Max Verstappen broke the hearts of Ferrari’s Tifosi as he overtook Carlos Sainz to win the Italian Grand Prix, the Red Bull driver setting a new Formula 1 record for the most wins in succession with his 10th on the trot.
Holding onto the lead off the line, Sainz spent 15 laps frustrating Verstappen as the Dutchman used DRS close in but fell that car length short of a pass.
But once he made it, a nice move through the Della Roggia chicane, the race win was all but decided with the reigning World Champion pulling away as he raced to his 12th win of this season, his 10th on the trot.
Sergio Perez made a late pass on Carlos Sainz to make it a Red Bull 1-2 with Sainz completing the podium after a late-race squabble with his teammate Charles Leclerc.
Max Verstappen made to work for win No.10
Only 19 drivers lined up on the grid with Yuki Tsunoda’s race over before it began with the AlphaTauri driver pulling over onto the grass, “engine failure”, on the formation lap. After a second formation lap, the race start was aborted with formation lap number three going ahead without any problems before the 19 drivers lined up for a 51-lap Italian Grand Prix.
Pole-sitter Carlos Sainz came across to cover Max Verstappen with Charles Leclerc trying to lock his front wing to his teammate’s rear but Verstappen had the favourable line into Turn 1 to split the Ferraris. George Russell was P4 ahead of Sergio Perez, Oscar Piastri, Alex Albon, and Lando Norris, who overtook Lewis Hamilton who had started on the hard Pirelli tyres, with Fernando Alonso making up the top ten.
Albon used his straight-line speed to pass Piastri into Turn 5, regaining sixth place, with Nico Hulkenberg passing Alonso for 10th. And with that, the high-speed Monza train was formed with Verstappen bidding his time for DRS to be made available.
Encouraged by Sainz “sliding a bit, it’s all good”, as Verstappen told Red Bull, the reigning World Champion drew alongside Sainz into the first chicane on Lap 6 with Sainz staying on the racing line, and staying P1.
Verstappen wasn’t happy: “That was naughty!” Ferrari told Sainz: “Good move.” And all the while Leclerc was there lurking, with Russell and Perez two seconds back, the Briton letting his engineer know there was a “car up his ***”.
Two laps later Verstappen closed in on Sainz’s rear wing through Parabolica but was again a car length too far back to try to pass into the first chicane. Perez did try on his target, Russell, but the Mercedes driver braked later and stayed ahead. Further back Alonso overtook Hulkenberg to regain P10, Liam Lawson passed Logan Sargeant for 12th and then Hulkenberg for 11th, and Pierre Gasly kicked off the first round of pit stops
Lap 14 Perez made his move on Russell but out-braked himself and passed him off the track. Despite reporting “he pushed me off”, Red Bull told him to give the position back. A lap later the other Red Bull of Verstappen did a better job at passing Sainz, winning a brief wheel-to-wheel battle through Curva Grande with a nice move through the Della Roggia chicane. Perez followed suit, taking Russell and immediately closing the gap to the Ferraris with Leclerc letting Ferrari know Sainz was “struggling a bit with the rear”. IE let me pass, and then Sainz pitted.
He came in on Lap 20, Russell in at the same time and receiving a five-second penalty as he battled Esteban Ocon on his out-lap and passed the Alpine off the track. Verstappen and Leclerc were in a lap later, before Perez and Norris pitted, and then Piastri. Leclerc’s pit stop saw him briefly battle Sainz for position, the two almost touching with Spaniard staying ahead, while Norris and Piastri’s stops did lead to slight contact with the Briton winning that.
Hamilton, one of only three drivers to have started on the hard tyres, briefly led as he had yet to stop but Verstappen on fresh tyres made short work of passing him for the lead with Sainz and Leclerc also through. Hamilton pitted on lap 28, falling to 10th.
As Verstappen continued to pull away from the chasing Ferraris, Perez got involved in the battle for the podium and tried to draw alongside Leclerc at the Curva Grande but was pushed wide and put wheels on the grass. “He’s not giving me any space,” he told Red Bull, who reminded him he’s “faster” so don’t worry. Perez made it stick into the first chicane at the start of Lap 32.
Holding down sixth place ahead of the McLarens, but with Norris and Piastri right behind him, Albon was told he was doing a “great job”. Norris pounced into the first chicane but slight contact had him cutting the chicane. He immediately gave the position back to the Williams driver. The trio were three seconds ahead of Hamilton, who declared he was “screwed” as he didn’t know how long his tyres would last and promptly closed in on Piastri.
Heading into the final 10 laps, Verstappen was leading by 10s ahead of Sainz, who had Perez on his rear wing, then came Leclerc, Russell, Albon, Norris, Piastri, Hamilton, and Alonso. Hamilton made his move on Piastri, Squeezing the Aussie, but there was contact with both drivers off the track and the McLaren’s front wing was damaged. Piastri pitted for a new front wing with the stewards noting the incident and slapping Hamilton with a five-second time penalty.
Perez meanwhile tried to pass Sainz and complained the Ferrari driver was moving “really late under braking”. They tussled again on the next lap at the chicane, Perez cutting the corner after being squeezed. He gave the position back. Moments later Hamilton showed how it should be done as he overtook Norris, and then Perez finally did the same with Sainz to make it a 1-2 for Red Bull. Leclerc then overtook Sainz, Sainz fought back to retain P3 and begin an intense Ferrari tussle, Hamilton took sixth off Albon, and further back Lawson overtook Stroll for 12th.
Verstappen raced unchallenged to the win, his 10th on the trot a mere formality after his overtake on Sainz, to extend his lead at the top of the Drivers’ standings. It was a new record for the Dutchman, breaking Sebastian Vettel’s nine in a row. Perez made it a Red Bull 1-2 with Sainz holding off the squabbling Leclerc to join them on the podium.
Russell was fifth ahead of Hamilton, Albon, Norris, and Alonso. Valtteri Bottas completed the points in Alfa Romeo’s last home race as Sauber’s title sponsor.
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:12:13.618 51 laps
2 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +6.802
3 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +11.082
4 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +11.508
5 George RUSSELL Mercedes +18.294
6 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +38.903
7 Alexander ALBON Williams +45.080
8 Lando NORRIS McLaren +45.212
9 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +46.370
10 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +64.764
11 Logan SARGEANT Williams +70.573
12 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +71.480
13 Liam LAWSON AlphaTauri +71.772
14 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +81.387
15 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +83.016
16 Pierre GASLY Alpine +83.017
17 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +1 lap
18 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +1 lap
Did not finish
Esteban Ocon Alpine
Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri