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What the teams said – Race day in Italy


Mercedes

Hamilton had a better start today and was past Norris and harassing Verstappen for second place. But he had to pull out of an ambitious move into the second chicane and lost out to the McLaren as a result, running fourth for the first stint. He pitted later than his championship rival, and came out just ahead of the Dutchman on track. The two fought side by side into the first corner, but two into one just wouldn’t go and the title protagonists collided at Turn 2, with the Red Bull coming up and over the cockpit of the Mercedes in an incident that took both out of the race. As for Bottas, he started from the back and soon scythed his way through the field on the hard compound tyres. Benefiting from the Safety car to make his pit stop, he wound up with a hard-fought podium from P19 on the grid.

READ MORE: ‘Tactical foul’ or ‘racing incident’? Wolff and Horner have their say on the Verstappen-Hamilton clash

Lewis Hamilton, DNF

“Obviously disappointing for me to end the race in the manner that it did. I though the team did a great job with the strategy, and we were in a good position until that collision on Lap 26. From what I remember, after I came out of the pits, I saw Max coming and I made sure I left a car’s width on the outside for him. I went into Turn 1 and I was ahead, and I was ahead going into Turn 2, and then all of a sudden, he was on top of me. All in all, not a great end to the weekend for me but it was good to see that Valtteri carried the team with his amazing recovery drive. Coming from the back all the way to the podium on a track like this is not easy. The Team did a great job and coming away with more points than Red Bull is definitely positive.”

Valtteri Bottas, 3rd

“I told the team that I was going to be on the podium today so I am glad we did. A great recovery from me, I don’t think I’ve made up that many places in a race in my career. Starting from the back is never easy, and in the end, I am glad we got more points than Red Bull today, especially considering where we were before the race. It was enjoyable out there, some good overtakes and some good racing. The battle with Perez was a good one and I am very happy with my result. Probably one of my better weekends with Mercedes, I think I was strong all weekend so that is very satisfying. Obviously, it is a shame about the crash with Lewis and Max – we lost some important points there. I haven’t really seen the incident properly yet but I am glad to hear he is ok. Now we need to look ahead and I hope to carry this momentum into Russia, a track where I’ve done well in the past.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“Another mixed afternoon for us. On the one hand, Valtteri did an incredible job coming from P20 and getting a podium for the Team. He has been on top form this weekend and P3 from back of the grid is thoroughly deserved after his performance all weekend. On the other hand, the incident with Max was really unfortunate for Lewis, as he seemed to be in a great position after his stop. If you compare it to Lewis at turn four on lap one, where he backed out, I think it was clear for Max that his positioning would end in a crash. The stewards have made their decision but it is clear that, without the halo this could have been much worse.”

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

“It was a great drive by Valtteri today to get back to the podium; such a shame that we had to take a penalty with him as a weekend like the one he put together would normally be rewarded with a win. It’s sad that Lewis’s race had to end the way it did but a relief that he had the extra protection of the Halo today otherwise it would have been very nasty. Max was never going to make the corner but it seems like he will always choose to force the issue rather than concede a position to Lewis. It’s frustrating to have had a car that was so quick and leave here with so few points but the reality is that there are many areas where we need to perform better. Valtteri can be proud of what he did but as a team we’ve got to be critical of ourselves in a number of areas of performance and reliability, we’ve not been at the level we need so fixing that has to be our priority right now.”

Red Bull

Verstappen lost a place at the start to Ricciardo, and couldn’t find a way past the Aussie in their first stints. His race was further compromised by a very slow pit stop which dropped him down the order. Sensing an opportunity as he saw his title rival emerge from the pits just ahead, Verstappen tried to dive down the inside into the first chicane. He got the squeeze from Hamilton, and bounced onto the kerbs, which sent his car up and over the Mercedes in an odd-looking incident. The stewards deemed him at fault and have given a three-place grid drop to the Dutchman. As for Perez, he recovered up to third after a poor qualifying compromised his race, but was handed a five-second time penalty for overtaking Leclerc off the track. When applied, it dropped him from third at the flag to fifth overall.

READ MORE: Verstappen says Hamilton ‘ran me out of road’ in pair’s spectacular Italian Grand Prix coming together

Max Verstappen, DNF

“We were racing for position today but you need two people to work together to make the corner and Lewis just kept squeezing until there wasn’t room anymore for two cars and that’s when we crashed. When he exited the pits, he started to squeeze me going into Turn 1 so I had to use the green part of the track. It was very tight but there was room for me to go around the outside and then I was pushed onto the orange sausage kerb. I was there to try and race hard but fair. I don’t fully agree with the penalty as I believe it was a racing incident. It’s very unfortunate what happened today but we are both professionals and so we will move on.”

Sergio Perez, 5th

“It was a very eventful race and a real shame to miss out on the podium. With the penalty, I think we hoped for a wider view in the sense that it was my corner and I was ahead of Charles, but it is what it is and we tried to recover. From our side we did the best possible race we could as a Team but overtaking was impossible today and it was really difficult to keep ahead of the cars behind. McLaren were really quick and difficult to beat, they’ve been solid this weekend and especially on the straights they were hard to follow. They had very strong traction so at no point could I be a threat to them, but as a Team this wasn’t our track, we weren’t so strong here so now we move on and look forward to Russia. There is still a long way to go in this championship.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“We are disappointed with the three place grid penalty, but accept the stewards decision. We felt what happened between Max and Lewis was a genuine racing incident. You can argue for both sides but ultimately it’s frustrating and disappointing to see both cars out of the race in what is proving to be an exciting championship. The main thing today is that the halo ultimately did its job and certainly this isn’t the way we intended to finish the race. With Checo, he was desperately unlucky and we felt it was very marginal given there was no instruction from the race office to give the position back. We had to make a decision whether or not to get on with the race, and so we got our heads down and then Checo was handed the penalty. He drove some strong laps under intense pressure but was unable to open up a gap and so we were sad to finish third on the road but fifth overall with only one car scoring points.”

Ferrari

Having held station off the line, Leclerc was one of the main beneficiaries of the first Safety Car period as he emerged via a free pit stop to be second on track. But he couldn’t keep a feisty Norris behind for long, and then lost out to the faster Perez and Bottas too. Sainz had to work slightly harder after contact with Giovinazzi at the start cost him some of his front wing. Still, fourth and sixth is a very good outing for the team at a track they didn’t expect to suit their car – but given where their constructors’ challengers finished, it was ultimately a bittersweet result on home soil.

READ MORE: Leclerc calls battling P4 at Monza ‘one of my top five performances in F1’

Charles Leclerc, 4th

“I put my whole heart into it today. In terms of my personal performance, I would rank this as one of my top drives since joining Formula 1, so I am really happy about my race. Every lap was like a qualifying lap and I took every opportunity I had to fight for positions and had fun driving.

“We were quite vulnerable on the main straight which is what made the race more difficult for us. Of course we want more than a fourth place, but taking all things into consideration I think this is a result we can be pleased with today. Looking at where we were last year, we have made a big step forward. This is thanks to the work of every person on our team and I think we should be proud of this and acknowledge it.”

Carlos Sainz, 6th

“My first Italian GP with Ferrari was very special and I will always remember this weekend even if it wasn’t the best in terms of results. We obviously wanted to stand on the podium in front of the tifosi but it wasn’t possible. We were not quite there in the fight today and I’ve struggled with the car more than I wanted since yesterday morning. The rear sliding, combined with the lack of top speed, eventually made things very tricky during the race.

“Taking everything into consideration, P6 is a decent result but that’s not what we are here for. We will have to keep improving to make sure next year we can fight for the top spot. Congratulations to McLaren on the one-two finish. Today they deserve that result and I can’t wait to race against them in Russia.”

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal

“A decent result, which reflects what we could have expected on a track that definitely did not suit the characteristics of our car. In fact, at this track we paid the price for a lack of speed, which made us particularly vulnerable at the restarts, as we saw again today. Nevertheless, the race pace was reasonably satisfactory, given what we expected going into the weekend.

“Congratulations to McLaren who have won for the first time in nine years: they are back in third place but there is still a long way to go this season and we will do our utmost to fight for it right to the very end.”

Aston Martin

Stroll managed to negotiate the start cleanly and from there on in kept largely out of trouble as he collected a decent haul of points. He was called to the stewards after the race for failing to slow under yellow flags, with a warning deemed necessary. Vettel was more in the thick of things, forced wide at the start and then banging wheels with Ocon who didn’t leave the German much room as they squabbled for position. While the Frenchman was penalised, Vettel couldn’t make any headway after that one thanks to the damage to his front wing and came home outside the points.

Sebastian Vettel, 12th

“It was not our day today. My race was done on the first lap. I made a good start and managed to avoid the bottleneck through the first chicane, but I was pushed wide at Turn 6 and lost a lot of places, which was made worse by drivers cutting the chicane at Turns 4 and 5 before. The car was then damaged too, so it was impossible to really recover. We then pitted just before the Safety Car, which was also unlucky. It gave us hope that we could perhaps close up on the cars ahead, but there was just too much ground to make up. Esteban [Ocon] and Mick [Schumacher] also made contact with me, which did not help. I enjoyed a good battle with Robert [Kubica] towards the end and we did all we could today. I also want to say congratulations to Daniel [Ricciardo] for winning the race today.”

Lance Stroll, 7th

“Finishing P7 is a good result and a great job by the team. It was a case of pushing the entire race because the field was pretty close throughout. We managed to find a good spot with the car. While we were not quite as quick as some of the others on the straights, we were strong in the corners, and we were able to make that work for us. I think seventh was the maximum we could have achieved today considering our race pace. After three races in a row, it is nice to have a bit of a break before we head to Russia and I am looking forward to getting back in the car there.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO

“Lance drove a superb race to seventh place today, earning us an important six world championship points. As for Sebastian, he had an incident-packed afternoon, including a bit of contact with Lance on Lap 1, and was badly chopped by [Esteban] Ocon later on. The accident damage took its toll towards the end of the race, which made it more difficult to fight and overtake. Next we go to Sochi, where we fully intend to add useful points to our world championship tally.”

Alpine

Alpine have been slowly building this weekend, and a double points haul is not to be sniffed at here given the track looked so unsuited to their car. Alonso managed to take advantage at the Safety Car period to make up a handful of places, while Ocon had to work harder from further back. The Frenchman was handed a time penalty at his pit stop, earned for some wheel to wheel contact with Vettel where the stewards deemed he hadn’t left enough room. But he put that behind him to grab the last point on offer.

Esteban Ocon, 10th

“It was a busy race for us today and, while scoring a point is always good, I feel we were very unfortunate not to score more. I had a good start, made a couple of places, and then I had to give a position back to Nicholas [Latifi], which cost us time. Then, I was having a good battle with Sebastian [Vettel], we touched a bit at Turn 4 without having any damage and received a five-second penalty for the manoeuvre. With the timing of the Safety Car, we had to serve it at the pit stop and that really cost us as it looked like we could have gained a big advantage from that. I disagree with the decisions on both incidents, but that’s how it goes sometimes. The one point doesn’t reflect the team’s work this weekend as there was potential for more.”

Fernando Alonso, 8th

“I think we maximised our potential today considering it was an uncompetitive weekend for us after qualifying 13th and 14th on Friday. It was quite a lonely race for me, but both cars finished in the points so it’s a good result for the team. I think the result shows we executed a good race, strategy and pit-stops. Now Monza is out of the way, hopefully we can find our competitiveness again for the next race and fight for more points in the championship.”

Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director

“It was an eventful race today and it’s good we were able to get through it unscathed with both cars again in the points. Given our starting position, it’s not a bad day’s work, especially as our closest rivals in the championship did not score. We have consolidated our fifth place in the Championship on a circuit that isn’t very favourable for our car. Congratulations to Daniel for his win – he is the second Australian driver to win today as Alpine Academy driver Oscar Piastri won the Formula 2 Feature Race this morning! After three races in a row, the race team is now going to take a well-deserved break before continuing the season in Sochi, a circuit which should allow us to be more competitive and fight for bigger points.”

Williams

Latifi capitalised on a good start to run inside the points for the first stint, with Russell a few places back. But the lucky breaks fell for Russell today, as he was able to pit under the Safety Car to jump up into ninth while Latifi lost out having pitted a few laps earlier. All of which meant that Williams further extended their lead over Alfa Romeo in the constructors’, as they continue a fine run of form that has netted them points in three of the last four races.

READ MORE: Italian Grand Prix Facts & Stats – McLaren end 170-race win drought in style

George Russell, 9th

“We were on the track in the right place at the right time when the Safety Car came out and gained a couple of positions in the pit lane. The last stint after that was then really strong with Alonso ahead of me and Ocon behind me and we managed to maintain the gap. We’ve now scored points at three of the last four races which at one point seemed pretty unbelievable. We got a little bit fortunate with all the incidents today but again we put ourselves in the right position and were there to capitalise. At the end of the day we’ve beaten an Alpine, an Aston Martin, and both Alfa Romeos so we just need to keep this momentum going. I also want to say a massive well done to McLaren. Daniel and Lando are really great guys and a one-two for them is pretty epic.”

Nicholas Latifi, 11th

“It was a very tough, but positive race. It is never nice to finish P11 but I am happy with the performance, as this is normally one of my weaker tracks. We got unlucky with the timing of the Safety Car and then lost out to George, and Esteban was the quicker car with fresh tyres. I think if we had no Safety Car, running in the points, I think we would have stayed there as we were quite comfortable up until then. Overall, it is a good result for the team as we didn’t think we would be in a position to be challenging for points today.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

“This weekend has not been our most competitive in terms of absolute pace, however, today we put forward a decent race car, which both drivers could use to attack the cars ahead. We gained some places from other people’s misfortune, but equally we kept out of trouble and both drivers did very well at a difficult and demanding track.

“Nicholas was outstanding in the first stint and was well positioned after the pitstop. However, the timing of the Safety Car was unfortunate for him and, conversely, perfect for George who was able to jump Nicholas through the pit stop. From then on, George managed an excellent race, defending from Ocon and keeping Alonso very honest. Nicholas was unfortunate to miss out on a points finish, but nonetheless drove very well in another race that will serve him well in the future.

“These three races have been gruelling for the team both here at the track and back in Grove, who have tirelessly supplied new and refreshed components to the track, particularly in the wake of the damage we suffered in qualifying in Zandvoort. However, the collective effort and unstinting good humour have ultimately delivered another strong race for the team.

“Congratulations to McLaren who were fast throughout the weekend and fully deserve their success today. They are an excellent racing team and we look forward to renewing our long-standing rivalry with them next year.”

AlphaTauri

Just not their weekend. Gasly had taken on a new PU and gearbox and was set to start from the pit lane, but complained of throttle issues on his reconnaissance lap pre-race. The issue proved terminal in the end, with the Frenchman retiring after just a few laps. Meanwhile, Tsunoda didn’t even take the start – he was set to, before a brake issue was detected with moments to go before lights out. Sadly his car was wheeled off the grid, and he’ll have to wait until next year to race here in anger.

Pierre Gasly, DNF

“We had a brilliant start to the weekend, with another strong qualifying performance, but then after yesterday’s Sprint it’s all been very disappointing. We knew there was something wrong in the initial laps, but we weren’t able to get it fixed before the race. We don’t know the exact issue yet but unfortunately, we had to retire the car. It’s our home race so it’s hard to lose both cars here today. We know that the performance of the car is there, so we need to just work hard and prepare for the next race.”

Yuki Tsunoda, DNF

“On the lap to the grid we found a mechanical issue with the car. We tried to fix this on the grid, but it wasn’t possible, so we brought the car back into the garage to try and sort it ahead of the race. My mechanics did a great job trying to get it fixed, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to start. It’s tough not to get more laps and experience in this car, but we need to turn the page and my full focus will now be on Russia.”

Jody Egginton, Technical Director

“Unfortunately, today’s race was over before it got going for both drivers. Yuki reported a braking issue on his laps to grid which, as hard as the guys tried, could not be resolved, forcing his retirement. Then, a system issue identified with Pierre’s car early on meant we had to retire that car also. Frustratingly, we have not been able to turn the strong performance shown by Pierre on Friday into points here. Likewise, Yuki has not been able to get further important race mileage and experience under his belt, as such we have not been able to take the fight to our closest competitors. However, the package has again shown itself to be competitive and everyone will be pushing to ensure we carry this into the next races, with the focus on recovering ground to our closest competitors.”

Alfa Romeo

Giovinazzi once again lost out at the start, as he ran across the chicane and came back to the track just ahead of Sainz who tipped him into a spin. Losing his front wing as a result, he had to immediately pit and then to add insult to injury, was handed a five-second penalty for re-joining the track unsafely. That put paid to any chance of points today. Kubica, who had had his own moment yesterday in the Sprint, kept his race cleaner today and came home in P14.

Robert Kubica, 14th

“Not as easy a race as we hoped but, in the end, we got as much out of it as we could. My first lap was good – not a great launch, but the positioning was good and I gained three positions, despite being the only one besides Bottas with hard tyres. The grip was not great and I knew I had to protect the tyres, so I opened up a gap from Russell and hoped for the second part of the race, when the mediums would be an advantage. Even after the stops, though, I struggled to follow the cars in front – I could get close, but then I’d lose so much grip. In the end, I had some nice battles with ebastian [Vettel] again before swapping places with Antonio and finishing 14th.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, 13th

“It’s a pity to have such a strong weekend compromised by an incident in Lap 1. I went a bit wide at the second chicane, jumped on the kerbs and then I had no control over the car. I need to see the pictures to fully understand what happened. After that, it was just a difficult race: I had damage to the floor and it was just very difficult from the back. It’s frustrating, especially knowing how our pace looked and where the cars that were around us finished. I wished for more for my home race in Monza.”

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

“We showed really good pace this weekend, so it’s disappointing to leave the track empty-handed after a race heavily compromised on the opening lap. The performance in qualifying and in the sprint had put us in a great position, with the pace to fight the cars around us. Unfortunately, a collision on lap one compromised Antonio’s race and even a Safety Car could not put us back into the points. Robert had a good race, making up some ground at the start and in the first lap, which went a long way to recover after the problems in qualifying. He battled well and played the team game in the end. All in all, it’s an opportunity lost for the team as our pace was good and the weekend had looked great, consistently in the top ten, until Sunday, where we were caught in the circumstances and had to settle for a finish outside the points.”

Haas

Unfortunately for their Team Principal, the Haas drivers again made contact. At the Safety Car restart, Mazepin tried a move on his team mate but instead sent the German into a spin which earned the Russian a time penalty from the stewards. To add to his woes he then locked up and ran wide to flat spot his tyres, before pulling over with mechanical issues. By the time Schumacher had recovered form his spin, the rest of the field had disappeared and he trailed home last.

Mick Schumacher, 15th

“Personally, I felt it was a good race. I feel we took the right decisions in terms of strategy and I feel the communication in the race was very good. In terms of race start, there was a lot happening in front and with the Safety Car things got interesting. We had a good restart this time and we were able to fight. Unfortunately, I got a bit of damage on the front wing, but in general we can be happy how we managed it today.”

Nikita Mazepin, DNF

“I had a power unit failure from what I believe – we just lost all power. I think it was dangerous for the whole unit to continue forwards and not be able to recover it completely, so the team said to stop the car immediately. With Mick, he braked very early going in to Turn 4 and I just put my nose there and obviously he needed to make the corner and turn in, so I’m sorry it happened. It was my fault, but it was a racing incident. It was obvious that I wasn’t happy about it and that it happened. Later I had a flat spot and half a wing plate missing, we needed to box for a pit stop and then obviously the engine said goodbye.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“A pretty exciting race for us in all aspects with all that went on. Obviously, again we had a run-in between the two drivers but they cleared the air about it. What was said was said and they are good. We’re making progress on that side and hopefully we can keep it like this. I think our two guys learned from the last races, now try to move on and try to take onboard the suggestions that we as a team give them and hopefully we have less of this coming in the future, even if today it happened. If you are clear about it, it’s good, it’s part of learning and fortunately the car was not badly damaged.”

Pirelli

Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing

“Both McLaren drivers used the same medium to hard strategy that was adopted by the majority of the field, but Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes also showed what was possible with the opposite strategy. The performance of the hard tyre here was underlined by the fact that Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest lap on the final lap, having managed the race perfectly since the restart. Today’s warm weather certainly favoured the hard and medium compounds, which both showed minimal degradation, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, it was a bit too warm for the soft to show its speed advantage.”

RACE HIGHLIGHTS: Watch all the action from a dramatic Italian Grand Prix at Monza

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