F1: Charles Leclerc goes back-to-back with Italian GP victory

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One week after claiming his first Formula One victory, Charles Leclerc is a winner once again.

The 21-year-old Ferrari driver led all but eight laps in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, claiming the first victory for the legendary constructor in their home country since Fernando Alonso’s victory in 2010.

However, Leclerc didn’t simply run away with the victory. Instead, he spent the majority of the race holding off the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, both of whom challenged Leclerc for the lead of the race.

Leclerc kept Hamilton at bay early on in the race, but first came under pressure from the defending World Champion following the first set of pit stops.

After pitting a lap later than Hamilton, Leclerc changed to the hard tire compound before reentering the track just in front of the Briton

With Hamilton on the faster medium tire compound, he attempted to make a pass on Leclerc after both cleared Nico Hulkenburg.

Under Pressure from Hamilton entering the Turn 1 chicane, Leclerc defended his position but then moved across the track to the right, making contact with Hamilton and forcing him into the run-off area.

Leclerc was given a black-and-white flag warning for the move, which Hamilton described as “dangerous””, but still retained his position.

He would then lock up upon entering Turn 1 shortly after, cutting the second part of the chicane, which allowed Hamilton to challenge once again.

But with his softer tire compound quickly wearing off, Hamilton was unable to put up a proper fight.

Hamilton continued to remain just behind Leclerc for the next several laps, before locking up his front left tire when entering the chicane on Lap 42, forcing him on to the escape road and surrendering second place to teammate Bottas.

With Bottas now in second, he attempted to pick up the pace and put pressure on Leclerc, coming as close as a half second behind the leader.

However with too few laps remaining, the Finn could not make a pass for the lead and the Mercedes duo would have to settle for the second and third positions on the podium, as Leclerc took the checkered flag to claim his second victory in seven days.

“What a race!” Leclerc said following the second victory of his F1 career. “I’m very happy with this!”

The race was also a great one for the Renault duo of Daniel Riccardo and Hulkenburg, as the teammates finished in the fourth and fifth positions, respectfully.

Red Bull’s Alex Albon finished the race in sixth, while Max Verstappen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Lando Norris rounded out the Top 10.

The race was a disappointing one for Sebastian Vettel, who finished 13th after being handed a 10-second stop/go penalty for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner.

Vettel spun in the chicane on Lap 6, and pulled out in front of traffic, hitting Lance Stoll.

Full race results are below. The next race of the 2019 Formula One World Championship is the Singapore Grand Prix on September 22.

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Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”