Despite every prevision, the Italian Grand Prix starts under the sun, even if some clouds are still around.
Charles Leclerc keeps the lead after the first lap and Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel is overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg, who smartly gets him at the “Variante Roggia”.
Max Verstappen, who started last, already comes in to pit after the first lap: he has damaged his Red Bull’s front wing. He also swaps from Medium to Soft, changing completely his strategy to climb up as many positions as possible.
Speaking of tyres, everybody started with Soft tyres apart from Kvyat, Gasly, Perez, Kubica, Norris, Russell, Raikkonen.
Drama already happens during the first laps as Alexander Albon and Carlos Sainz fight each other for the 8th position. Sainz seems to push the Thai driver out of track, forcing him to go to the gravel, but it seems like it is just a racing accident.
And the drama goes on: Sebastian Vettel spins, as he did last year, at the Ascari, causing himself some damages on the front wing and leaving debris on track. While coming back on track, he touched Stroll, who went into the gravel, but he did the same thing coming on track forcing Pierre Gasly almost into the barriers!
LAP 7/53— Formula 1 (@F1) September 8, 2019
Vettel loses control at Turn Nine, and collides with Stroll as he returns
And then Stroll comes close to colliding with Gasly as he gets back on the track#F1 #ItalianGP 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/zZCViHSN98
Obviously the Race Direction put Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll under investigation.
Vettel sits now in 19th position, while Leclerc keeps the lead with 1s of advantage on Lewis Hamilton.
The decision came shortly after: Sebastian Vettel has been given a 10 seconds of stop - n - go penalty, which he does in the next lap. He rejoins last.
Instead, Lance Stroll has been given a drive through penalty for unsafe manner.
Meanwhile, Raikkonen is also under investigation because he started the race with the wrong tyres: he was supposed to wear Soft tyres, the one set he was wearing during Q2, but he left the Pit Lane wearing Medium tyres. Another stop and go for him, 10 seconds.
Penalties are not over: Alex Albon is penalized with a 5 seconds penalty: at the Roggia, he was fighting Kevin Magnussen, but cut the chicane, gaining the position. He didn’t give it back, so now he is penalized.
Lewis Hamilton is the first one of the top 5 to come back to the pit: he wears a set of mediums after 20 laps. The goal is to undercut Charles Leclerc, who pits in the next lap. Hard set of tyres for the Pole setter, who come back in front of Hamilton and quickly overtakes Hulkenberg and so did Hamilton.
The front row starter engages in a fight and Leclerc keeps the position while Hamilton goes wide: black and white flag for the Monegasque, a simple warning.
Soon enough Leclerc overtakes Ricciardo too, and Hamilton soon imitates him, coming back to 3rd position.
Bottas pits, losing the lead; Carlos Sainz was 6th when he came back to the pits to wear medium tyres, but his wheel came off. He stops at the pit lane exit. Virtual Safety Car for one lap, and a lot of points lost for McLaren. His unsafe release will be unvestigated after this crazy race.
Another yellow flag soon appears and again VSC is deployed: Daniil Kvyat stops in turn 2, his Toro Rosso is smoking after the pit stop.
Green flag again and Lewis Hamilton in on a hunt: he tries to get closer and closer to Charles Leclerc.
The gap is 0.5s but after some laps Leclerc slightly cuts at turn 2: he comes back in first, but the gap is closer. The incident is noted, but no investigation is necessary.
LAP 36/53— Formula 1 (@F1) September 8, 2019
Leclerc locks up into Turn One under pressure from Hamilton, and misses the apex
He recovers back onto the track and stops the championship leader from overtaking on the outside#F1 #ItalianGP 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/M5gNyit2Te
Bottas gets closer to Hamilton! He is 2 seconds behind him after 40 laps. The fight is open!
Lap 42 and Hamilton cuts the Prima Variante and loses his position to Bottas who is now 2nd!
Meanwhile, Vettel pits again and is 14th. The Ferrari driver is stuck in the midfield. Magnussen retires.
Hamilton is now struggling: his tyres are gone.
Bottas' enginer pushes him for the win, but he does a mistakes and is 1.6s behind Leclerc.
Bottas was getting closer, but he did a mistake as well at Prima Variante.
Charles Leclerc wins the Italian Grand Prix, 9 years after Ferrari's last win with Fernando Alonso.
The best way to close the weekend for the Italian tifosi.
Giovinazzi closes with 2 points at his home race: he is 9th! Great race for the local hero.