2021 Italian Grand Prix: Scuderia Ferrari Race Report

2021 Italian Grand Prix: Scuderia Ferrari Race Report

As Formula 1 returns to the home circuit of Scuderia Ferrari, both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were in a good position ahead of the main race. 

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Photos: Scuderia Ferrari.

Sprint Qualifying Recap 

As F1 held the second of three planned Sprint Qualifying races on Saturday, Carlos and Charles moved up a position from seventh and eighth sixth-placed Pierre Gasly crashed at the Curva Grande on the first lap. 

The race was won by Valtteri Bottas, but was forced to start from the back of the grid thanks to a power unit earlier in the weekend, promoting Leclerc, who moved ahead of Carlos in the Sprint, to fifth on the grid for the main race and Carlos to sixth. 

Opening Laps 

Pierre Gasly would start the race from the pit lane after yesterday’s accident, while his AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda looked to join him after suffering a brake problem on his way to the grid. Max Verstappen was now starting on pole position ahead of the two McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. 

As the lights went out, Ricciardo took the lead from Verstappen as Lewis Hamilton slowly moved up the order from fourth position. Antonio Giovinazzi split the two Ferraris but was hit from behind by Carlos after going off and re-joining the circuit unsafely at the della Roggia chicane, forcing the Italian in for an early pitstop and a change of front wing, and later a five second time penalty for the incident. 

Hamilton went side-by-side with title rival Verstappen going into the same chicane but he was forced wide, pushing him back down to fourth position. Gasly soon retired after the start, leaving both AlphaTauris out of the race as Tsunoda never took the start after his issue. 

Carlos lost sixth to the Red Bull of Sergio Pérez on lap nine, after the pair went side-by-side through Curva Grande, fighting hard for the position, while Charles remained in fifth place. Despite major pressure from Hamilton on lap 11, Norris was able to repel the Mercedes to hold on to the final podium place for now, as Bottas moved into the points, passing Nicholas Latifi for tenth. 

With the battle between Norris and Hamilton ongoing for third, this was allowing Charles to close up to the pair, while Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon touched wheels at the della Roggia chicane, forcing the German briefly off the circuit, resulting in a five second time penalty for the Alpine. 

Middle Stints 

Ricciardo was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 22, while Verstappen stayed out, pitting on the following lap. An issue with the front-left tyre for Red Bull delayed Verstappen in the pits, resulting in a poor eleven second stop for Verstappen, while Hamilton found a way past Norris into the lead through Curva Grande. 

Charles moved into the lead as Hamilton pitted on lap 25, but upon Hamilton re-joining the circuit he went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen and the pair collided, with both drivers ending their day in the gravel at the del Rettifilio chicane. The resulting Safety Car allowed Ferrari to pit Charles, who was now running second behind Ricciardo. Carlos was now up to fifth after the incident. 

Racing resumed on lap 30, and Charles came under pressure from Norris on the restart, eventually losing the position to now make it a McLaren one and two. Carlos also unfortunately lost out to the remaining Mercedes of Bottas for fifth.  

Charles then dropped to fourth after losing a position to Pérez, but was able to defend from fifth placed Bottas, eventually losing out to the Finnish driver on lap 33. Charles and Carlos now were back in fifth and sixth. 

Pérez was handed a five second time penalty for cutting this chicane when he passed Charles for third, as the Red Bull was now up to third place. 

Closing Laps 

With 14 laps to go, Charles was not starting to close up to Bottas, who was beginning to suffer on the medium compound tyres, while Carlos was also closing up to the pair. Nikita Mazepin joined the list of drivers with penalties, collecting a five second penalty for an earlier collision with Haas teammate Mick Schumacher. 

Pérez and Bottas battled hard for third on lap 44 with Bottas briefly getting ahead through Curva Grande, before losing the position again when he braked too deep into the della Roggia chicane. A Virtual Safety Car was then deployed at the Ascari chicane after Mazepin retired with an engine issue. 

However, as the chequered flag was waved, it was Daniel Ricciardo that took the victory, in the first McLaren 1-2 since 2010. Charles finished in fourth position, thanks to the penalty for Pérez, while Carlos came home in sixth. Another solid point scoring weekend for the Scuderia, and a good result at home at Monza.

Written by Cóilín Higgins. 

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