Charles Leclerc survives strong pressure from Mercedes to win Italian Grand Prix!

08-09-2019 15:30 | Updated: 08-09-2019 16:40
by Matt Gretton
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Charles Leclerc survives strong pressure from Mercedes to win Italian Grand Prix!

Charles Leclerc has won his second Formula 1 race in two weeks after fighting off serious pressure from both Mercedes drivers during the Italian Grand Prix. The 21-year-old had to fight off Lewis Hamilton in the middle of the race before the world championship leader ran wide. Bottas then had a chance to catch the Ferrari driver but the Italian car was superior on the straights. That's the first time Ferrari have won their home race since 2010. 

Hamilton remained in third place to complete the podium as Daniel Ricciardo beat both Red Bull drivers to finish P4. Nico Hulkenberg had a strong race to help Renault celebrate a strong weekend. Max Verstappen started from the back and damaged his front wing on the opening corner of the race. He managed to finish P8. 

Leclerc has once again demonstrated his mature head on his young shoulders. He's now won back-to-back Grands Prix after getting his maiden victory in Belgium just a week ago. 

The opening exchanges 

Leclerc managed to remain ahead of an attacking Hamilton through the first corners of the Grand Prix. Vettel slipped behind Hulkenberg on the opening lap but soon found a way through under the slip-stream. 

Verstappen's start from the back of the grid became more troublesome as he ran into the back of a SportPesa Racing Point driver at the first chicane. The Dutchman was first to pit as his chances of a podium looked even slimmer. 

Vettel lost control of his car just a few laps into the race to the distress of the home fans. He then cut straight back across the track and collided with Lance Stroll. As a result, the German received a stop-go penalty which left him in P20. 

That wasn't the end of the stop-go penalties as Kimi Raikkonen was forced to go in as he started on the wrong set of tyres. 

Medium tyres or hards? 

Hamilton was first to pit for the medium tyre in an attempt for the undercut. Leclerc, who put on the hard tyres, made it out ahead of Hamilton before the two rivals participated in an intriguing battle. The British driver tried to go around the outside of the track but was forced wide. 

Bottas stayed out on track until lap 28. The Mercedes pit crew put on the medium tyres and he returned to the track behind Leclerc and Hamilton. Bottas' set of tyres were eight laps younger than Leclerc's hards.

On lap 36, Leclerc felt the pressure of Hamilton as he locked up at turn 1. The man from Monaco was forced to cut across the track but he managed to stay ahead of the F1 world championship leader. 

It was then Hamilton's turn to make the mistake as he locked up at the first corner on lap 42. He was forced to go across the run off zone. Bottas, on the younger tyres, passed Hamilton and went after Leclerc. 

Bottas closed within 0.300 with three laps to go but a mistake from the Finnish driver meant he was too far away. 

Retirements  

Carlos Sainz left with a loose front wheel. The Spaniard had to stop the car as it was unsafe to continue. Just a couple of laps later and Daniil Kvyat pulled to the side of the track with plenty of smoke. A suspected oil leak in the new Honda engine was a cause for concern. 

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