F1 Italian GP: Verstappen takes victory to break consecutive win record

Max Verstappen has won the Italian Grand Prix!

The Dutch driver has taken his 12th win of the season, as he breaks the record for most consecutive wins with 10. In a Red Bull 1-2, teammate Sergio Perez finished in second place,

Before the lights could go out, Yuki Tsunoda pulled over on the formation lap with an engine failure and smoke coming from his car. After the orange lights were flashing, the start was aborted as a recovery truck was needed for the Alpha Tauri. After a 20-minute delay, the race was finally ready to start.

As the lights went out, pole-sitter Carlos Sainz held his lead into turn one ahead of Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. Everyone else behaved into the first corner and got through it neatly. There was a battle in the points between the Williams of Alex Albon and Oscar Piastri, the former successful as he crossed the line at the end of the second lap. Fernando Alonso lost a place to the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.

At the beginning of lap six, the battle for the lead began to heat up as Verstappen attempted a move with DRS around turn one, but the Ferrari held its own and maintained the lead of the race. After their tight squeeze, Sainz’s teammate Leclerc was ready to pounce behind them as the top three drove away from the rest. George Russell was defending further back against Perez.

The mechanics were called into action for the first team in the race after Alpine bought in Pierre Gasly for a tyre change. However, the French driver lost some time after it took a bit linger to jack his car up in the pit box. After a number of laps sparring and jabbing, Verstappen finally made his way past Sainz after the Spaniard locked up his tyre into the first corner. It was a bitter battle into the fourth corner as the old teammates went wheel to wheel, but it was the World Champion who proved the knock-out blow.

Mercedes were playing the long game with Lewis Hamilton who started on the hard compound tyre and still sat in his qualifying position of eight at the end of the 18th lap; his teammate Russell was comfortably fifth, seven seconds up the road from the leading McLaren. Previous leader Sainz pitted on lap nineteen after his tyres started to go off, with Verstappen and Leclerc following him a lap later. McLaren led the race as a 1-2 ahead of Hamilton but were both yet to pit. As the pit stops all went through and the grid reformed itself, old foes Verstappen and Hamilton went into turn one side by side but the former retook the lead of the race. Shortly after, the McLarens came together at the first corner with Lando Norris ahead of Piastri.

As the race reached half distance, Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson was sitting one place outside of the points in 11th, behind Fernando Alonso and ahead of Zhou Guanyu. Albon still fought against the McLarens for sixth place, as Verstappen led by over seven and a half seconds.  Before long, Hamilton had caught the trio with his faster, fresher medium tyres and was fighting Piastri into the chicane of turns four and five. However, the two came together on lap 43 with Hamilton making the move across and hitting Piastri’s front left tyre who had to box for a new front wing.

On lap 45, Perez was still fighting Sainz to make it a Red Bull 1-2 and had to go off track in turn one. The action was heating up as the race reached its conclusion, and Perez finally found his way past the Ferrari. Hamilton was making his way forward after receiving a five second penalty for his earlier collision with Piastri.

On the final lap, it was nearly home heartbreak for the Ferraris as Leclerc nearly went into the back of teammate Sainz, but it was the latter who finished on the podium behind the two Red Bulls.

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