News Update


Italian Grand Prix: ‘Max Verstappen creates more history, but Ferrari is the story at Monza’

The Dutch national anthem was playing in the aftermath of the Red Bull driver’s 10th victory in a row, a feat never before accomplished by a driver, but it was drowned out by chants of “Carlos, Carlos, Carlos” from below.

The beneficiary of those chants, standing next Verstappen on the rostrum, was taking in the mood. Carlos Sainz had not only won his first podium of the season, but he had done so with a lion’s roar. If he wasn’t previously idolized by the tifosi, he was now.

The tifosi were still there after more than an hour. Charles Leclerc, Sainz’s teammate, emerged from the Ferrari pit, climbed the trash netting, and spent quite some time signing autographs and taking photographs with the fans. The shouts were now “Charles, Charles, Charles.”

Despite Verstappen’s historic feat, Ferrari were the story of the weekend at Monza, which the tifosi like.

Ferrari did not win, but they gave the all-conquering Red Bull squad its toughest battle of the season, with Sainz and Leclerc providing them their greatest performance of the year. When Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez were finally passed into first and second place, the Ferrari drivers raced for the final podium spot in the final laps.

Each put everything at the other, right up to the final lap, when Leclerc tried a ‘dummy’ move on Sainz at the first corner, locking up and sending both cars through the escape lane. “We were both on the limit of the regulations at the end,” Leclerc explained, “me attacking and him defending.” We had a little fun in the end, but everything worked out in the end.

“Carlos was pushing hard, and I was pushing hard.” Checo (Perez) was pressing hard. We were all pressing hard.

“I haven’t had that much fun in a race in a long time.” Everyone was quite close.”

In earlier years, Ferrari could have called off the contest. It has not been customary for the team to allow their drivers to fight – especially not as severely as this.

However, new team manager Frederic Vasseur, who took over at the beginning of the year, is attempting to sweep a new broom around Maranello. The Frenchman is a racer, so he followed his instincts.

“It is much easier to comment when you have a happy ending, but it was also the best way to thank everyone, the support of the tifosi, and so on,” Vasseur explained.

“It wasn’t very comfortable for me to freeze something five laps before the finish.” I trust them, but I told them there was no risk at all – the concept of no risk is always relative. But I am quite pleased with the choice and the drivers’ performance today.”


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