F1: Gasly takes maiden win after crazy Italian GP
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly becomes F1's 109th GP winner after an extraordinary race ends in an unlikely result with McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr and Racing Point's Lance Stroll completing the podium.
6th September 2020
For the first time since the 2013 Australian GP, a Formula One race was won by someone not driving a Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari car and that person was Pierre Gasly for Alpha Tauri formerly known as Toro Rosso.
Gasly also became the first Frenchman to win a Formula One race since 1996. Ironically, the last time this team won was in 2008 under the guise of Toro Rosso with a very young Sebastian Vettel at the Italian GP.
The race was turned on it's head halfway through when Kevin Magnussen's Haas stopped on track just before the pit-lane. The Haas was in a dangerous position and the Safety Car was deployed and because of the position of the car, the pit-lane was closed. Race leader Lewis Hamilton and Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi failed to notice the pit-lane was shut and pitted which resulted in both of them receiving a ten second stop and go penalty.
After Magnussen's car was pushed back into the pit-lane, the Stewards declared it opened and most of the drivers made their one and only pit-stop. Gasly, who started in 10th, made his pit-stop before Magnussen's stoppage on track and was promoted to third. Ahead of him was the Racing Point of Lance Stroll who had stayed out and Hamilton in the lead.
The racing got underway with Hamilton getting the perfect jump on the drivers behind. At the end of that lap, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc lost the car under acceleration at the famous parabolica and ploughed into the tyre barriers. The Monegasque was able to get out of the car but was clearly shaken by the accident. Due to the amount of damage to the barrier, the race was Red Flagged and the drivers returned to the pits.
It was during this time that the news had been given that Hamilton would have to serve a ten second stop and go penalty within the first three laps of racing when it got back underway.
After the standing start, Hamilton led as Stroll lost places to the Alfa Romeo's of Giovinazzi and Raikkonen and also to Gasly. At the end of Lap 28, Hamilton pitted to serve his stop and go penalty which left Gasly out in the lead for the first time in his career. Behind him followed Raikkonen, Stroll, Carlos Sainz Jr, Lando Norris and Valterri Bottas who had failed to make-up ground he lost at the very start of the race.
Sainz, who made a very decisive overtake on Stroll into the chicane, was promoted to fourth behind the two Alfa's and Gasly. Giovinazzi then pitted to serve his penalty and this elevated Sainz to third with Stroll and Norris close behind.
Raikkonen couldn't keep up with the pace of Gasly and quickly dropped down the order. With twenty laps to go, Gasly led ahead of Sainz, Stroll, Norris, Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo as Hamilton, who rejoined in last, started to claw his way back. When he exited the pits, he was 30 seconds behind Gasly and Mercedes predicted he could finish sixth if he set his mind to it.
With Hamilton out of the points, this was a day for his two main championship rivals, team-mate Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen to eat into the Brit's advantage, however, Verstappen retired on Lap 31 with engine troubles and Bottas couldn't find a way past Norris.
Bit by bit, Sainz started to reduce the gap to Gasly. The 4.2 second gap on Lap 34 was down to 2.3 on Lap 43. Hamilton had caught up to the pack and starting cutting through the drivers and by Lap 51, he was up into the top ten.
With only two laps to go, the gap between Gasly and Sainz was just over a second with the McLaren driver struggling to get close due to the dirty air coming off of the Alpha Tauri. Neither of these drivers had fought for a victory in Formula One and were driving supremely.
Behind the top two, the race order had settled with Stroll a comfortable three seconds ahead of the battling Norris, Bottas and Ricciardo. Hamilton was now eighth having overtaken Daniil Kvyat in the other Alpha Tauri. With half a lap to go and the gap under a second, one of these drivers was about to win a Formula One race for the very first time...
And that driver was Pierre Gasly who crossed the line in Monza just over four tenths of a second ahead of Sainz. Gasly, a driver who's had a short F1 career so far has been through so much, was lost for words and was incredibly happy as his team congratulated him over his radio.
Sainz finished in second, his best result of his career so far, but admitted that he needed one more lap to get closer to try and overtake Gasly.
As the drivers pulled up and parked their cars in Parc Ferme, there was only one driver the others wanted to congratulate and that was Gasly. The other Frenchman on the grid, Haas's Romain Grosjean, was really happy that his fellow countryman took the victory and the first for a French driver since Oliver Panis at the 1996 Monaco GP.
What was most noticeable about the drivers on the podium was that for the first time since Hungary 2012, the podium did not feature a single driver from Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari.
The win for Gasly moves him up into eighth in the championship while despite losing three points to Bottas, Hamilton still has a comfortable 47 point lead over Bottas.