This last weekend, Formula 1 said buongiorno to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza and the tifosi for the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. While the hometown team in red started promising from the start, it was none other than Red Bull Racing that inevitably snagged gold and silver.
1. Red Bull resumed the mic test. The Austrian team bagged its fifth 1-2 finish of the season. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) cruised to a second Italian GP victory, drama-free for the most part. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) followed suit after attempting to escape the Rosso Corsa sandwich at the tail end of the race.
To no one’s surprise, the young Dutch earned his 10th consecutive win in the season, beating Sebastian Vettel’s old record of nine in 2013, while the team also celebrated its 15th constructors’ victory in a row.
2. AlphaTauri left impressed and disappointed. After a crash occurred during FP2 in the Dutch GP, Daniel Ricciardo (AlphaTauri) sustained a broken hand, leaving his spot open for Red Bull Junior Team driver Liam Lawson until the Honey Badger recovers. After an impressive P13 finish in Zandvoort, the Kiwi continued to improve by finishing P11 in front of the team’s home crowd.
On the other hand, engine problems loomed over Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) during the formation lap on the long straight before Curva Parabolica. The stuck AT04 resulted in a 20-minute delayed race start and a did-not-start for the Japanese driver.
3. Alex Albon was on fire from start to finish. As if a fantastic performance during qualifying wasn’t enough, Alex Albon (Williams) finished P7 in front of the two papaya machines. Lando Norris (McLaren) was the immediate threat for the most part, yet the FW45 managed to keep the two MCL60s at bay.
That being said, Oscar Piastri (McLaren) surprisingly bagged the fastest lap of the entire race, but unfortunately finished P12, concluding with no extra point in his pocket.
4. Mercedes-AMG couldn’t catch a break. While the Silver Arrows finished together in P5 and P6, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the British duo. As he exited the pitlane, George Russell (Mercedes-AMG) was side-by-side with Esteban Ocon (Alpine), and a ballsy move into the first corner gained Russell a position outside of track limits.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG) tussled with Piastri going into Turn 4, running both cars off and leaving the Australian with a broken front wing. As a result, both Mercedes drivers received a five-second penalty.
5. Ferrari was so close yet so far. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) sparked a glimmer of hope for the team and its hometown fans when, by some miracle, he qualified on pole with a time of 1:20.294. For 14 laps of the race, the Spaniard managed to hold his position until reigning champ Verstappen took the lunge on Lap 15.
Sainz continued to defend with all of his might against Checo—with one or two mishaps into Turn 1—until six laps remaining. After that, it was an inter-team fight for third with Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), which gave viewers multiple near misses of another heartbreak.
Ultimately, Sainz finished on the podium in P3, and won the hearts of the tifosi to earn “Driver of the Day.”
The F1 circus will continue to move to Asia, starting with the Singapore Grand Prix. A revised layout was announced due to construction around Turns 16-19, so slightly faster lap times will be expected when the September 17 race comes around.