SEVEN things we learned from the F1 Italian Grand Prix

Pierre Gasly completes a redemption story for the ages, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes do make mistakes and McLaren back on their way to the top… SEVEN things we learned from the Italian Grand Prix

  • Pierre Gasly produced one of Formula One’s biggest shocks to win the Italian GP
  • A Lewis Hamilton penalty led to the French driver claiming incredible Monza win
  • McLaren finished second and fourth to show continued progression this term
  • More misery compounded on Ferrari who weren’t even the quickest Italian team 
  • Alex Albon’s future at Red Bull becomes even more precarious with Gasly’s win  

The 2020 Italian Grand Prix produced one of the most spectacular results in Formula One history.

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly became a grand prix winner in a fairy tale ending to an epic race, ahead of Carlos Sainz in the McLaren and Lance Stroll’s Racing Point.

And after a tale of the unexpected, we look at the seven things that we learned from Monza.

Pierre Gasly (centre) stunned F1 to win the Italian GP from Carlos Sainz (left) and Lance Stroll

It was his first Formula One victory and the first for a Frenchman since Olivier Panis in 1996

For Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes it was a race which unravelled when they were cruising

Pierre Gasly completes the ultimate redemption arc

Not much more than a year ago, Gasly had been demoted by Red Bull and lost his close friend Anthoine Hubert.

A podium in Brazil ended the 2019 season on a high, but nobody would have expected the stunning chapter of his story of redemption at Monza.

The 24-year-old became the first Frenchman to win a grand prix since 1996 and the first driver outside of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull to win in 147 races.

It was a crazy race with the perfect mix of events to set up a surprise winner, but after what he has been through over the past 18 months, Gasly’s win was one of the greatest feel-good moments the sport has had in a long time.

Pierre Gasly had a lot to reflect on after his victory capped off a rollercoaster 18 months

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton make mistakes after all 

The race was at Hamilton’s mercy all weekend. He grabbed pole position – even with their ‘party mode’ to boost engine performance being banned – and stormed off to a considerable lead in the early stages.

But when Kevin Magnussen’s Haas broke down near the pit entry, it all unravelled for Hamilton and Mercedes. 

Hamilton didn’t notice the boards saying the pitlane was closed and by the time Mercedes had realised it was already too late as the Brit was coming through the pitlane.

It was a race win thrown away but ultimately they lead both championships by quite some way, and Hamilton’s drive-back to seventh means he only lost three points to a struggling Valtteri Bottas – his chief challenger in the title battle.

Hamilton received a ten-second stop-go penalty for pitting when the pit-lane was closed

McLaren back on their way to the top 

Sainz finished second at the Italian Grand Prix and on pace this is where he would have likely finished, even with a normal race.

The Spaniard and Lando Norris both jumped Bottas at the start and were holding their own inside the top three.

Immediately after the race there was a sense of disappointment within the McLaren camp as they finished just 0.415 seconds off Pierre Gasly in what would have been their first victory since Jenson Button at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.

But second and fourth for Norris is a fantastic result for McLaren, and it has been a long time since they were the second fastest car on a race weekend. If they continue this rise, then a win may not be too far away.

Sainz was disappointed to miss out on the win by four tenths of a second after a late charge

Ferrari are not even the quickest Italian team

Ferrari would have been disappointed if they were told at the start of the season that the Italian national anthem would be ringing out on the podium at Monza for another team. 

The team weren’t expecting a good weekend and would have been hoping for some chaos to provide some good opportunities.

However neither driver even finished the race, with Sebastian Vettel retiring with a brake failure and Charles Leclerc’s crash bringing out the red-flag which helped spark the race’s chaos.

AlphaTauri’s win mean they are now just 14 points behind Ferrari who are sixth in the constructors’ championship, and on recent form, look likely to soon overtake them.

Next up is Ferrari’s 1,000th race at a track they own in Mugello and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

It was a miserable weekend for Ferrari at their home-track as they both failed to finish the race

Valtteri Bottas lacks ruthlessness of his team-mate 

The Italian Grand Prix was a blown opportunity for Bottas who could not capitalise on a rare bad weekend for Hamilton.

A poor start saw him drop to sixth on the first lap and he never raced higher than fifth all afternoon as he struggled to get past the cars ahead of him.

After the race he complained of overheating issues with the engine running in traffic, though this didn’t prevent Hamilton from coming from the back of the field to claw his way up to seventh by the end of the race.  

The car might not have been behaving as he would have liked, but he lacked the ruthlessness of Hamilton who made the moves which were required.

It was a race he really should have won and he won’t get many better opportunities to put a significant dent in Hamilton’s huge advantage as he had today.

Valtteri Bottas struggled in the pack after falling from second to sixth on the opening lap

Alex Albon in danger of a Red Bull demotion

Things went from bad to worse for Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix – a weekend in which questions of his Red Bull future will only increase.

The Thai-British driver was unlucky to get caught up in a tangle with Gasly on the opening lap which resulted in floor damage which cost him up to a second a lap of performance for the duration of the race.

However when he badly needed a good performance, to finish in 15th place while the driver in the junior team is spraying the champagne as victor, would have been a bitter pill to swallow for Albon.

Questions of swapping Gasly and Albon back around are undoubtedly louder after the Frenchman’s stunning victory and Red Bull will have a big decision to make. 

Although being team-mates with Max Verstappen has proven a poisoned chalice in recent years so Gasly might just be content with the AlphaTauri seat for the moment.

Alex Albon could face a drop back to the Red Bull junior team following Gasly’s Italian victory

Formula One is not boring

Yes, the recent Spanish and Belgian Grand Prix were far from thrillers, but an exhilarating race at Monza showed just why we love the sport.   

With Mercedes’ mistakes and Red Bull nowhere to be seen, it threw up one of the most unpredictable results in the sport’s history with three drivers on the podium who have rarely got that opportunity in their careers so far. 

This doesn’t guarantee exciting races in the upcoming events and it’s inevitable there will be some dull races. However, races like Monza, the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix and the first weekend at Silverstone all left people buzzing with excitement after the chequered flag. 

The right track, overtaking chances, different strategies and chances of safety car all create an interesting race. The action in the midfield has been fantastic all season, though a team challenging the Mercedes dominance is needed to spice things up at the top. 

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