Written by Ame Snyman, Edited by Mara Simion
Greeted with the warm, sunny weather of Italy on Sunday, the Italian Grand Prix was filled with fans, all having the same question in mind: Will Max Verstappen break a record or will the Monza curse live on?
With great qualifying results the previous day, Carlos Sainz started on pole position with a well-known Red Bull right behind him. Safe to say that there was a lot of pressure on Sainz. During the beginning of the formation lap, Yuki Tsunoda suffered from an engine failure causing him to retire from the race right before it started! Everyone had to take their places on the grid and wait for additional information from the FIA. All the team members raced back on track to keep the tyres warm whilst waiting for further instructions. It was soon declared that the formation lap would restart, causing the race to become shorter, now only having 51 laps instead of 53.
This time, the race began without any incidents. Both Ferraris sped off the grid, making Verstappen wrestle hard for the top spot against Sainz. Everyone was on the edge of their seats as Verstappen tried to overtake but failed.
Max Verstappen continued to struggle but finally in lap 15, he successfully overtook Sainz, becoming the new race leader. It was not an easy battle for first position, that’s for sure. Sainz and Verstappen went wheel to wheel before Verstappen could pass at a chicane. Behind these two drivers, another battle, for the fourth position, occurred but this time between George Russell and Sergio Perez. Both of them got sent out in the first chicane in lap 14. A 5 second penalty was handed to Russell for causing an unfair track advantage. The Mexican eventually took fourth position from the Mercedes driver.
The McLarens narrowly avoided disaster at the pit lane exit in lap 24, but misfortune would soon catch up to Oscar Piastri, as he was battling Lewis Hamilton for the sixth position. A miscalculation from the seven-time world champion led to contact, damaging the Australian's front wing. Hamilton received a 5 second penalty, which was served after the race. Piastri pitted for a new wing which made him fall back the grid, into P14 but shortly after, set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:25.072.
Perez and Sainz battled for second place, with the latter losing out. It was safe to say that the Monza curse had been broken when Verstappen had a 4.5 second advantage of the rest of the grid by the end of lap 49. This doesn’t mean that the action has ended! Logan Sargeant received a five second penalty for causing a collision on lap 50 but it was the heart-stopping duel between Ferrari teammates, Leclerc and Sainz, that stole the limelight. At the end of lap 49 the two drivers were having a battle for third. They did not almost make contact once, but three times! Both Leclerc and Sainz went wheel to wheel down the straight but the Spaniard successfully held his position in third. Leclerc experienced a lock-up at the initial chicane during the final lap, yet he managed to maintain his fourth position.
Max Verstappen won the race, breaking the Monza curse and setting a new Formula 1 record with 10 consecutive wins. Sergio Perez right behind in second and Carlos Sainz in third.