International Sports Desk, Sep 6 (efe-epa).- French Formula One driver Pierre Gasly, racing for Alpha Tauri, on Sunday notched his first World F1 circuit victory upon winning the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza raceway, where Spain’s Carlos Sainz, driving for McLaren, came in second, his best result so far.
Gasly – who had been placed 10th in the lineup with odds as high as 2,000-1 against – stunningly achieved his first F1 win by crossing the finish line just four-tenths of a second ahead of the 26-year-old Sainz, whose best result up until now had been third place last year in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Also stepping onto the Top 3 podium on Sunday at Monza was Canada’s Lance Stroll, with Racing Point, who came in third.
The season’s F1 ranking leader – Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, driving for Mercedes, came in seventh, after starting the race in the coveted pole position and, despite the sour finish, still handily leading the F1 rankings.
Hamilton was by far the favorite in the race, although in F1 competition, anything can happen – and did this time around. The Briton was handed a key stop-and-go penalty when he pitted just before the halfway point, subsequently being informed that the pitlane had been closed after Kevin Magnussen had withdrawn from the race on the 20th lap after a breakdown just before the pitlane.
Then, Monaco’s Charles Leclerc, with Ferrari, became involved in a huge wreck and the race was suspended for a number of minutes, and when it resumed the field was bunched up again and Hamilton was at the back of the pack after he served his penalty, and he could only claw his way back to seventh by the time Gasly passed the victory tape.
Another Briton, Lando Norris, Sainz’s colleague on McLaren, finished fourth, ahead of Finland’s Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) and Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), in a race in which Mexico’s Sergio Perez, with Racing Point, came in tenth.
Frenchman Estevan Ocon, with Renault, finished eighth, just ahead of Russia’s Daniil Kvyat, with Alpha Tauri.
Sainz, who is in eighth place in the F1 rankings, said after the race that he was “content, although victory got away (from me) by just a little bit,” adding that the win “was very close.”
“I’m content. The race was crazy and the win was very close, because there was a moment, when the safety car was on the track where I was the virtual leader of the race,” Sainz told the Movistar F1 television channel.
“Then, when the red flag waved (which stopped the race for a few minutes after Leclerc’s crash), it was depressing. I thought I had lost almost everything, but we managed to recover with a half-used tire. And in the end we were just four-tenths (of a second) away from winning,” the Madrid native said.
Sainz is the two-time Spanish world rally champion and the three-time winner of the Dakar race.
The F1 drivers will now remain in Italy to compete next week in the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello.
Currently, the top five in the championship standings are as follows: Hamilton far out front with 164 points, Bottas with 117, Max Verstappen (Red Bull) with 110, and Stroll and Norris tied with 57 points each.