The Italian Grand Prix is now history! While Carlos Sainz provided a glimmer of hope for the Tifosi during Saturday’s qualifying, it didn’t translate into a victory on Sunday. Once more, Red Bull Racing stole the spotlight, with Max Verstappen adding another impressive Formula One record to his name.
Winning the Italian Grand Prix would have been a tremendous boost to the confidence and morale of Scuderia Ferrari team members and fans. Charles Leclerc had achieved such a feat for the Italian squad several years ago, but this time, all eyes were on Carlos Sainz. He had shown his potential by topping two of the three Free Practice Sessions, with Max Verstappen leading the first one. However, the crucial qualifying session was up next, determining the starting grid for the main event.
In an unexpected turn of events, the Spaniard found himself in P7 at the end of Q1, with both Williams drivers even faster. Seeing Alexander Albon in P2 just behind Verstappen was quite surprising, and the tension grew with Callum Ilott securing P6. Nevertheless, the battle was far from over as the next session approached. Max Verstappen continued to set the pace in Q2, running on Medium tires and posting a lap time of just under one minute and 21 seconds.
Leclerc and Sainz were in close pursuit in P2 and P3, while Alex Albon had slipped to P4. Mercedes-AMG fans were hoping for a miracle, with Lewis Hamilton in P5 and George Russell in P6. However, the decisive moment would come in Q3, as the remaining ten drivers switched to soft tires and pushed their limits.
With seven minutes left in the session, Verstappen and Perez were leading the pack. However, as Formula 1 fans know, the final starting grid often takes shape in the last few seconds of Q3. The top nine drivers in Q3 managed to dip below the one-minute and 21-second mark, with Carlos Sainz securing Pole Position by a narrow margin ahead of Max Verstappen. Charles Leclerc closely followed while George Russell and Sergio Perez were not far behind.
Unfortunately, Yuki Tsunoda experienced an engine failure on race day before the race even began. Max Verstappen wasted no time and quickly overtook Sainz in lap 15, maintaining his lead until the end of the race. It marked his tenth consecutive victory of the season, setting yet another F1 record, surpassing Sebastian Vettel’s previous record. Red Bull Racing had a flawless race, with Sergio Perez finishing in P2, just six seconds behind Max. Carlos Sainz secured a bittersweet result for Ferrari, claiming P3, marking his first podium since the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. His epic duel with Charles Leclerc toward the end of the race added extra excitement for fans.
The gap between the two Ferrari drivers was less than 0.2 seconds, while George Russell crossed the finish line over ten seconds later. Lewis Hamilton trailed behind and had Albon, Norris, and Alonso closely pursuing him. With Round 16 in Singapore coming up in two weeks, Max Verstappen has extended his lead in the championship to 364 points. Sergio Perez trails by 145 points, and Fernando Alonso currently holds P3. Lewis Hamilton is just six points behind, keeping the hope alive for a podium finish by the end of the season. However, one can’t help but wonder if Ferrari’s talented drivers have given up on that dream.
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