We expected a boring ride, instead, we got chaos. Hamilton foul, safety car, red flag, two starts, and excitement in every possible quantity!
Even if the winner’s name wasn’t the subject of many discussions before the race, the other podium placements generated all the more heat.
McLaren’s strong qualifying lap was an encouraging sign, however, this was hardly a guarantee that the starting positions would be kept after a few laps. Lewis Hamilton got a tremendous start behind the wheel of Mercedes, and Carlos Sainz also came out strong. The most surprising, however, was Lando Norris’s crazy “slingshot” start: while the Brit got up to third immediately, Valtteri Bottas fell greatly behind thanks to his botched start.
A little more behind, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen were battling it out, the latter pursuing Bottas aggressively, with the clear intention of getting in front of him, so he could keep his combined lead. The race would have started to set into a groove, when Sebastian Vettel ploughed through run-off area of the first corner due to a brake malfunction, rolling back to the pits – ending the German’s run.
A little afterwards, Kevin Magnussen also looked like he wants to quit, and this had a tremendous impact on the race. The Dane stopped at the exterior or the entrance to the pits due to an engine malfunction – and the racers immediately leapt to change their tyres. Well, they would have, because the pits were closed: both Antionio Giovanizzi and Lewis Hamilton fell into this error, resulting a 10-second penalty. Gasly barely got in before them and changed his set to fresh medium tyres… The icing on the cake was that during the safety car phase underway, Charles Leclerc had an accident in the Parabolica, having the race interrupted. Thus ended Scuderia Ferrari’s home turf race.
This was followed by another standing start, with Hamilton at the forefront, but with the knowledge that he had to take his penalty within three laps. This was the moment when it was all but certain that Mercedes was not going to take home the gold this afternoon, but rather a surprise winner would arise. Only one question remained: who would be the winner?
Pierre Gasly with Alpha Tauri or Carlos Sainz of McLaren? Well, probably due to the Honda engine, Sainz could not make up enough of his disadvantage to pose any real danger to Gasly, so the Frenchman took home his first ever Grand Prix victory. Third place behind them was taken by Stroll. It was amazing…
Photo: XPB Images
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