6.000sec
5 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes +7.108sec
6 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault +8.391sec
7 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes +17.245sec *fastest lap
8 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault +18.691sec
9 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) AlphaTauri +22.208sec
10 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point +23.224sec
Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull
Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari
1 Hamilton 164pts 2 Bottas 117 3 Verstappen 110 4 Stroll 57 5 Norris 57
1 Mercedes 281pts 2 Red Bull 158 3 McLaren 98 4 Racing Point 82 5 Renault 71
Olivier Panis was the last Frenchman to win an F1 race 24 years ago when he took the honours for French team Ligier at the Monaco Grand Prix.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz finished a close second at Monza after a nail-biting chase to the flag, with Lance Stroll of Racing Point third on a podium that featured none of motor sport’s big names.
But despite the setback, Hamilton retained his 47-point lead at the top over teammate Valtteri Bottas, who was fifth, after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen retired on Lap 31.
The Briton has 164 points after eight races to 117 for the Finn and afterwards, he held his hands up for the mistake even though it did not prove costly in the championship race.
“Huge congratulations to Pierre, it is a fantastic result for him and to see him recover and grow,” Hamilton said. “It wasn’t meant to be for me today, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
“I actually enjoyed that bit of a battle, coming back up through the pack. We didn’t do a great job with the pit stop and I take responsibility for not seeing those boards.
“I am delighted to take points after being 20+ seconds off the back of the field.”
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