F1 2020: Pierre Gasly Wins Action-Packed Italian Grand Prix

France’s Pierre Gasly celebrates winning his maiden Formula One Grand Prix race.(Reuters: Miguel Medina)

MONZA, Italy — France’s Pierre Gasly won a nerve-wracking Italian Grand Prix thriller for Italy-based AlphaTauri during the weekend with none of the usual top teams on the podium.

Until Sunday, no driver outside of Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari had won a race for seven-and-a-half years. For the first time since Olivier Panis in 1996 at Monaco, a Frenchman has won a Formula One Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old AlphaTauri driver, who finished 0.415 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and 3.358 ahead of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, earned his maiden win at Formula one after Red Bull dropped him last year.

Lewis Hamilton — who appeared on course for a comfortable victory from pole position– placed 7th after he was given a stop-go penalty for entering the pit lane when closed. The Mercedes driver ended up 17.245 seconds behind Gasly.

“It was such a crazy race. The car was fast, and to go through so much in the space of 18 months. First podium last year (in Brazil), now first victory in Monza. I have no words,”

pierre gasly, formula 1 driver for alphatauri

How did that happen?

Not meant to be

Aside from Gasly’s superb personal performance, the factors which locked the unusual circumstances of his race into place were to do with lap 18 when Kevin Magnussen’s retirement caused a series of events that paved the way for Pierre Gasly to complete one of the most surprising victories in motor racing’s recent history.

It started with Magnussen rolling the Haas to a silent stop on the inside of Parabolica. Something inside the power unit had broken. Because there wasn’t a suitable gap to pull the car into, the only alternative was for the marshals to push the car to the pit lane nearby and subsequently deploy a safety car.

The FIA Safety Car leads Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 06, 2020 in Monza, Italy – Dan Istitene – Formula 1 

Lewis Hamilton then missed the two red crosses to signal that the pit lane was closed. Hamilton and the Mercedes pit wall had 12 seconds to react to the order but failed to do so. The British driver dived in for fresh tires and his fate was sealed.

The stewards gave race leader Hamilton and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for the infringement.

“My race wasn’t meant to be today but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

lewis hamilton, formula 1 driver for mercedes

Gasly’s dream, Ferrari’s nightmare

Ferrari’s abysmal weekend continued as Sebastian Vettel had a brake failure on Lap 7 and he limped into the pits with his right-rear brake disc in flames. It was the four-time champion’s first DNF at Monza in his 14th start.

His teammate Charles Leclerc had made it into fourth but lost the rear of the car under 180 mph acceleration through Parabolica on Lap 25 and crashed into the barriers, which led to a red-flag period.

Hamilton served his penalty shortly after a 27-minute delay while the barriers were repaired. The British driver emerged last on Lap 29, more than 30 seconds behind Gasly, but passed eight cars and secured a bonus point for the fastest lap following his punishment.

“It feels severe. A stop-and-go penalty often comes if you have done something intentional, driven erratically or put someone in danger. I don’t know if they can make the rule better for the future, but I accept it and move forwards. I hold myself accountable.”

lewis hamilton, formula 1 driver for mercedes

Gasly said on the podium the win meant so much because of the tumultuous nature of his time in F1, where he went from Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) to Red Bull before being dumped from the top team.

“I have been through so much in the space of 18 months, now my first win with AlphaTauri in Monza,” he said.

“I have no words, this team have given me so much, my first opportunity, my first podium and now my first win.”

pierre gasly, formula 1 driver for alphatuari
The day Pierre has dreamed of since he first got behind the wheel…
Source: @xpbimages instagram

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