Super Max win Italian Grand Prix 2022

Max Verstappen overcame a grid penalty and late race Safety Car to score an emphatic Italian Grand Prix victory finishing ahead of pole sitter Charles Leclerc as the race at Monza ended under the Safety Car.

Checo, meanwhile, finished in sixth place and took the point for fastest lap after a recovery drive form the rear of the field following brake woes and an early pit stop

After qualifying second on Saturday, Max dropped five places on the grid after taking a new ICE ahead of the race, but when the lights out at the start there was no holding the Dutchman back.

Starting on soft tyres, the Dutchman powered past McLaren’s Lando Norris who had bogged down from third place on the grid, and as Leclerc took the lead ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell, Max powered past Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly to rise to fourth.

And then, as he crossed the line to start the second lap, the champion powered past Daniel Ricciardo to take third place. With a little under 6km of the race completed the World Champion was into a podium position.

Behind him, Checo had a trickier start on medium tyres and he dropped two places to 15th place as the pack streamed through the first chicane. The Mexican was soon on the march, though, working his way back up to P13.

At the front of the field, Max was in simply irresistible form and at the start of lap five he passed Russell and in turn, with the Mercedes driver offering little resistance. Leclerc led by just two seconds and Max quickly stretched a three-second gap to Russell as Ricciardo held fourth ahead of Gasly and Norris.

At the end of lap seven Checo dived towards the pit lane and switched from medium tyres to the more durable hard tyres. However, there was smoke coming from his front right brake disc. Advised that he had a small fire, Checo was told to switch the balance of his brakes towards the rear in order to protect the damaged front ones. The fire soon fizzled but he dropped to the bottom of the order where he began to plot a recovery.

Max Making The Charge At Monza
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On lap 11, Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin ground to a halt and the Virtual Safety Car was released. Ferrari pitted Leclerc on the next lap and he switched from starting soft tyres to a set of mediums. Max stayed out on track under the caution and he took the lead as Leclerc rejoined in third place, just ahead of Ricciardo.

After 20 laps Max, still on his starting soft tyres, was 8.8s ahead of Russell, with Leclerc just over 15 seconds behind the race leader. Checo, meanwhile, was steadily rising through the order as rivals were either overtaken or made pit stops and on lap 21 the Mexican had climbed to 10th place.

Max pitted at the end of lap 25 and took on a set of medium tyres in a 2.4s stop. That pushed Leclerc back into the lead, with Max rejoining in second place, 17.6s ahead of Sainz who was still on starting medium tyres.

On lap 30 Sainz dived into the pits and moved to soft tyres. He rejoined behind Checo who jumped to sixth place when Alonso was forced to retire from the race with a mechanical issue. The Mexican was then passed by Sainz but when Hamilton and Norris made their pit stops Checo climbed up to fifth.

Max, meanwhile, was flying on his medium tyres and after rattling off a sequence of fastest laps the Dutchman was just 5.4s behind Leclerc. Ferrari reacted and pitted the Monegasque driver for a second time. He switched a new set of softs and rejoined the action in P2, 19 seconds behind Max.

Super Max Calm And Under Control
Super Max Calm And Under Control
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At the end of lap 42 the Team pitted Checo for a final time and the Mexican put on a set of sticky, quick soft tyres. He emerged in seventh place, 5.2s behind Norris and on lap 46 he posted a lap of 1:24.030 to claim the point for fastest lap.

On lap 48, the race changed when McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo pulled over at the side of the track between the Lesmo corners. The Safety Car was deployed and though the order didn’t change at the top, with the top four of Max, Leclerc, Russell and Sainz all pitting for soft tyres, the field bunched behind the Safety Car.

But with Ricciardo’s stuck at the edge of the track and requiring a lengthy recovery by truck, there was no time for the race to resume and the race ended under the Safety Car with Max crossing the line two seconds ahead of Leclerc. Russell took third ahead of Sainz, while Hamilton finished fifth ahead of Checo.

“We had a great race,” said Max. “On. every compound, we were quickest. And the deg was very good. So we had a really good race car. I was just controlling the gap at the end, but of course then the safety car came out. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a restart. But overall, we had again a really good day.”

Max’s 11th win of the season, and his first at Monza, extends his lead in the Drivers’ Championship. The Dutchman now has 335 points, 116 ahead of Leclerc. Checo holds onto third place with 210 points, seven clear of Russell.

In the Constructors’ Championship the Team now has a 139-point lead over Ferrari, with Mercedes third on 371 points.

Pure Straight Line Speed At Monza
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