Frenchman Pierre Gasly has claimed his first-ever Grand Prix victory in a miraculous Italian Grand Prix in Monza on Sunday where none of the big three teams finished on the podium.
The remarkable win was AlphaTauri-Honda’s first ever victory as a constructor, with the Italian-Austrian team jubilant on home soil, while Gasly finished ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Racing Point-BWT Mercedes’s Lance Stroll who both finished on the podium for the second time in their careers.
Mercedes had a difficult race with championship leader Lewis Hamilton finishing seventh after receiving a 10-second stop and go penalty for pitting when the pit lane was closed after Kevin Magnussen’s withdrawal.
As a result, Hamilton, who had been on pole, dropped to the back of the field but worked his way through the field, recording the fastest lap and finishing seventh.
His teammate Valtteri Bottas had an unhappy time too, struggling for power early after starting from second and falling back to sixth, before finishing fifth without ever threatening the leaders.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had a power unit issue which led to his team opting to retire him in the 30th lap. Ferrari had a race to forget on home turf, with Sebastian Vettel’s brakes failing, while Charles Leclerc crashed out with that incident causing the significant delay in the race that enabled Gasly’s victory.
Gasly benefited from pitting early before Magnussen’s withdrawal on lap 17 forced the pit lane to be shut and the safety car to appear. Most drivers pitted when the safety car with withdrawn before Leclerc crashed out on lap 23, leading to red flags and a restart.
From the restart Gasly gained the lead as Stroll stumbled while Hamilton took his penalty and the AlphaTauri wouldn’t be headed, despite a final lap attack from Sainz.
“After the re-start I think we had 28 laps to go,” Gasly said.
“I managed to pass Lance into Turn 1 and I think this really helped me for the rest of the race. Lewis pitted, I think on lap 1 (after the restart).
“And then after that I was on my own, just reminding me of my Formula 2 days, when you are just leading the race, focusing on your own driving corner by corner.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton and Mercedes’ error cost them significant points in the championship race, although he remains 47 points clear of Bottas, while Verstappen missing out in Italy and another seven behind the Finn.
Hamilton was punished for entering the pits when two marshaling light boards within his sight were illuminated to indicate pit lane was temporarily shut after Magnussen’s withdrawal.
“It was a bit unfortunate but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” Hamilton said.
“We didn’t do a great job necessarily with the pit stop. Honestly, I didn’t see those boards, so I take responsibly for that its something I will learn from.”