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ITLAIAN GP – Charles Leclerc takes Ferrari’s first home win in nine years battling both Mercedes

Charles Leclerc has taken back to back wins securing Ferrari’s first home win at the Italian Grand Prix for the first time since 2010. The Monacan once again held off Mercedes Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to take victory as they threw everything at him to try and denied Ferrari a home win.

Leclerc had to fight single handily after teammate Sebastian Vettel spun out and dropped to the back following a spin early on. That left him on his own to defend off the two Mercedes for the middle part of the race. Hamilton chased him for over a third of the race, and Mercedes tried switching drivers around.

Leclerc’s driving wasn’t perfect as there were questionable moves from the twenty one year old. But became the first driver to take two wins back to back following his maiden win since Hamilton in North America in 2007.

Bottas was given second after Hamilton made a minor mistake in the closing stages. Leclerc’s win underlines his status as the next big star, as he can really celebrate following the death at Spa of Anthoine Herbert. He withstood the pressure to give the Tosfi their first home win since 2010 and move ahead of Vettel in the championship.

Leclerc said: “I did a few mistakes but at the end I finished first. Very happy with this. I need to be careful with the mistakes but none of them made me lose position today.”

Bottas said: “I think we had some good strategy for me but I am gutted. I tried everything to get him but there was no way past. There was front locking from the loss of downforce and they are so fast in a straight line.”

Hamilton “Charles did a great job. A lot of pressure from Valtteri and me. I did the best I could. Following so closely for such a long time. The tyres went off, they were so quick in a straight line.”

Again, Vettel will be under pressure as another mistake saw him spin while running fourth collecting the Racing Point of Lance Stroll on lap eight. He spun out and dropped to the back as well as earning himself a ten second stop and go for re-joining the track unsafely.

The harshest possible penalty short of disqualification, while Stroll’s was deemed slightly less severe and he was hit with a drive-through. Vettel also got three penalty points. That’s nine for the 12-month period, three more and he gets a race ban.

Renault had another strong race, with Daniel Ricciardo fourth and Nico Hulkenberg fifth. Ricciardo had fallen behind teammate Hulkenberg in the early laps, but re-passed him soon after his pit stop and built his advantage.

Alex Albon was sixth following a battle with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, the British-Thai driver ran off track as he tried to pass the Spaniard. Sergio Perez took advantage of an early virtual safety car around his pitstop window to finish seventh, despite starting eighteenth.

It was a very good strong drive by Max Verstappen, the Dutchman recovered from contact on the opening lap to recover to finished eighth ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi.

It was a mixed afternoon for McLaren, while Lando Norris took the final point following his last lap retirement in Spa last week. The team failed to score a double points finish, after Sainz was forced to retire as the team failed to attach the wheel properly.

McLaren have been given a €5000 fine for a unsafe release.

While it was Forza Ferrari, the same could not be said for the second Italian team Toro Rosso. Daniil Kvyat was forced to retire following his pit stop following what appeared to be an engine failure. Teammate Pierre Gasly could only manage eleventh.

Behind Vettel, it was another strong race for George Russell showing that Williams are making progress after finishing ahead of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen. Robert Kubica was the final finisher, two laps down in seventeenth.

Kevin Magnussen was the last to retire, he had already dropped out of the points when he locked up at the Goodyear Chicane and took to the run-off.

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Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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