Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen celebrated his fifth win in a row with a dominant drive to victory from 7th place to the grid in the 2022 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, while team-mated Sergio Pérez advanced to 6th place at the finish from a 13th place start despite a race-long brake problem that meant he was unable to push to his maximum.
Verstappen had qualified 2nd for the race but took a five-place grid penalty for receiving new engine parts that pushed him back to the fourth row in 7th. However, it was clear that the Dutch driver had the pace to win the instant the lights went out. He made up two positions in the first corner and was on the tail of leading duo Charles Leclerc and George Russell by Lap 4.
From there, it was just a matter of time before Verstappen took the lead from Leclerc, which he did during a Virtual Safety Car caused by the failure of Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin. From there, Verstappen never looked like relinquishing the lead and crossed the finish line under a Safety Car scenario 2.446s clear of the Ferrari driver to win his first-ever Grand Prix at Monza, a fifth consecutive success and his 11th victory of the season.
With Monza’s victory, Verstappen has now extended his lead in the Formula One Drivers’ Championship to 116 points over Leclerc, with Pérez still in 3rd and just 9 points behind the Ferrari driver.
With six races to go and 164 points available, Verstappen now has a mathematical chance of wrapping up the 2022 Formula One World Championship at the next Grand Prix in Singapore on October 2.
For the first lap, I had to be careful, but we had a good start and were clean through the first chicane, and for me, that was the most important thing, to stay out of trouble. Then we were very quickly back up to P3 and even into P2. Then I could set my sights on Charles and see we had better tyre degradation. Overall, if you look at the pace of our car this weekend, especially today, I think we were strong. The pace was good on every tyre, and we were comfortably the quickest on the track. You have to try and be as perfect as you can be, and on most occasions this season, we have been pretty good.
My race got compromised fairly early when my front right brake disk got super-hot and was basically on fire, so we had to make the decision to pitstop. During the first laps on the hard, I couldn’t get any temperature into the tyres because I had to lift and coast. I was losing a lot of lap time, and my first stint was compromised. That affected my whole race, and I had to massively manage my brakes. It was critical at that point because I could have lost them and had to retire the car. In the end, we boxed, thinking we could get Lewis back on the softs, but unfortunately, the Safety Car meant we didn’t get the chance. I had better tyres than Lewis, so it would have been good to get the restart, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t a good weekend for me, and we have plenty to do. I’m back on the simulator tomorrow and trying to get back into a good rhythm straight away.
Christian Horner – Team Principal & CEO
We would have liked to have seen the race play out today. We certainly didn’t want to win under a Safety Car. We believe there was enough time to get the race going, but the Safety Car picked up George Russell, which delayed proceedings. Despite that, we believe we had enough pace in hand on the one-stop strategy. Checo had to pit early because there was a flat spot, a lot of vibration, and then a bit of debris got into the ducts, which caused a small fire, but his recovery from there was excellent. Fastest lap for Checo, too, so essential points for him and the team. Max was yet again so impressive. Even if they had the fastest car, I’m not sure if anyone could stop Max today.
The whole team has been performing at such a high level all season, and our performance all weekend has been brilliant. We know we compromised quali slightly yesterday, but it paid off. More challenges lie ahead with Singapore and beyond, so we look forward to that. Ultimately it was a sombre race for obvious reasons, but we are happy we could bring home the win with Her Majesty’s insignia on the nose of the car, and we dedicate the victory to the life and memory of HRH, Queen Elizabeth II.