A new Ferrari hero is born and Daniel Ricciardo proves his worth for Renault: it’s driver ratings for all 20 drivers from a famous day at Monza.
Qualified 1st, Finished 1st
How about that for your first Italian GP as a Ferrari driver? If the pressure of trying to deliver for the most famous team and the most famous fans in motorsport at their home event wasn’t enough to contend with, Charles Leclerc was faced with a relentless dual Mercedes challenge as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas bid to take the victory away from him.
On a track where the high speeds and braking zones leave little room for error, Leclerc made a few mistakes but just about withstood everything – particularly after the first pitstops, when Hamilton ratcheted up the dial to ‘Hammertime’ in his Mercedes. Leclerc’s drive was described as “hard but brilliant” by Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and it was the former quality which the youngster took right to the edge on several occasions, with the stewards giving him a one-time warning about his driving when he squeezed Hamilton at the Roggia chicane.
Ruthless? Yes. But thoroughly impressive too for a driver maturing and improving in front of the world’s eyes. As former world champion Nico Rosberg said during Sky F1’s post-race coverage: “Today is the sort of drive where he showed he can, and probably will, be a Ferrari world champion in the next couple of years.”Rating out of ten: 9.5
Qualified 3rd, Finished 2nd
Valtteri Bottas came away from Monza marginally closer to Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship, but did he have a chance to do a little more damage in those final dozen laps when he took on the baton for Mercedes behind Leclerc?
“I tried everything I could,” reflected Bottas. “Always when I got close I started to struggle more in the corners. We had to get so close to overtaken them because they are so quick on the straight – there was no possibility today.”
A small braking miscue late on at the first chicane effectively ended his challenge and Bottas crossed the line a tantalising 0.8 seconds behind the victorious Ferrari. But, all in all, Monza was a decent weekend for Bottas. The Finn was right behind Hamilton in the farcically compromised qualifying session and then ultimately finished ahead in the race after his team-mate’s error.Rating out of ten: 8
Qualified 2nd, Finished 3rd
Small margins probably cost Lewis Hamilton a record-breaking sixth Monza win here. That slightly lost momentum behind Kimi Raikkonen’s spinning Alfa Romeo at the Parabolica on the only Q3 runs that counted in qualifying, and then that moment on lap 23 of the race at the second chicane when Leclerc moved across to cover the Mercedes and Hamilton took to the run-off. But, as Hamilton acknowledged afterwards, this was Leclerc and Ferrari’s weekend.
After a thrillingly-sustained but thwarted attack on Leclerc, Hamilton ultimately dropped out of second by running straight on at the chicane, although did gain one lost point back with the fastest lap late on after a second stop for tyres.Rating out of ten: 8
Qualified 5th, Finished 4th
A stellar performance from Daniel Ricciardo to claim the Renault’s best result since they bought back their old Enstone team nearly four years ago. The Australian was a permanent presence in the top five from final practice onwards and took full advantage of the RS19’s impressive low-downforce speed for his joint-best Monza result.
Although Ricciardo did fall behind Nico Hulkenberg’s sister car at the start, the Australian was back ahead by lap five and then took over fourth a lap later when Sebastian Vettel dropped his Ferrari at Ascari. Ricciardo ended up beating Hulkenberg by 13 seconds to complete a job well done.Rating out of ten: 9
Qualified 6th, Finished 5th
He wasn’t quite on his team-mate’s pace this weekend, but Nico Hulkenberg played a full part in Renault’s double top-five finish and helped breathe overdue energy into their 2019 season.
Hulkenberg is into his final three months at Enstone, of course, but he will have done his hopes of employment elsewhere on the grid no harm at all by a solid drive here. The German’s first lap – when he overtook both Ricciardo and Vettel – proved his personal race highlight.Rating out of ten: 8
Qualified 8th, Finished 6th
An eventful F1 debut for Red Bull’s new recruit around the Temple of Speed. Alex Albon lost ground at the start, came back through, and then dropped back down again when he ran wide through the gravel at the first Lesmo, at the end of a duel with Carlos Sainz that had started with a stunning late-braking move from the Red Bull on the McLaren at the second chicane.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace on the straights to overtake so I had to do my manoeuvres on the corners,” said the youngster. “That resulted in a lot of side by side action and at one point I just lost a bit too much grip going that wide so it started to get messy.” A later five-second penalty for an illegal pass on Kevin Magnussen added to Albon’s complicated afternoon, but he came through strongly in the final stint and ended up right on Hulkenberg’s tailRating out of ten: 7
Qualified 17th (Started 18th); Finished 7th
A strong drive and an opportunistic strategy from Racing Point saw Perez gain 11 positions on Sunday and secure some crucial points for the team’s constructors’ battle. Power problems in qualifying had dropped the Mexican out in Q1 and, after losing another place on the grid for a change of engine to Mercedes’ previous spec, a top-eight finish would have appeared a long shot.
But Perez did what he does best: racing solidly and consistently to move into 11th place by lap 11 and then jumping into the pits for his stop under the Virtual Safety Car. From there on, Perez overtook Giovinazzi and then kept a DRS-equipped Verstappen at bay for the final 10 laps.Rating out of ten: 8
Qualified 20th (Started 19th); Finished 8th
The last two race days at Spa and Monza haven’t quite been what Verstappen has become accustomed to, but he still drove well here to overcome first a back-of-the-grid start and then an emergency lap-one pit-stop for repairs to claim some useful points in eighth.
“I got front wing damage under breaking into Turn One as everyone slowed up and I clipped Sergio’s rear tyre,” Max explained. “We then pitted for a new front wing and the race was still on as I had really good pace in clean air.” Although the timing of his second stop didn’t quite work out well with the VSC, Verstappen worked his way back through again before getting stuck behind Perez’s Racing Point.Rating out of ten: 7.5
Qualified 11th (Started 10th) Finished 9th
The first Italian to race in the Italian GP for eight years, Antonio Giovinazzi was rightly satisfied with his weekend and run to what stands as the best finish of his short career so far. With Kimi Raikkonen crashing out of Q3 and dropping to the back of the field, Giovinazzi led Alfa Romeo’s charge and coped well with the responsibility, pipping Lando Norris to ninth place.
“It was a difficult race, but a lot of our work has been rewarded, especially after Spa,” said Giovinazzi.Rating out of ten: 7.5
14th (Started 16th); Finished 10th
Like Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris knew on his arrival at Monza that he was going to be up against it owing to engine change penalties, so a point for the Englishman was at least some reward for this efforts. “We got a bit unlucky: we boxed, we had the undercut on Perez, but then the Virtual Safety Car came out and he got a bit lucky to stay ahead and went on to finish in P7,” explained Norris.
“I’m not suggesting we definitely would’ve finished there, because I think they still had better pace than us, but we could’ve finished better without the VSC.” Tenth certaintly isn’t a replacement for that cruelly-lost fifth from Spa the week before, but it still gets the Englishman back up and running after the summer break.Rating out of ten: 7
Out of the points
Had it not been for Lance Stroll’s Racing Point on the exit of the Ascari chicane, Pierre Gasly reckons he would have finished in the points from a penalised 17th, rather than just outside in 11th. The Frenchman certainly has a literal point: before being forced into the grass he was running two places ahead of Perez, who went on to finish seventhRating out of ten: 6
“I’m quite upset with him for what happened,” said Lance Stroll of Sebastian Vettel, whose unforced spin and ill-advised return to the track at Ascari unfortunately coincided with then-seventh-placed Racing Point coming through that fast chicane. Forced into a spin, Stroll was then penalised himself – unfairly so, thought driver and team – when he rejoined the track himself in front of the oncoming Gasly. “It’s just a disaster really. I couldn’t see Pierre: I was just trying to get off the racing line and away from the dangerous position Vettel forced me into,” added a frustrated Canadian. He ended up 12th.Rating out of ten: 7
A penny for Sebastian Vettel‘s thoughts as Leclerc took the acclaim of the Tifosi on F1’s most atmospheric podium as a an Italian GP race victor for Ferrari. Vettel, yet to stand on Monza’s top step for the home team, had been frustrated after qualifying and appeared simply downcast in his interviews after the race, admitting he had spun through his own mistake and then didn’t see the oncoming Stroll in the clash that truly wrecked his day. On a weekend that turned into the ultimate Ferrari party, Vettel couldn’t play the role he would have so wanted.Rating out of ten: 5
George Russell can be proud of his Monza performance. Fourteenth, excluding the crazy wet race in Germany, equals his best finish in F1 – and at a track which Williams said prior to the race would be one of their most difficult of the season. Russell dropped behind Robert Kubica at the start but, as has so often been the case this season, comfortably outpaced his team-mate after that and was only overtaken by Vettel in the closing stages. “I think we can be quite pleased,” said Russell, who has been remarkably consistent this year despite the poor car.Rating out of ten: 8
Kimi Raikkonen knew he was going to have a difficult day after starting from the pit-lane due to that qualifying crash – but he surely didn’t think it was going to be this bad. Raikkonen started the race on the wrong compound and was handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for it, and he never really recovered from that. Looking at the pace of the Alfa Romeo, and the drivers who started from the back, Raikkonen should really have finished in the points. “Well that was a s*** weekend,” he said. “Looking forward to Singapore, as it can’t get worse.”Rating out of ten: 5
Another miserable Sunday for Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman started 13th but was dead last after the first chicane after being hit from behind. He made ground after that but then went for a scary spin at Ascari on Lap 10, flat-spotting his tyres in the process and losing more ground. “Definitely something went wrong with the car today,” said Grosjean later. We’ve heard that one before.Rating out of ten: 6
Robert Kubica was up in 13th on lap one – heady heights for the Williams this year – but that was only a temporary high for the Pole as he then endured another difficult race day. “I tried my best and that’s how it is,” said Kubica, who was the only driver to be lapped twice.Rating out of ten: 6
Did Not Finish
Unlike his team-mate, Kevin Magnussen was showing some promise in Monza and looked to have a chance of scoring points – he was in the top-10 with less than 20 laps remaining. “I was fighting to keep people behind, which is normal for me these days,” said Magnussen, who enjoyed battling with his midfield rivals for once. Unfortunately, his afternoon fun was brought to a halt by a hydraulic problem.Rating out of ten: 7
“It was shaping up to be an amazing race today,” said Daniil Kvyat, who was up in sixth and ahead of the Red Bull when he had to retire with an oil leak. A shame for the Russian, and Honda, whose new engine appeared to work rather well at Monza.Rating out of ten: 7.5