F1: Charles Leclerc gives Ferrari home victory at Italian Grand Prix | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 08.09.2019
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F1: Charles Leclerc gives Ferrari home victory at Italian Grand Prix

The last time a Ferrari driver won at home in Monza was 2010, but talented 21-year-old Charles Leclerc changed all that with a strong drive. His teammate Sebastian Vettel had another tough day, though.

A week after his first career grand prix victory, Charles Leclerc secured his second as his promising career begins to take off.

The Ferrari driver sealed a memorable home victory at Monza, holding off an immense amount of pressure from Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas throughout the race. All three drivers made errors, notably when braking into the chicanes, and those small errors proved costly in a tight race.

"I've never been so tired," said Leclerc afterward. "This is a dream come true. The win in Spa was a dream, but to do it here was an even bigger dream. Thank you."

Hamilton admitted both during the race and afterward that Leclerc was just faster on the day. The Briton applied a lot of early pressure, but eventually his medium tires prevented him from making a last push. Teammate Bottas had the chance to do so, but locked up at key times before running out of laps.

The home crowd at Monza were delighted at Ferrari's first home victory since 2010

The home crowd at Monza were delighted at Ferrari's first home victory since 2010

When Fernando Alonso won in Italy for Ferrari back in 2010, Leclerc was just 12 years old. Fast forward to 2019, and it's Leclerc standing on top of the podium. The Monegasque did extremely well to hold off Hamilton, keep his nerve and, for the most part, prevent braking too soon into the chicanes.

The victory lifts Leclerc 13 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings. Vettel had a day to forget, suffering a 10-second stop-and-go penalty that saw him finish 13th. "It was a good day for the team but not one for me," Vettel said afterwards. In truth, it was a nightmare weekend forthe German who was left frustrated after a chaotic qualifying session. 

Hamilton still leads, 63 points ahead of Mercedes teammate Bottas, with seven races to go. The drivers have a small break before racing continues in Singapore on September 20.

As it happened:

Top four: 1. Leclerc 2. Bottas 3. Hamilton 4. Ricciardo

53/53 CHARLES LECLERC WINS THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX! A superb drive by Leclerc who held his nerve and kept his pace and did well with his braking too. That's a first win for Ferrari at home since 2010. What a moment for him and for them. Spare a thought for Sebastian Vettel though. Not quite the homecoming he imagined.

52/53 Without that error, it might have been an incredible finish. Leclerc is closing in here, to the delight of the home crowd. Hamilton takes the fastest lap, as expected. 

51/53 Bottas makes another error though, braking too late in the chicane. That might cost him! Leclerc has won this one, I think.

50/53 Hamilton does pit! He wants that fastest lap point... He makes it out in time to keep third. Leclerc suddenly looks to be struggling on his tires. Bottas is very close. Just three laps left...

48/53 Is that the moment? Bottas has a poor final sector and Leclerc's lead rises to 1.8s. It's back down to 1.6 a lap later. I think Bottas might run out of laps... Albon is within 2.3s of Hülkenberg. Could be a tense finish there.

47/53 Bottas is told "This is your win, Valtteri." Talk about motivation. Have to say though, Leclerc has driven superbly here. Can he keep doing so for the final few laps? This is the final stretch. The gap is down to 1s.

46/53 Hamilton says his tires have had it. He's driving much slower now, but it should be enough for third. Bottas is driving faster and posts the fastest lap. Just 8 laps to go. Magnussen is out. Tough. What do Mercedes do now? Does Hamilton come in and take hards to push finally? He has the lead over fourth...

43/53 Oh! Hamilton takes the escape road on the first corner, to the delight of the Ferrari crowd and the box. Brakes too late. "Hunt him down" is the message to Bottas, who takes second as Hamilton weaves his way through the escape road. Perhaps this is just smart strategy from Mercedes. Bottas was driving faster... Vettel has to pit with another penalty. Bottas is on fresher tires. He's 1.8s behind.

42/53 The only concern for Hülkenberg is Albon, and he's a second per lap quicker. The German will have to do well. Bottas is driving faster than Hamilton. Leclerc told to be wary of his brakes into the chicane. The pressure is on. Verstappen is into 9th - that means points!

40/53 Hamilton is concerned about his tires, but he's told to keep applying pressure. This is a great battle! Leclerc proving himself to be as talented as many said he would be. Bottas is closing in on Hamilton. Ricciardo and Hülkenberg have quite the gap between each other, let alone from the front three. They just have to keep it tight. It's the front three that remains intriguing.


38/53 Bottas, meanwhile, closes in. He's just 4.1s off the lead now. Hamilton wants Leclerc's dangerous driving, near the chicane, looked into but the officials say now. Bottas should be within striking distance of Hamilton in four laps. Then the pair can attack Leclerc, if that's the plan.

37/53 Hamilton keeps applying pressure, lamenting on the radio "I need more power man."Leclerc brakes too late into the first chicane, takes the run off but Hamilton is really all over him. The home crowd really wants the Ferrari man to hold on, and so far he is holding off the Mercedes. Albon is into 6th, sliding past Giovinazzi. 

33/53 That pit stop has worked wonders for the Renault pair who might well have secured fourth and fifth if they drive well and have no problems for the last 20 laps. Vettel is in 11th by the way. He must be on autopilot, furious at how the weekend has gone. Leclerc's lead at the front is down to 0.4s...

31/53 Ricciardo pits, and it's well timed too as VSC comes back out as Kvyat's race is over - straight after the pit too. The engine just died. Verstappen is back to 12th, but still surging. Leclerc's lead is 0.7s.

30/53 Bottas pits and takes medium. He rejoins in fourth, but soon takes back third. Sainz pit goes wrong and his wheels come loose as he leaves the pit so the VSC is out. Sainz's race is over. Leclerc can take a moment to breathe, as can Hamilton, but then we are back racing by the next lap. The two are so close!

27/53 The midfeld gaps are open. Norris is 5s behind Magnussen in 13th. All to play for. Leclerc sails past Ricciardo on the straight. Hamilton then follows suit at the next possible moment. The gap between the two remains under a second. Bottas still leads but hasn't pitted. Leclerc posts the fastest lap.

25/53 Hamilton's words there: "He didn't leave me a cara's width there." I think they should ask Vettel about that one. Remember Canada earlier in the year, when the German was punished for a similar move after Hamilton complained? Hamilton adds, a lap later, that Leclerc is super fast on the straights. Has the Ferrari already done enough to hold off the defending champs' challenge?

24/53 Verstappen is up to 10th and posts another fastest lap. Hamilton is trying to close in on Leclerc before the Ferrari's tires warm up. Bottas is told "it's in our hands". Hülkenberg gets between Leclerc and Hamilton, which nearly gives the Briton room to slip past him but the Ferrari man does well to hold him off. Hamilton tries to go for the pass, but Leclerc edges him out and Hamilton has to take the emergency exit as it were. The gap opens up a bit. Leclerc is given a warning, but no penalty. Hamilton wanted more.

22/53 Hamilton pits, and rejoins on mediums. He ends up in fifth. Leclerc pits and slips out just in front of the Mercedes. The Ferrari man is on hards. Hamilton is very close now. 

20/53 Pitstops approaching, I think. Mercedes look like they're going to pit, but don't. Teases! Verstappen keeps moving up the field - what a driver he is. Up to 13th now. Albon's good progress is halted by a 5-second penalty. Hamilton suggests a tire change is necessary to close in on Leclerc. The Ferrari man says his rears are gone.

17/53 Vettel is last. Ouch. Hamilton is 1.5s behind Leclerc. Albon is driving well, he passes Giovinazzi and starts to eye up Sainz. Hamilton says over the radio: "He's quicker than us." The Briton won't like that. 

15/53 Verstappen is up into 16th and has just posted the fastest lap. Raikkonen is being investigated for starting on incorrect tyres. Stroll is also being given a time penalty for clipping Gasly after Vettel nearly ran him off the track. Penalties on penalties.

13/53 It looks like the front three are pretty much hitting the same speeds. The Briton appears to be waiting for the Ferrari to make a mistake or run into trouble. Vettel is back in 19th and been hit with a 10-second stop-go time penalty. Nightmare for the German on Ferrari's home circuit. He has to pit to serve his penalty. This is hard to watch. I can't imagine how it is to drive.

11/53 That's pretty poor from Vettel there. He doesn't check it's safe to move off after spinning and I can understand Stroll's frustration. I think he'll be in trouble, although Stroll also pushed Gasly out when he rejoined. Not great driving all round there! Hamilton has cut Leclerc's lead to 1.1s.

9/53 Vettel goes off and then clips Stroll when he rejoins. That's damage to the wing and he has to pit! Shame for the German, who had just been closing in on Bottas at that point too. Stroll not happy about that, saying Vettel came back onto the track like "an idiot." Might be a penalty for Vettel there...

6/53 Ricciardo does well to overtake teammate Hülkenberg. The Aussie is now into fifth. Leclerc has extended his lead at the front to over a second and a half.

4/53 Vettel is working hard to try and close the gap on the Mercedes. Stroll has jumped up to seventh. Albon does well to take Sainz, but then goes wide when Sainz forces him out. Needed to make the move earlier to avoid that. Leclerc posts the fastest lap.

Lap 2/53 - Go! Go! Go! Leclerc holds onto the lead at the start. Hamilton loses out to Bottas but nips back quickly to keep the top three as they were. Vettel suffers and Nico Hülkenberg steals in to take fourth, but only for a lap as Vettel overtakes him at the start of the second lap. Verstappen has to box to change the wheels.

— Warm-up lap is underway! It's nearly time for lights out...

— This is a classic circuit. The average speed is 260 km/h, the fastest of the season. It should be spectacular. At least, that's the hope.

— Safe to say the home crowd is up for it!

— Worth noting: Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen will start from the pit lane after picking up grid penalties as a result of engine and gearbox changes during qualifying.

— Good afternoon! There's lots of talk about whether or not Leclerc's decision not to overtake Vettel in yesterday's qualifying was deliberate or not. Either way, the fact the conversation is happening doesn't promise much for the atmosphere in the Ferrari pit going into this race.

— The last Ferrari winner in Italy? Fernando Alonso back in 2010, although the Spaniard narrowly lost out to Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' championship that year. What a long time ago that is.

— After Italy, there are just seven races left in the season. Hamilton already has eight race wins and has amassed 268 points in the drivers' championship. Surely the title is his, again? Mercedes' teammate Valtteri Bottas sits behind him on 203, and then there's Max Verstappen (181), Sebastian Vettel (169) and Charles Leclerc (157). In the constructors' championship, it looks like Mercedes are well on their way to another title. They have 471 points to Ferrari's 326.

— Last season, Hamilton delivered one of his best ever drivers to win in Italy. He has five wins there. Who would bet against him making that six on Sunday?

— Hello! After the somber and tragic events in Belgium last weekend, motorsport has tried its best to get back to racing. On their home circuit in Monza, Ferrari are chasing their first home win in nine years - and they stand a good chance too after Charles Leclerc secured pole in a chaotic qualifying session.Hamilton will be right behind the Ferrari driver though, hoping to extend his 65-point lead at the top of the drivers' championship.

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