De Vries’ magnificent debut, Sainz and Hamilton’s comebacks, but also Alpine’s difficult Sunday and the safety car’s hiccups, find the peak and the flop in the Italian Grand Prix.
De Vries, success first
He replaced Alex Albon, victim of a bout of appendicitis, at short notice. Nyck De Vries appeared twelfth in qualifying ahead of Nicholas Latifi and did so again in the race. In the top 10 for most of the race, the Dutchman, who did not make the slightest mistake, finished a fine ninth for his first race in F1. A masterful performance from the Formula E World Champion in 2021. There is no doubt that we will soon see him again in Formula 1 after such a performance.
Of course Verstappen
It is impossible not to mention the winner of the race in this category. Starting seventh after a five-place penalty for an engine change, Max Verstappen claimed his 11th success of the season at Monza, the fifth in a row this summer and the 31st of his career. The world champion, on a one-stop strategy, made a big first stop on his bids before turning on the media and clearing the gap with Charles Leclerc, on a two-stop strategy. Another near-perfect race for the number 1, closing in on a second world crown by 116 points ahead of Leclerc. If the Batavian wins in Singapore in three weeks’ time and the Monegasque finishes no better than eighth, Verstappen could be crowned world champion in early October.
The lifts in Sainz and Hamilton
One started 18th, Carlos Sainz, the other started from 19th position, Lewis Hamilton. At the end, the two drivers finished in the top 5. Carlos Sainz could even have climbed onto the podium without a safety car (see below) after an excellent first stint on his media of more than thirty laps. The Spaniard had a hell of a pace on the softs at the end of the race, which could have allowed him to overtake George Russell, who was third. On the Hamilton side, the race started more slowly, as after fifteen laps the Briton was only 11th. But like Sainz, the Mercedes driver pushed well on his media and made a masterful double overtake on Norris and Gasly with his bids to open the doors to the top 5.
Alpine, zero points
Italy is not successful in Alpine. The French marque failed to score a point at Monza for the second time this season after… Imola. Fernando Alonso fell victim to an engine problem while in the top 10 and was forced to retire halfway through the race. As for Esteban Ocon, the Frenchman delivered a discreet race, finishing 11th at the points gate. A disappointment for the Blues, especially as McLaren scored six points thanks to Lando Norris and returned to within 18 units of Alpine as the two teams battled for fourth place among the constructors.
The end of the race under the safety car
A parody. The FIA has always announced that it will avoid at all costs the end of a race under the safety car regime in order not to reproduce the hiccups in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021. wide widths. While Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire six laps from the finish, the safety car then came out and promised us a breathless finish to the race. Missing. The marshals took three laps to clear the Australian’s car, the safety car moved ahead of Russell instead of Verstappen, and the stragglers took a long time to overtake the safety car once the rules were approved. 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 is missing out
Aston Martin remained on four consecutive races with points, but in 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.