Verstappen extends his lead in the drivers’ standings

Leader of the drivers’ championship, Max Verstappen once again shrugged off a start further down the grid on Sunday, winning the Italian Grand Prix and moving closer to a second title in a row.

Verstappen is 116 points clear of second-placed Charles Leclerc on Sunday after a questionable strategy from Ferrari at home.

There are six races left on the calendar.

The Dutchman could win the championship at the next race on October 2, in Singapore.

He reached the Monza podium for the first time; his previous best result there was fifth, in 2018.

« It took a long time to reach such a prestigious podium, but I’m finally there, » said Verstappen.

Verstappen started seventh, among those who had to deal with penalties at the start.

From the first corner of the second lap, he was placed third.

The Red Bull driver eclipsed George Russell’s Mercedes on lap five, before chasing after Leclerc.

“I started off really well and was able to pick up my pace quickly,” said Verstappen. It was fun to drive today, even though it was very hot. It was a great day for the team. »

The virtual safety car was deployed on the 12e lap, as Sebastian Vettel’s last race at Monza ended with the four-time champion pulling over with an engine problem.

Vettel’s teammate at Aston Martin, the Quebecer Lance Stroll did not finish the race either.

We wanted to spare the engine of his car, after the Canadian posted a lap behind with 15 laps to go.

Ferrari then brought Leclerc back for medium-type tyres, which allowed Verstappen to take the lead. Leclerc returned to the track in third place.

Leclerc passed Russell, then he briefly regained control when Verstappen went to the pits, on 26e round.

The 1-2 order was reversed at 33e lap, the Ferrari driver changing tires again.

Safety car returned to 47e lap, the result of the defending champion Daniel Ricciardo going off the track.

There was no chance for a late fight (the Safety Car, again), and Verstappen raced to a fifth straight win. Russell completed the podium.

Verstappen has 11 wins this season, one more than in 2021.

Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and fifth. They were facing punishments at the start too.

Williams’ Nyck de Vries scored a top 10 finish in his first F1 race, finishing ninth. The 27-year-old replaced Alex Albon, sidelined with appendicitis.

» Thank you, thank you very much. It’s incredible, he told his team’s radio. I really can’t feel my shoulders anymore. »

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