Italian Grand Prix review: Verstappen win sets new record

Penalties galore as Verstappen continues to break records.

This year's Italian Grand Prix at Monza came with an unsurprising winner, but it was still an entertaining race at points nonetheless.

The Tifosi were out in full force, willing on their team Ferrari who did a fantastic job of looking like real threats to Red Bull and in particular Max Verstappen’s race-win record.

Carlos Sainz surprisingly showed up his teammate Charles Leclerc on Saturday, taking pole position ahead of him and Max.

He even did well to keep his lead at the start of the race and for as long as he did, fending off the challenge of the Flying Dutchmen really well for as long as he could before the inevitable did happen.

It is hard to fault Verstappen, he’s driving at the highest level possible. Every great driver has these periods where they are simply unbeatable, and when you pair it with the best car on the grid by a long way, records will fall.

Best of the rest

We briefly mentioned Ferrari already, but they had a very interesting race and can take a fair bit away from the weekend.

They were easily the second-best on the grid today, ahead of Mercedes and McLaren who have at many times this season looked better than them (at least McLaren have since their big upgrades).

Sainz and Leclerc shared a hard-fought battle at the end for the final podium place, but the Spaniard managed well to keep off the attack of his teammate.

Behind them, the two Mercedes got the best result they could’ve hoped for this weekend, with George Russell finishing fifth and Lewis Hamilton in sixth.

Russell had a fairly standard race, but Hamilton had to fight for his place. He was stuck behind the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri as well as the Williams of Alex Albon for much of the race, but managed to get by using an opposite strategy that he played to perfection.

Carlos Sainz leads the field through turn 1 at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz leading the field through Turn 1.

He did make things difficult for himself when he collided with Piastri, causing damage that meant the rookie ended up with no points in the race and a five-second penalty for the Brit. He did manage to build up a big enough lead in the end, though, to keep his sixth place.

Albon got the most out of his car over the weekend. The Williams is very quick in straight lines so this circuit played into their hands brilliantly. He gave the McLarens and Hamilton a hard time and deserved to finish ahead of Norris in the end.

Fernando Alonso came off an impressive second-place finish last weekend in Zandvoort to look some ways off yet again, finishing only in ninth place. With Hamilton’s higher finish, the Spaniard’s lead in third place in the Drivers’ Standings is reduced to six points.

Overall it was a decent race. It’s hard to really get excited these days when the result is never really in doubt, but you can’t take anything away from Max and Red Bull. 

10 race wins in a row is a remarkable feat that seemingly only this team can achieve, so congratulations to them and the soon-to-be three-time champion on the feat.

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