Leclerc claims hard-earned Italian GP victory in front of home fans at Monza

Last Wednesday at 10:19 AM | Category: Formula One

Charles Leclerc put on a masterful performance to give Ferrari a resounding home victory in the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix 2019 at Monza on Sunday. 

Leclerc fended off a tough challenge first from Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton, and then against Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas to claim his second-ever F1 win, just eight days after his first one in Belgium.

The result was Ferrari’s 19th triumph in Monza and first since 2010, while it also was the Scuderia's 237th overall in the top flight.

Leclerc started from pole and did well to fight off a hard-charging Hamilton at the first corner.

 


Hamilton stayed close early on in the race, but the combination of Ferrari’s speed, a new power unit and Leclerc’s poise gave his rival little to no chance to overtake. In the closing stages, meanwhile, it was Bottas who was hot on his tail. The gap between them shrunk to just over half-a-second as they neared the finish, but Leclerc did just enough to claim the chequered flag, much to the delight of the predominantly Ferrari faithful in the stands.

Leclerc clinched first place in a winning time of one hour 15 minutes 26.665 seconds. Bottas was the runner-up just 0.835s behind, while Hamilton took the final podium step a distant 35.199s back.

The Renault pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg were also in fine form, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, while Alexander Albon of Red Bull Racing was sixth for his second successive impressive finish.

Finishing from seventh through 10th were Sergio Perez of Racing Point, Max Verstappen in the other Red Bull despite starting from the back row, Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo Racing and Lando Norris of McLaren.

 


After his win, Leclerc commented: “There are no words to describe the emotions I felt during the race, after the race, or on the podium. It felt 10 times stronger than anything I have ever experienced in my whole career. It was very special.


“When I arrive at a race weekend, I usually don’t think about winning, I just try to do the best job possible and tell myself that the results will come. But to be honest, seeing all of the support from our tifosi here in Monza this weekend, the only thing I could think of was winning and that’s what we did, so I am very happy.

“The race was exciting. The first stint was quite controlled, but the second stint was a bit less strong on my side, because I had to focus on the car behind me a lot as the gap was closing. It was very difficult and I had a lot of pressure on me.


“I’d like to thank the whole team for all their hard work. Nothing would be possible without them. For the next few races, we have to keep our focus, our motivation, and hopefully the results will follow.”

 


Leclerc improved to 182 points in fourth place on the Drivers’ Championship standings, where he remained behind Hamilton (284pts), Bottas (221pts) and Verstappen (185pts).

On the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes remained in first place with 505 points, while Ferrari stayed second with 351. Red Bull were third on 266 points.

The season resumes with the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 22.

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