With Charles Leclerc fourth and Carlos Sainz eleventh after qualifying, both drivers did well to make use of the damp conditions on track to finish with fourth and fifth at the chequered flag.
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Charles Leclerc was lucky during the formation lap, to recover from a spin at Acque Minerali to reclaim his fourth position spot on the grid. A good start from Leclerc saw him hold position on the opening lap, as Carlos Sainz briefly lost out but looked to make a good recovery throughout the race.
Sainz then had a moment at Acque Minerali much like his teammate, while the Williams of Nicholas Latifi spun at the same corner ahead of Sainz, before coming together with the Haas of Nikita Mazepin and ending his race in the barrier bringing out the safety car.
FDA driver Mick Schumacher also had a moment on the pit straight while trying to warm his tyres, losing his front wing at the pit entry after he made contact with the wall. He was forced to drive two further laps with no front wing, but was able to replace the wing and return to the race after the debris was cleared and the pit lane re-opened.
Max Verstappen maintained the lead after a good start off the grid from third, while Leclerc moved up to the podium positions after taking third from the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez. Verstappen was the first of the frontrunners to pit, with Hamilton following a lap later.
However, on lap 31, Leclerc was able to move up to second after Hamilton locked up at Tosa while trying to pass the lapped car of George Russell, sending the defending champion into the gravel.
With his own issues at Tosa, Sainz remained concentrated on recovering in the race, and soon found himself up in sixth.
Shortly after Hamilton’s mistake at Tosa, the red flag was deployed to stop the race after a big accident between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell, both cars coming together on the run into Tamburello and sending both cars spearing into the tyre barriers.
Both drivers emerged fine, but the race was suspended due to the extensive amount of debris left across the circuit. This left Hamilton in ninth, while Leclerc and Sainz would hold onto second and fourth as the race restarted under safety car.
With thirty laps left to run as the race went green, Verstappen looked to recover from a brief spin at Rivazza as the race restarted, while Leclerc lost second to the fast-starting Lando Norris behind.
Hamilton, looking to recover after his mistake, pushed hard for the next stint on fresh tyres, and was able to pass Sainz, Leclerc and Norris to recover to second at the line as Verstappen took victory. Norris finished in third for his second F1 podium, while Leclerc and Sainz just missed out on a podium position.
However, a fourth and fifth place finish is a promising one for the Scuderia, and is a result that proves once again the improvements the team is continuing to make over last year’s chassis. A great effort all round on home ground.
Written by Cóilín Higgins.