- AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly wins remarkable 2020 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix at Monza
- Frenchman was the beneficiary of Lewis Hamilton penalty and race red flag, finishing ahead of Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll
- Hamilton seventh, as Ferrari suffer double home retirement to compound Scuderia misery
MONZA, ITALY – On the back of Pierre Gasly’s sensational win in Lombardy on Sunday, what did we learn from the 70th Italian Grand Prix at Monza?
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What a remarkable 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
In its 70th and most surreal edition, it was perhaps fitting then that it was Pierre Gasly who became the 109th different race winner, claiming an extraordinary maiden Formula 1 victory at Monza.
Taking advantage of Lewis Hamilton‘s ten-second penalty for a pit stop infringement, coupled with a race red flag on Lap 27 following Charles Leclerc‘s crash at Parabolica, Gasly found himself leading the GP after the restart.
After fending off the advances of Lance Stroll in the Racing Point, the former Red Bull driver then held Carlos Sainz at bay in the closing laps, claiming victory over the Spaniard by mere metres.
As AlphaTauri celebrated a hugely unexpected race win on home tarmac, the Frenchman became the first French GP winner since Olivier Panis at Monaco in 1996.
On a day that had threatened to be another procession for Mercedes at the Temple of Speed, Monza served up a classic to remind us all that F1 can still thrill with the right ingredients.
Take note F1 head honchos.
Gasly rewarded for perseverance
For Gasly, Sunday’s win was reward after a difficult few seasons for the 24-year-old having been shunted to and fro between manufacturers.
Dropped by Red Bull mid-way through last season for Alex Albon, Gasly was relegated to junior team Toro Rosso last August.
Finishing narrowly behind Hamilton in Brazil last term however, the Roeun native recorded his best race result of runner-up at Interlagos, as the renamed AlphaTauri then took over, retaining Gasly with Daniil Kvyat for this season.
A visibly emotive vision on the podium as La Marseillaise drained from the circuit PA system, as he told BBC Sport post-race, Gasly was overwhelmed by his ‘very special moment’.
“I had a lot of things in my mind. My family, my friends, my brother, all the people who supported me and kept pushing me all the time.
You just remember everything you have gone through. And I was just trying to imagine all these people and the tifosi who should be there. It was a very special moment.”
Having impressed his peers in this campaign with a trio of top-eight finishes, Gasly’s win would have been welcomed across the paddock.
Except perhaps by a former and smarting boss in Christian Horner, who would have been left eating a large slice of humble pie.
Red flag adds much-needed spice
Sunday’s victory from and unlikely source was the injection the 2020 season was in desperate need of after Mercedes’ re-assumed dominance in recent weeks.
With Hamilton having established a 50-point World Drivers’ Championship lead after the opening seven races, the Briton’s seventh pole in Italy suggested another romp for the 35-year-old.
Indeed, for the first half of the race Hamilton appeared set for his a milestone 90th win, before incurring his pit stop penalty.
Together with Antonio Giovinazzi, the Briton’s accrued ten-second penalty, accompanied by Leclerc’s off shortly after, saw the red flag shown spark the Italian GP into life.
With Hamilton suddenly at the back of the pack, eyes were on not only the six-time champion as he attempted to close a 30-second gap to the leader, but on Gasly himself, as he chased a F1 precious win.
On the back of seven rounds that have largely been an exercise in Mercedes’ monopoly, this weekend on the fastest track on the calendar served up a much-needed treat for F1 fans still left supporting from afar.
Ferrari nightmares compounded…
As AlphaTauri were left jubilant at Monza, the fallen Italian idols of Ferrari however, were again left to lick their wounds on home soil.
Enduring another nightmare F1 weekend, Scuderia’s double retirement compounded Team boss Mattia Binotto‘s misery this season.
Already enduring the latest blow with Sebastian Vettel‘s early retirement, Leclerc’s mid-race heavy exit saw the Scuderia duo fail to finish for the second time in eight races this season.
A blessing in disguise the Monza terraces were barren of home support, Ferrari will at the very least have been thankful their latest ‘cattiva prestazione’ was not witnessed by a likely baying thousands.
…but Sainz offers tifosi hope
Whilst the Prancing Horse appears to have bolted from the stable door, Sainz however, continues to inspire hope for Ferrari next year.
Coming within a literal second of victory at Monza, the McLaren driver would have been ruing the lack of another lap on Sunday, but nevertheless opened a window into his next employers and their adoring tifosi could expect in 2021.
Set to step into Vettel’s frustrated tracks in just three month’s time, Sainz again showed his maturity and hunger to win; a cocktail vital in the eyes of Scuderia fans.
A win for Sainz would have been not only a perfect tribute his growing status in F1, but in setting up his debut year in the famous red colours next term.
Victory was denied him of course, but having come so close to glory, Sainz will undoubtedly want a taste for more with Scuderia. If not before.
The 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix takes place this weekend in San Piero, Italy.
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