Scuderia Ferrari put on a great show in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The team finished third and fourth courtesy of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who gave the Red Bulls a hard time throughout the race before leaving the Tifosi with their collective heart in mouth as they duelled between themselves for a place on the podium. It was a lovely birthday present for Carlos, who turned 29 earlier in the week. It is his 16th Formula 1 podium, his first this season and number 802 for the team. With the 27 points it picked up today, the group moves ahead of Aston Martin in the Constructors’ standings and is now 45 behind Mercedes.
The race. Carlos kept the lead after the lights went out, staying ahead of Max and Charles. The Spaniard ran a robust pace in the early stages. Still, Verstappen was always within DRS striking distance, so they swapped places on lap 16, after which Carlos made his only pit stop to switch from Medium to Hard compound tyres, followed immediately by his team-mate. After the holidays, Verstappen built up a bit of a buffer as the race for second livened up when Red Bull’s Sergio Perez caught up to the Ferrari duo. It was an exciting three-way fight, but in the end, the Mexican got ahead of the two Ferraris, his car doing better tyre management. Clear of the rest of the field, the closing stages saw Carlos and Charles light up the crowd with a thrilling duel for the podium’s final step without taking too many risks. They put on a great show, even if there was the occasional wheel lock-up from both of them at the first chicane. With three laps to go, Leclerc managed to get ahead, but then Sainz had better traction, which enabled him to retake third place at the Roggia Variante.
Farewell Europe. The Monza race marks the end of racing in Europe this season and the next round takes place in Asia, specifically in Singapore, on Sunday, 17 September.
Carlos Sainz #55
It was a great weekend all along and to be able to celebrate a podium with the tifosi is the perfect icing on the cake! I want to thank every one of them for their endless support. They are exceptional!
Today, I did everything I could to keep both Red Bulls behind, using my tyres to the limit and pushing for the entire race. Unfortunately, they still have the edge over us on race day and P3 was the maximum today. We had good battles on track with them and with Charles and I hope people enjoyed it as much as I did. Now, we have time to regroup and prepare for Singapore as soon as possible.
Charles Leclerc #16
It has been a while since I had that much fun in a race! The battles we had throughout were great, and Checo (Perez), Carlos and I were close towards the end, making for an exciting handful of closing laps. We had some free space behind us, so I enjoyed it and pushed to the maximum.
I hope that the tifosi enjoyed it as much as I did and a big thanks to them for all the support this weekend. I hope we will see more races like this and I look forward to being back on track in Singapore.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
It was a great race and the result was the best we could do today, finishing on the podium in front of our fans and bringing home 27 points, which sees us get ahead of Aston Martin and close on Mercedes.
We dedicate this result to our fans who have been so supportive all weekend long and we are pleased to have put on a good show both yesterday in qualifying and today, especially at the end of the race when we let our drivers fight it out for third place. We did that because we know how special it is to be on the podium here, but we also told them not to take any risks and they complied with that.
Carlos drove well all weekend and Charles recovered well after getting off to a difficult start on Friday. We will start from scratch again in Singapore in two weeks, but today, we can be happy with what we have done here. We knew our car would be more competitive on this track, and the SF-23 lived up to our expectations.