Verstappen continues his decimation of Formula 1 by piercing Sainz’s defence

2023 Italian Grand Prix review

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Although historians and statisticians may have objections and interjections about exactly how many drivers have ever competed in a grand prix since 1950, almost 800 people have taken the start in at least one round of the Formula 1 world championship.

Of those, 113 have stood on the top step of the podium as grand prix winners. Only 35 drivers – fewer than 4.5% of all grand prix drivers – have won ten or more races. Yet when arriving in Monza, Max Verstappen, the driver of car number one, had the rarest opportunity to put himself in a class of one by winning an unprecedented tenth consecutive grand prix.

Yet, if there was any venue on the calendar where Verstappen and Red Bull could be most at risk of seeing their historic runs come to an end, it was Monza.

Infamously, the Italian Grand Prix had been where the all-conquering McLaren team’s hopes of F1’s first ever perfect season were dramatically dashed back in 1988. The team who capitalised on McLaren’s misfortunes? Ferrari.

So when Carlos Sainz Jnr converted the impressive pace he had shown throughout practice into pole position at the end of a thrilling Saturday qualifying session, who could blame the scores of scarlet clad Ferrari fans for dreaming that Verstappen’s streak could well fall by Ferrari’s hand at the one circuit that means more to the Scuderia than all others.

Before Sainz and Ferrari could dare think about beating Verstappen to the chequered flag, they had the more immediate concern of beating him down to the first corner. The last time Verstappen had started second on the grid – alongside Lewis Hamilton in Hungary – he saw off the Mercedes before having to even hit the brake pedal for the first corner. At Monza, that run to turn one would be even longer and the stop when they arrived there would be far harder. But this was Ferrari and this was Monza – Sainz had far more than his own honour to defend on this day.

Monza, 2023
After the much delayed start, the field kept its order
As Sainz sat on the grid, his eyes trained on the lights above him on the gantry, he was poised and ready for the most important start, arguably, of his F1 career. But approaching the final corner of Alboreto, known by so many as the Parabolica, Yuki Tsunoda’s race had ended before it had even begun, his AlphaTauri smoking at the side of the circuit.

“Just be ready in case there’s an extra formation lap,” the pole winner was warned by engineer Riccardo Adami. “I’ll let you know. Focus on the lights.”

As he did, they did not begin to turn on in sequence but instead start flashing on and off, signalling that race control had no plans to send 19 cars charging into the first corner while marshals were busy attending to a stricken car later around the lap. But whether by instinct or error, Sainz immediately pulled away, before being shown the green light – perhaps reflective of his limited experience being on pole compared to the man alongside him.

“There was no green light yet – they went,” Verstappen reported, refusing to leave his grid slot until the green lights had finally appeared overhead.

“Okay, so Ferrari caused this,” Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley interjected. “It is now an extra formation lap. So race distance reduced by one lap.”

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By the time the field were approaching the Alboreto corner with Tsunoda’s car still stranded trackside, drivers were already being warned they would not be starting this time by either. Eventually, 20 minutes after they had all left the grid for the first time, the pack finally lined up in their gird slots for the race to, at last, get underway.

When the five red lights cycled on and disappeared just one second later, Sainz and Verstappen both leapt off the line equally as well as each other. For almost 800 metres, Verstappen stalked Sainz down the straight before settling into second place for the tightest, clunkiest first corner on the calendar.

Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Monza, 2023
Verstappen stalked Sainz through the opening laps
But despite the impossibly tight sequence, all 19 drivers successfully navigated the two turns without a single car taking to the escape road or cutting over the kerbs. As they charged around Curva Grande for the first time at racing speed the top five remained in the order they had been on the grid, with Sainz leading Verstappen, Charles Leclerc in third, George Russell in fourth and Sergio Perez fifth.

If Sainz had any hope of somehow escaping an afternoon of almost relentless pressure, that would have vanished at the end of the first lap with Verstappen well under a second behind him. All of the top ten runners, bar Lewis Hamilton in ninth, had taken the medium tyre compound for the opening stint. With the race sure to be won on pace, not strategy, Sainz had to push to try and somehow get Verstappen out of his DRS range.

Heading out of the Lesmos on the second lap, Sainz was crucially 1.08 seconds ahead of the Red Bull. But the organic slipstream that Verstappen was getting from the Ferrari down the straights was enough for him to be just three or four kilometres-per-hour faster than Sainz, allowing him to get the gap under a second by the time DRS was activated at the start of lap three.

With the ability to use his rear wing, Verstappen’s straight line advantage grew to as much as 15kph over the Ferrari. But Verstappen could quickly tell that Ferrari’s difficulties with tyre degradation would soon give him another advantage over Sainz.

“He’s already sliding a bit,” Verstappen observed. “So all good.”

The world champion appeared content to play a patient game, not forcing an opportunity to pass Sainz but instead allowing one to present itself to him. It did so at the end of lap five, with Verstappen sitting just four tenths behind as he hit the DRS button along the pit straight. He ate up the asphalt between them and as Sainz covered the inside into Rettifilo, Verstappen stayed left, only to have to back out as the pair turned into the second part of the narrow chicane.

“Bide your time,” Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase urged him. “It’s a matter of time, Max. Be sensible – don’t lose time to Leclerc.”

Verstappen heeded the wise voice in his ear, aware that the second Ferrari was well within a second of him behind and just as eager to force his way by as he was to dispatch Sainz ahead. For the next nine laps, Sainz continued to lead the Red Bull driver as Verstappen alternated between power unit modes, seeking that fine balance between energy preservation and deployment. But as the stint progressed, Sainz’s efforts to bridge a gap to the Red Bull were taking a toll.

“I felt like I had fairly under control but then around lap 10 to 12, I started feeling the rear-left tyre giving up a lot – like a lot earlier than I would have expected,” Sainz later explained. “At that point, I realised I had used my tyres too much… and that I was going to suffer a lot for the rest of the race.”

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Sainz’s lap times dropped from low to high 1’26s, while Leclerc in the second Ferrari had also fallen more than a second adrift of Verstappen. The pressure on the Ferraris was building lap-by-lap and it eventually reached a peak when Verstappen got within half a second of the leader at the start of lap 15, hitting 346kph before the pair slammed on the brakes for the first chicane. Despite not having the Red Bull alongside him, Sainz locked up his right-front into the right-hander, forcing him to take a tight line into the left.

Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Monza, 2023
Sainz’s locked brake signalled Verstappen’s opportunity
For Verstappen, the tyre smoke from the Ferrari ahead was like blood to a shark. He took a much better line through the chicane and powered onto the straight, pulling to the left through Curva Grande and alongside Sainz as they headed into the Della Roggia chicane. At the turn in point, Verstappen was in a much better position and by the time they came out of the chicane, the lead was his for the first time.

“Try to stay close for DRS,” came Adami’s slightly obvious advice. But exactly one lap after losing the lead, Sainz had already lost that vital second to Verstappen, who began to pull more than a second a lap away from him. When Ferrari looked set to bring in Sainz for his sole stop of the afternoon on lap 19, Red Bull were more than content with the 4.5 second lead he had built and saw no need to cover an undercut attempt from the Ferrari. That decision was appeared vindicated when a slight delay on the right-front meant Sainz’s stop lasted over three seconds, increasing Verstappen’s margin.

Verstappen and Leclerc eventually pitted at the end of the following lap, but while Verstappen comfortably resumed in the lead, Leclerc was in with a genuine shout of jumping his team mate. But by the time Leclerc was out of the pit lane and on the track, Sainz was side-by-side with him, sweeping around the outside of turn one to take back second place.

In the laps that followed, Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri all pitted and removed themselves from Verstappen’s way. Eventually, Hamilton assumed the lead, still on his hard tyres he had started the race on, but Verstappen was closing – and quickly.

In the second Red Bull, Perez had successfully passed Russell for fourth place before his stop and pushed hard to close down the Ferraris. He would have been thrilled to return to the track and see both Ferraris right in front of him, meaning he had just under 30 laps in which to find a way past them both to move up behind his team mate.

After multiple laps with the benefit of DRS from his team mate ahead, Leclerc fell out of range on lap 30. That left him even more vulnerable to Perez, his mirrors filled by the matte blue of the Red Bull. Heading out of the first chicane on lap 31, Perez had the momentum and decided through Curva Grande to commit to the outside into the chicane, only for Leclerc to squeeze him at the braking zone as the pair brushed slightly together.

“He’s not giving any space!” protested Perez. But race control had no objections to Leclerc’s conduct and Perez would have to find a way by the Ferrari on track. He eventually did on lap 32, gaining such an advantage out of the final corner he simply drove past Leclerc on the pit straight and into the final podium position.

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Out front, Verstappen’s lead was now over six seconds and growing, despite him actively managing both his fuel load and his hard tyres. Sainz was simply unable to match the Red Bull’s pace ahead, only once lapping faster than Verstappen over the entire second stint, while Perez needed just three laps to take the second out of Sainz he needed to get within DRS range of the Ferrari. But even once he was, it quickly became clear that he would have to work hard to relieve Sainz of second place, with Leclerc behind hanging onto him thanks to having DRS of his own.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Monza, 2023
Leclerc’s defensive moves vexed Perez
Eventually, Perez made his first move on lap 41, but Sainz jealously hogged the inside on the approach to Rettifilo, forcing Perez to move left. Perez did not fancy going side-by-side through the chicane, and backed out, but he knew Sainz was vulnerable.

“Tyres are nearly finished,” Sainz reported. But the next time by the pit straight, he was forced to go defensive a second time, again positioning his car smartly to make Perez have to pass him the hard way. The next lap, Sainz was even more aggressive, moving late to the right to block off the inside with Perez almost thinking of forcing his way through the left hander before thinking better of it and bailing to the inside.

“He’s moving really late on braking,” Perez complained. “He did the same to Max,” Perez’s engineer Hugh Bird replied. “See him off.”

Eventually, after six laps of sustained pressure, Perez finally saw off the Ferrari, wringing every kilowatt from his power unit to clear Sainz before having to even hit the brake pedal for the first chicane. Now Red Bull were running one-two, with Perez quickly escaping out of DRS range of Sainz to put himself into safety.

Verstappen held a 12 second lead over Perez with just a handful of laps remaining. He had lapped the two Haas cars running at the back of the field and was reeling in Gasly as the next car to put a lap down, but as he approached the Alpine, he received an unexpected instruction.

“Max, could you increase the gap to Gasly, please,” Lambiase requested. “Increase gap to Gasly. It’s quite an urgent request.”

Naturally, Verstappen complied, backing off by a full second for his next lap. But that was still not enough for whatever was concerning Red Bull.

“Yeah, if you increase that gap a little bit more, Max. Thank you,” the leader was told.

But while Verstappen was being instructed to slow down, things were beginning to heat up rapidly between the two Ferraris. Leclerc was now as close to his team mate as Perez had been moments earlier and with a chance of a Ferrari victory having gone, all that was left to fight for was the honour of being the Scuderia’s representative on perhaps the most famous podium on the calendar, overlooking the Tifosi. While Leclerc had enjoyed that honour twice before – including as a winner in 2019 – Sainz had only stepped on the Monza podium once before, for McLaren, when no fans were permitted to attend in 2020.

It appeared that Sainz would have to wait longer on lap 47 when Leclerc used DRS along the pit straight to pull alongside and ahead of his team mate. But despite appearing to be in a dominant position entering the Rettifilo, a lock up compromised his line through the chicane, which allowed Sainz to pull back alongside through Curva Grande. Sainz won the resulting drag race to the Roggia chicane, but in their haste to be the one ahead they both missed the corner, Sainz retaining his position ahead of Leclerc.

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Despite both being warned to “take no risks”, the pair were two-abreast the very next time they took the Rettifilo. And the next time. And the time after that. But each time, Sainz was the one to emerge from the corner still ahead of his team mate, almost 10 laps after he had complained to his team that his tyres were already crying enough.

Carlos Sainz Jr and Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monza, 2023
The Ferrari pair looked on the verge of tangling at times
As Ferrari battled, Verstappen was continuing to back off significantly to manage a mysterious ailment by keeping his distance to Gasly ahead of him, being told to “increase the gap to Gasly more if you need to,” despite not being told what reason he needed the gap for to begin with. He was now multiple seconds off his previous pace, allowing Perez to fall under eight seconds to him.

By the final lap, Leclerc knew he realistically had just a final opportunity to beat his team mate to that final podium place. Despite running deep into the final corner on the penultimate lap, Leclerc still had some momentum as they approached the end of the straight. At the last second, Leclerc tried to dummy his team mate into opening a gap to the inside, but Sainz slammed that shut, forcing Leclerc to quickly dart left to avoid him, severely locking his front tyres as he did so.

But while Italian blood pressures were being raised, Verstappen out front was perhaps as comfortable as he had ever been during his historically unstoppable run of wins. Unlike so many races over the last two seasons where Verstappen had been untouchable as if racing in a separate class entirely, he had been made to earn his place out front on this day and fight for his first place.

At a circuit that has seen more history than any other venue in Formula 1, Verstappen was about to achieve something no Formula 1 driver had ever done before. As he crossed the line to take the chequered flag, he added another record to his already remarkable collection, becoming the only driver ever to win ten straight grands prix.

“Okay, Max, you’ve done it,” praised Lambiase in typically understated fashion as his driver crossed the line. “And a little bit of history to go with it.”

“What we are doing at the moment, winning every race this year, is something that we definitely are enjoying,” said Verstappen after the race. “Because I don’t think these kinds of seasons come around very often. And that’s the same, of course, with winning ten in a row.”

After backing off dramatically in the final laps, Perez was just six seconds behind in second place. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner later explained that his team had been concerned about temperatures in his RB19 in the 30 degree heat.

“We just didn’t want to take any risks,” Horner said. “It’s a stinking hot day and we had a couple of temperatures that were under control, but there’s a bunch of cars ahead of Gasly and we just didn’t want to run in dirty air. So that’s why we took it a little bit easy in last few laps.”

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After a crash on Friday and an underwhelming qualifying performance, Perez had managed to successfully pass the three cars ahead of him on track to finish behind his team mate on his historic day.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2023
Hamilton copped a penalty for careless clash with Piastri
“I think we could have a better starting position, which definitely would have put us a lot closer in the fight for victory,” Perez said. “But certainly, we made a lot of progress, which is a positive thing.”

By far the biggest battle of the day was still yet to be decided. Despite locking up at the first chicane on the final lap, Leclerc managed to pull right back up behind Sainz’s Ferrari by the time they approached Alboreto before the flag. Despite a good exit, Leclerc could not beat Sainz over the line and Sainz secured his first Monza podium as a Ferrari driver by just 0.184 seconds. Of the 51 laps of the shortened race, Sainz had only spent nine of them without a rival or team mate within DRS range behind him.

“I’m obviously very, very happy now, because a P3 in Monza in front of the Tifosi is as good as it can get,” Sainz said. “At least for this weekend, because clearly Red Bull were, in the end, quite a bit quicker than us today, as we expected.”

Despite appearing to ignore their instructions to take no risks, Sainz and Leclerc had avoided the unthinkable and successfully not crashed into each other during their spirited battle for third. As the victor, Sainz could afford to dismiss any concerns over the battle.

“We know we were both fighting for a podium in Monza, so there was always going to be a bit of a fight, a bit of a battle,” he said. “In the end, we kept it clean. I think today, honestly, I enjoyed battling Max, battling Checo, battling Charles – I think it was a good day for F1.”

Six seconds behind Leclerc, Russell came home fifth for Mercedes but was penalised five seconds for failing to yield a position to Esteban Ocon after he had missed the Rettifilo chicane on his way out of the pit lane following his sole pit stop.

Another 20 seconds back, Russell’s team mate Lewis Hamilton took sixth after a penalty of his own for squeezing McLaren’s Oscar Piastri at the Roggia chicane, leading to the McLaren needing to pit for a new front wing and dropping his out of the points.

Alexander Albon realised Williams’ potential by finishing seventh after yet another race spent looking more in his mirrors than directly ahead of him. This time, Lando Norris was Albon’s victim, having to settle for eighth after spending the last 24 laps of the race with either Norris or Hamilton within a second of him.

The final points were claimed by Fernando Alonso in ninth after a difficult weekend for Aston Martin, while Valtteri Bottas secured a rare point for Alfa Romeo in the brand’s home grand prix in tenth place, despite having nearly been taken out by Logan Sargeant’s Williams during a late battle.

Monza, 2023
Verstappen made history with his 10th consecutive win

But once again, the race, as the 2023 season and indeed the modern ground effect era has been in general, had been all about Verstappen and Red Bull. At the highest level of closed circuit motorsport where the fastest drivers race the quickest cars, it was difficult to understate the magnitude of what the world champion and his team had achieved at Monza – with even their rivals forced to recognise greatness.

“Today, Max and Red Bull are doing an incredible job, so they deserve it – whether it’s boring or not,” said Leclerc, whose rivalry with Verstappen dates back to their karting days together.

“Of course, if every race we’ve got a different winner and we win by a second of margin, I’m sure races will be more exciting. But this is what Formula 1 is and they deserve it at the end.”

Verstappen has never chased records – only championships. But as he continues his unstoppable march to his third in as many seasons, even he seemed to appreciate what he had done.

“I never thought at the beginning of the season that something like this was possible,” Verstappen said after the race. “So yeah, very proud.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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26 comments on “Verstappen continues his decimation of Formula 1 by piercing Sainz’s defence”

  1. Some will be jealous of all the attention Max is getting for his great achievements in F1.

  2. Are the teams becoming more conservative with strategy or are we fans seeing things which are not on the cards?

    When Verstappen is pressing Sainz before the pass, Leclerc is right behind the pair. At that stage, it is clear Sainz is struggling more than Verstappen but at the beginning of the race the Ferrari could keep the RedBull behind. Why not pit one car to keep track position even if it is a long shot?
    It’s like some teams are not even playing fully their shot at a win in a year they might not have many. Is Ferrari afraid to jump Leclerc in front of Sainz? Or that it would mean too long second stint? A bit confused there. The podium was almost guaranteed at that point already.

    We are missing a RedBull strategy team this year, one not afraid to sacrifice a car to give itself a chance at a win.

    1. Most likely because by pitting at that time they would return into traffic so it would not work as an undercut.

    2. @jeanrien As Jeroen said, because of the very low field spread at the start of the race, pitting early would have put them into a bunch of traffic and they would have been unlikely to be able to use their pace, then just would have suffered more at the end on top of that. Ferrari also thought they were marginal on degradation for the 1-stopper even with an optimal pit strategy.

      Having said that, in general i agree that some teams are far too conservative and unwilling to take any gamble when they are on for a good result, even if they could potentially get a better one. RB play it very conservative with Verstappen, but that’s because they can afford to. They know they just need to keep him in contention and with his pace he will make his way to the front in almost any situation. Singapore will be interesting as that’s one race where track position might matter enough for a bold strategy to pay off.

    3. I think Ferrari were just playing it really safe at Monza. Clearly, Sainz was the driver they were supporting that weekend, and rightfully so. They also knew Leclerc wouldn’t be happy with a gamble on strategy as it has backfired way too often for him to be compliant.

      If there was 100% compliance from both drivers on risking a podium for a win, the best thing would be to put one driver on a 2 stop strategy. Either get Leclerc to undercut Max, or Sainz to pit early. Then hope and pray that a late safety car period (after the 2nd pitstop) helps in bunching the field together, and that the driver with the two pit stop strategy can make fresher tyres work to pass Max.

      Right now, Ferrari’s objective is to look respectable.. not risk it all for a win. So, I’m not surprised with the way the race played out.

      1. @todfod
        Right now, Ferrari’s objective is to look respectable.. not risk it all for a win.
        That’s all up for interpretation I think. To me, throwing the dice with 1 car, to at least try to win it would be respectable. By not doing anything they effectively gave up.

        I feel they should have pitted Sainz right away. It fits with their idea of being on the limit with the tire. And by pushing in front of Verstappen (rightfully so) he made it worse. They had excellent top speed. Sainz could have used that to overtake. Less to no tire management. He would inherit the lead when Verstappen pitted. Then he could defend again (maybe not 15 laps though) and have Leclerc close the gap and hopefully attack.

        It probably would result in p3 and p4 either way. Extra benefit: both Ferrari’s on different strategy so probably no fighting between them were the pit wall is clenching cheeks.

  3. If Ferrari is smart they steal away racestrategist Hannah Schmitz from RedBull.

    1. Funny but think that would require great strategy to achieve.

      1. A big checkbook can help. 😉

        1. Coventry Climax
          4th September 2023, 21:26

          Being smart would help too.

  4. Decimation a fitting caption for an Italian GP. Well done. RBR domination does now recall the wanton cruelty of Roman military discipline.

  5. Ferrari admitted defeat as soon as Max got through Sainz. They could’ve split strategies to force Max to pit or go long but just went with the flow. It would probably not work but it would give us some more minutes of entertainment.

  6. With his Monza win, Verstappen becomes the first ever driver to win the entire European round, finishing it off with 6 poles, 2 P2s, and a pole with a penalty with both P2s being only slower by a couple of hundredths which could have swung another way with just some external variable.

    He wins all of Silverstone Monza Monaco and Spa, the first time any driver achieves this within a single season. These races are the classic F1 races.

    Most dominant period by any driver and what is most impressive is conditions haven’t really been helpful with so many wet, changing and weird weather this season.

  7. All the more impressive considering the lack of specific updates they apparently brought.

    The other teams are so bad it’s almost incomprehensible. One wonders how the people in the various factories go to work on Monday after having once again failed as spectacularly as they have all year. There have to be a lot of otherwise smart folks wondering what they’re missing. And it is actually becoming a bit questionable that nobody is able to get even close. There is something odd about that Red Bull.

    1. Well there is a certain level of Max element in it, not just the other teams not being able to catch up. If you take Max out of the equation and still keep Checo the whole championship looks rather decent this season and has many other winners. So there certainly is an element ‘RB car’ but I think there is also a huge factor ‘once in a generation talent’ that causes the gap. Therefore I think we shouldn’t be to harsh on the other teams.

  8. What’s most interesting is how tricky it was to overtake in Monza. Unless you were 1.5s/lap faster you’re stuck behind in the DRS. Which was the opposite of what the new regs were supposed to do.

    1. I disagree. In the past would drop more than a second behind in the final corner or destroy tyres. This year they were 0.3 behind through the final corner. DRS is less effective here with trimmed wings so less drag is shed when drs is open. Most the moves were under heavy braking or setting them up for the exit of the 1st chicane then out drag them to the 2nd chicane. I thought there was loads of good examples of how DRS should work at other tracks. Unless we just want a motorway pass half way along the start finish straight.

      1. Coventry Climax
        4th September 2023, 21:25

        That’s indeed a more accurate analysis, I’d say. While they couldn’t follow super close through the Parabolica (I don’t think I’ll ever use it’s other name), it was still close enough so that you would normally have a super easy pass with DRS. Indeed, with the wings set up for minimal drag already, there wasn’t much drag to reduce any further, meaning DRS wasn’t very powerful. And yet we saw quite a lot of passes, with many of them being the genuine type, without DRS. It may not be to the extent we had hoped for, but it still indicates the new regs do work. Although you might argue ofcourse that that means it doesn’t work as intended.

        1. A good analysis. The racing was generally better than it has been at many circuits.

  9. I am not a Red Bull or Max Verstappen fan by any stretch, and during the first half of the season seeing him winning over and over again was getting really boring but honestly I am at a point where I am amazed. It is really impressive what Verstappen is capable to do on track and seeing him accomplishing so much and breaking so many records is watching F1 history being written in front of you. As for the race, I always have big expectations for Monza and even if the results were not very different from what we have been used to this season, Ferrari delivered the entertainment I was hoping to see. Sainz holding P1 for as long as he could and the Ferrari boys battle for P3 brought in my the excitement I had as a child watching Ferrari.

  10. I found Leclerc’s race incredibly selfish. While Max attacked Sainz relentlessly lap after lap, Leclerc sat back just a second adrift, never lifting a finger to help his teammate by putting pressure on Max. Sainz cooked his tyres defending against Max – and heroically, too, given the sheer pace of the Red Bull and the aggression of Max – and, when Max eventually got past, Leclerc then attacked Sainz for the final podium place!
    Really selfish – I was quite pleased when Sainz held him off!

    1. Yeah, really annoying. He was eyeing 2nd place behind Max from the go. He had the pace and the top speed to maybe trouble Max a bit while he was stuck behind Carlos but just stood there waiting for his turn while saving his tyres.

      Sainz’s late defensive moves were borderline illegal but i couldn’t care less. I would be too unfair to him to lose the last podium place to Leclerc after being under attack for the whole race.

    2. Absolutely agree but you only mention Max. Same thing happened later (and from the top of my head I reckon that for even more laps) with Checo Perez. Charles was less than a second behind most of the time but never attacked Checo. Knowing of course that pressuring Perez would help Carlos. But once Checo was past, Charles threw it all in against Carlos. Having kept his tyres a lot fresher and with DRS. Even so Carlos prevailed. Charles is the teammate from h3ll.

    3. I would rather see this as encouraging. In the sense that it means he can take it up against Max (mentally, strategically, patiently). We need more clever drivers. It sounds like something Alonso would do. Who wouldn’t want to win the Italian GP? He was simply saving tires and waiting to luck into a victory would the other two have come together. Moreover, what would getting Max behind you accomplish? It wouldn’t be for long and it would compromise his own race.

  11. Decimation definition means to remove 1 in 10. Domination probably grabs what you mean but of course its overused so lacks a bit of punch

    1. Probably the fact that Max gets his 10th win in a row contributed to the use of “decimation” although it sound a bit forced.

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