The magnificent debut of De Vries, the comebacks of Sainz and Hamilton but also the difficult Sunday of Alpine and the hiccup of the safety car, find the tops and flops of the Italian Grand Prix.
De Vries, first successful
He replaced Alex Albon, victim of an attack of appendicitis, at short notice. Proving twelfth in qualifying ahead of Nicholas Latifi, Nyck De Vries did it again in the race. In the top 10 for most of the race, the Dutchman, who did not make the slightest mistake, took a fine ninth place at the finish for his first race in F1. A masterful performance from the Formula E world champion in 2021. There is no doubt that we should see him again quickly in Formula 1 after such a performance.
It is impossible not to mention the winner of the race in this category. Starting seventh following a penalty of five places for an engine change, Max Verstappen won his eleventh success this season at Monza, the fifth in a row this summer and the 31st in his career. The world champion, on a one-stop strategy, made a huge first stint on his tenders before putting on the mediums and managing the gap with Charles Leclerc, on a two-stop strategy. Another almost perfect race for the number 1 who is approaching a second world crown with 116 points ahead of Leclerc. If the Batavian wins in Singapore in three weeks and the Monegasque does not finish better than eighth, Verstappen could be crowned world champion in early October.
The lifts of Sainz and Hamilton
One started 18th, Carlos Sainz, the other started from 19th position, Lewis Hamilton. At the finish, the two drivers finished in the top 5. Carlos Sainz could even have climbed onto the podium without the safety car (see below) after an excellent first stint on his mediums of more than thirty laps. The Spaniard had a hellish pace on the softs at the end of the race, which could have allowed him to overtake third-placed George Russell. On the Hamilton side, the race started more slowly because after fifteen laps, the Briton was only eleventh. But like Sainz, the Mercedes driver pushed well on his mediums and made a masterful double overtake on Norris and Gasly with his tenders to open the doors of the top 5.
Alpine, zero points
Italy does not succeed in Alpine. The French brand did not score a point at Monza for the second time this season after…Imola. Victim of an engine problem when he was in the top 10, Fernando Alonso was forced to retire halfway through the race. Concerning Esteban Ocon, the French delivered a discreet race and ranked eleventh at the finish, at the gate of the points. A disappointment for the Blues especially since McLaren scored six points thanks to Lando Norris and returned to 18 units from Alpine while the two teams were fighting for fourth place among the constructors.
The end of the race under the safety car
A parody. The FIA has always announced that it wants to avoid at all costs the end of a race under the safety car regime so as not to reproduce the hiccup of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. large widths. While Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire six laps from the finish, the safety car then came out and promised us a breathless end to the race. Missed. The marshals took three laps to clear the Australian’s car, the safety car moved ahead of Russell instead of Verstappen and the latecomers took a long time to overtake the safety car as regulations l ‘authorized. So many mistakes that forced the safety car to stay on track until the end. A ridiculous end to the race and bad publicity for F1.
Aston Martin misses out
Aston Martin remained on four races in a row with points scored but at Monza nothing worked. Eleventh and twelfth on the grid, the green cars had a chance to score points again in Italy but Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll retired. In the end, the only Aston Martin that shone was the safety car, and for the wrong reasons.