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Formula 1

The Italian Grand Prix as it happened

by Matt Beer
13 min read

The 2020 Italian Grand Prix will go down in history as one of Formula 1’s biggest surprises. Here’s how it all unfolded…

Start: Bottas makes a slow getaway from second and is immediately overtaken by Sainz. Norris then goes around the outside of the Mercedes at the Roggia, before Bottas runs wide at the second Lesmo and loses fourth to Perez. Ricciardo follows into the Ascaris to demote Bottas to sixth.

Slow-starter Verstappen is next to challenge Bottas but is instead passed by Stroll.

Albon makes contact with Gasly at the first corner and goes over the run-off, dropping down to 15th.

Order: 1 Hamilton; 2 Sainz; 3 Norris; 4 Perez; 5 Ricciardo; 6 Bottas; 7 Stroll; 8 Verstappen; 9 Ocon; 10 Gasly; 11 Kvyat; 12 Raikkonen; 13 Leclerc; 14 Giovinazzi; 15 Albon; 16 Grosjean; 17 Vettel; 18 Russell; 19 Latifi; 20 Magnussen

Scott Mitchell: “What a first lap for the McLaren drivers! With Bottas struggling and the pace of Sainz and Norris looking genuinely strong this weekend there’s a huge result on the cards today.

“Bottas feared he had a puncture, he’s reporting understeer in right-handers but is told the pressures are OK. That’s another costly start for the second Mercedes.”

Lap 1: Magnussen comes in for a new nose section having picked up damage at the first corner.

Lap 2: Verstappen repasses Stroll around the outside into the first chicane.

Lap 4: Hamilton’s lead over Sainz is 2.6s.

Lap 6: Vettel locks up into the first chicane under pressure from Russell and hits the polystyrene blocks in the run-off. He reports brake failure and slows.

Scott Mitchell: “Ferrari was telling Vettel to stay out of the tow to manage the left-hand side of the car – but the brakes have caught fire and failed. Ferrari’s Monza weekend has somehow got worse.”

Lap 8: Stewards announce that Albon has a 5s time penalty for failing to give Grosjean sufficient room when they were dicing at the first chicane on lap two.

Edd Straw:
“Sainz is doing a particularly outstanding job in second place. He’s 3.5s clear of Norris and building that advantage. With Bottas in traffic, this is laying the foundations for a great result.”

Lap 9:
Perez is putting Norris – who’s unable to keep up with team-mate Sainz – under heavy pressure for third.

Lap 10 gaps:
1 Hamilton; 2 Sainz + 6.9s 3 Norris +10.7s 4 Perez +12.0s; 5 Ricciardo +12.8s; 6 Bottas +13.7s; 7 Verstappen +14.4s; 8 Stroll +16.4s; 9 Ocon +17.4s; 10 Gasly +18.4s

Edd Straw:
“Kvyat, in 11th place, is complaining that he’s being held up by AlphaTauri team-mate Gasly. But seeing as Gasly is parked behind Ocon, I’m not sure there’s much that can be done about that.”

Lap 16:
Bottas, who is now nearly 20s behind Hamilton and still sixth, is being told by Mercedes to take action to reduce temperatures in his car.

Lap 17: Leclerc pits from 14th place, having just been overtaken by the recovering Albon. The Ferrari swaps to hards and rejoins 17th ahead of the delayed Magnussen and early stopper Latifi.

Lap 18: Raikkonen moves to counter Leclerc by pitting and rejoins on hards still comfortably clear of the Ferrari. Gasly makes his pitstop soon afterwards too.

Scott Mitchell: “Norris is on his final warning for track limits (Parabolica, again). He’s been told by his engineer not to do it again. Three warnings = a black/white flag. Any more and it goes to the stewards. There’s less pressure from Perez now, which should help.”

Lap 19: Hamilton’s lead over Sainz is up to 14s, with the other McLaren of Norris a further 4.5s behind.

Lap 20: Magnussen slows and parks on the grass approaching the pit entry to retire his Haas.

Lap 20: Hamilton pits from the race lead just as the safety car is deployed to collect Magnussen. He rejoins second behind Sainz and takes on mediums. Giovinazzi is the only other driver to pit.

Scott Mitchell: “Red Bull’s telling Verstappen that Hamilton just pitted with the pitlane entry closed!”

Edd Straw: “McLaren told Norris that the pitlane entry was shut. So was it shut when Hamilton stopped therefore?”

Order: 1 Sainz; 2 Hamilton (pitted); 3 Norris; 4 Perez; 5 Ricciardo; 6 Bottas; 7 Verstappen; 8 Stroll; 9 Ocon; 10 Kvyat; 11 Albon; 12 Grosjean; 13 Russell; 14 Gasly (pitted); 15 Giovinazzi (pitted); 16 Raikkonen (pitted); 17 Leclerc (pitted); 18 Latifi (pitted)

Lap 21:
Stewards are now investigating Hamilton and Giovinazzi for those pitstops, as Mercedes confirms to its driver that he’s just stopped in a closed pitlane.

Scott Mitchell: “Pretty sure Hamilton will be hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for that.”

Lap 22: The pits are now officially opened, and everyone who was yet to stop comes in bar Stroll.

Order: 1 Hamilton; 2 Stroll (yet to stop); 3 Gasly; 4 Giovinazzi; 5 Raikkonen; 6 Leclerc; 7 Latifi; 8 Sainz; 9 Norris; 10 Bottas; 11 Ricciardo; 12 Perez; 13 Verstappen; 14 Ocon; 15 Kvyat; 16 Russell; 17 Grosjean; 18 Albon

Lap 22: Perez lost ground there with a slow stop.

Lap 24: The safety car comes in.

Scott Mitchell: “Engineer Bono’s told Hamilton he expects a penalty. The sporting regs are pretty clear that it’s a 10-second stop-and-go unless imposed during the final three laps or post-race.”

Lap 24: Leclerc manages to pass both Alfas on the restart lap.

Lap 25: Leclerc slams heavily into the Parabolica barriers after losing control mid-corner. Safety car deployed again, and then a red flag comes out. Leclerc gets out of the car unaided.

Scott Mitchell: “One car out with a brake failure, the other out with a huge crash. Glad Leclerc seems OK. But an utterly miserable home race for Ferrari – given it’s Monza, worse than the two taking each other out in Austria. Sorry, Styria.”

Edd Straw: “Sainz tells the McLaren pitwall that they can still get both cars on the podium if they work together to come through the cars ahead. They’re sixth and seventh now.”

Lap 26:
Giovinazzi is given a 10s stop/go penalty for pitting in a closed pit. Nothing for Hamilton yet.

Scott Mitchell: “Hamilton’s point of contention with the pitlane issue, he says, is there was no red light on entry. So how is he supposed to know, he argues. I suspect that’s what the stewards will be debating right now!”

Red flag period:
Hamilton is now officially awarded his stop/go penalty.

Scott Mitchell: “He’s been told it’s not the pitlane entry light that’s the issue, it’s the panels on the left-hand side of the track.”

Order: 1 Hamilton (penalty to come); 2 Stroll; 3 Gasly; 4 Raikkonen; 5 Giovinazzi (penalty to come): 6 Sainz; 7 Norris; 8 Bottas; 9 Latifi; 10 Ricciardo; 11 Verstappen; 12 Ocon; 13 Kvyat; 14 Perez; 15 Russell; 16 Albon; 17 Grosjean

Red flag period: Norris is now under investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly during the safety car period on the way into the pits.

Edd Straw: “Norris was doing the standard procedure of backing up when a team is double stacking. But it looks like he might have overdone it.”

Red flag period: Hamilton looks like he’s visited the officials to discuss his penalty during the stoppage.

Red flag period: Stroll duly makes his change to mediums under red flag conditions, making him the effective race leader.

Scott Mitchell: “Hamilton’s planning to do the start then pit immediately to serve his 10-second stop-go penalty.”

Red flag period: Stewards decide to take no action over Norris’s pit entry.

Restart lap 28: Hamilton keeps the lead but Stroll makes a slow start and falls to fourth behind Gasly and Raikkonen, who go wheel to wheel into the Roggia. Stroll then shoots over the run-off at the Roggia and falls to fifth.

Verstappen locks up at the first corner and falls into the midfield.

Scott Mitchell: “Stroll bottled it. I’m backing Gasly or Sainz to win.”

Lap 29: Hamilton pits to take his penalty and rejoins last, 19s behind Albon in 16th.

Race order: 1 Gasly; 2 Raikkonen; 3 Giovinazzi; 4 Sainz; 5 Stroll; 6 Norris; 7 Bottas; 8 Ricciardo; 9 Ocon; 10 Kvyat; 11 Perez; 12 Latifi; 13 Grosjean; 14 Verstappen; 15 Russell; 16 Albon; 17 Hamilton

Lap 31: Giovinazzi pits to take his penalty, Verstappen comes in too and retires.

Lap 31 gaps: 1 Gasly; 2 Raikkonen +2.5s; 3 Sainz +3.6s; 4 Stroll +4.6s; 5 Norris +5.7s; 6 Bottas +6.0s; 7 Ricciardo +6.8s; 8 Ocon +8.1s; 9 Kvyat +9.1s; 10 Perez +9.8s; 11 Latifi +11.7s; 12 Grosjean +13.8s; 13 Russell +13.9s; 14 Albon +14.8s; 15 Hamilton +26.3s; 16 Giovinazzi +36.7s

Gary Anderson: “These are the sort of races I used to love when working for a small team.”

Lap 34:
Sainz goes around the outside of Raikkonen into the first corner to take second. He’s 4s behind Gasly.

Edd Straw: “So it’s Sainz versus Gasly then. These are two very determined drivers having great seasons – it could be a hell of a battle.”

Scott Mitchell: “Ferrari’s got almost no chance of winning a race in 2020. It doesn’t even have any cars left in the Italian Grand Prix. But its 2021 driver might, might just win at Monza!”

Lap 35: Stroll takes third from Raikkonen into the Roggia chicane, around the outside. The Racing Point is 6.5s behind leader Gasly with 18 laps to go.

Lap 36: Raikkonen loses another place as Norris cruises past him down the pits straight to take fourth.

Lap 36:
Hamilton has now caught 14th-placed Albon with a string of fastest laps.

Lap 37: Bottas takes fifth from Raikkonen into the first chicane.

Edd Straw: “Engineer Tom Stallard tells Sainz to take care of his tyres so that he has the grip when the time comes to attack. Sainz warns that Gasly has a lot of pace.”

Scott Mitchell:
“Gasly’s at the ‘limit’ with his rear tyres so can’t get away with any more rear slip, but if he keeps going like this the team seems happy.”

Lap 38: Raikkonen falls to seventh as Ricciardo passes him into the first chicane.

Lap 38: Hamilton is still stuck behind Albon and unable to gain any ground.

Scott Mitchell: “Hamilton has caught the train but says ‘I can’t, I’ve got nothing’ as he’s stuck behind Albon. Earlier Bottas said he couldn’t race with these engine modes. The Mercedes has more downforce than its rivals.”

Lap 40 gaps: 1 Gasly; 2 Sainz +3.1s; 3 Stroll +5.8s; 4 Norris +9.1s; 5 Bottas +10.0s; 6 Ricciardo +10.9s; 7 Raikkonen +14.6s; 8 Ocon +15.0s; 9 Kvyat +15.4s; 10 Perez +16.1s

Lap 40: Albon locks up into the first corner and goes wide, meaning a slow exit and an easy pass for 14th for Hamilton.

Lap 41: Hamilton puts an easy pass on Russell down the pits straight to take 13th.

Lap 41:
Sainz is inching closer to Gasly, getting the gap down to 2.7s.

Lap 42: Hamilton up to 12th by passing Grosjean into the first corner.

Lap 43: Raikkonen sinks to eighth as Ocon passes him at the Roggia.

Lap 44: Kvyat passes Raikkonen for eighth at the first corner.

Lap 45: Hamilton takes 11th from Latifi.

Lap 46: Perez overtakes Raikkonen for ninth, meaning Raikkonen will be Hamilton’s next target. The Mercedes easily passes the Alfa before the Ascari chicane and moves into the points.

Lap 47: Sainz is now within 1.5s of Gasly.

Lap 49: Hamilton takes Perez to move into ninth.

Lap 50: Sainz cannot quite get to within DRS range of Gasly.

Edd Straw:
“Sainz is complaining about dirty air – he can’t quite haul himself into DRS range. Gasly is doing a superb job to keep enough of a gap.”

Lap 51:
Hamilton is past Kvyat and into eighth. The Renaults are next ahead of him.

Scott Mitchell: “Hamilton’s done a superb damage limitation job in this race – now up to eighth and losing just six points to Bottas. Who is only 10s up the road.”

Lap 52: Sainz is right with Gasly going onto the final lap…

Lap 53:
…but Gasly holds him off and takes an incredible victory.

Hamilton manages to split the Renaults and take seventh.

Scott Mitchell:
“Well that’s a result for the ages and thoroughly, thoroughly bleeping deserved. Pierre Gasly is exploding over the radio and no wonder why. A heroic performance, what a mega result and job by him and AlphaTauri. Incredibly emotional thank you message from Gasly to the team, this is beautiful. ‘We did it. WE DID IT!'”

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 53 26 1h47m06.056s 1m24.037s 2 25
2 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 53 1 +0.415s 1m23.882s 2 18
3 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 53 0 +3.358s 1m23.897s 1 15
4 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 53 0 +6s 1m24.232s 2 12
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 0 +7.108s 1m23.961s 2 10
6 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 53 0 +8.391s 1m23.898s 2 8
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 26 +17.245s 1m22.746s 3 7
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 53 0 +18.691s 1m24.49s 2 4
9 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 53 0 +22.208s 1m24.479s 2 2
10 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 53 0 +23.224s 1m24.336s 2 1
11 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 53 0 +32.876s 1m24.999s 2 0
12 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 53 0 +35.164s 1m24.785s 2 0
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 53 0 +36.312s 1m24.835s 2 0
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 53 0 +36.593s 1m24.421s 2 0
15 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 53 0 +37.533s 1m24.926s 2 0
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 53 0 +55.199s 1m24.856s 3 0
Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 29 0 DNF 1m25.539s 3 0
Charles Leclerc Ferrari 23 0 DNF 1m26.026s 1 0
Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 17 0 DNF 1m25.787s 1 0
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 5 0 DNF 1m27.107s 1 0
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