Verstappen wins Italian GP


Max Verstappen won the 2022 Italian Grand Prix under the Safety Car, with pole-sitter Charles Leclerc finishing runner-up as Red Bull denied Ferrari a home victory at Monza.

After the paddock paid their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, the mixed-up grid lined up behind Leclerc and fellow front-row starter George Russell in the Mercedes, both eschewing the general consensus of medium tyres to begin on new softs along with Verstappen, Williams’ debutant Nyck de Vries, and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

From P7 on the grid, Verstappen made it into the top three by Lap 4 and took P2 off Russell a lap later. The Dutchman then led as, during a Virtual Safety Car (for Sebastian Vettel’s DNF on Lap 12), Leclerc pitted from softs to mediums.

Verstappen extended his first stint and swapped for mediums on Lap 26, relinquishing the lead back to Leclerc, who then pitted a second time for soft tyres on Lap 33. The Monegasque driver had a tyre advantage over Verstappen, but a 20-second deficit to claw back by Lap 53.

The Dutchman seemed assured of a comfortable victory until a Safety Car on Lap 48, for the stationary McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo. That allowed the top five to pit for softs anticipating a restart.

Ricciardo’s car seemed immovable, however, and the ticker reached Lap 53 and the chequered flag with the field behind the Safety Car – giving Verstappen a slim but altogether comfortable victory over Leclerc and allowing Russell to retain the final podium place. (F1)

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