MONZA, Italy — AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly claimed an unlikely F1 victory at the Italian Grand Prix after a thrilling race that saw six-time champion Lewis Hamilton given a 10-second penalty and both Ferraris fail to finish at their home circuit of many prior wins Sunday.
It was Gasly’s first win in Formula One.
The 24-year-old Frenchman finished 0.415 seconds ahead of McLaren driver Carlos Sainz and 3.358 ahead of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll on a surreal-looking podium. All three drivers had never won a race and each had only one top-three finish to their name.
Turn the volume UP! 🇮🇹 🔊
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) September 6, 2020
Hamilton appeared on course for a comfortable victory from pole position, but he was given the stop-go penalty for entering the pit lane when closed.
The Mercedes driver finished seventh, 17.245 behind Gasly, who was emotional as he crossed the line to become the first French winner at any GP since Olivier Panis in 1996.
“It was such a crazy race. The car was fast, and to go through so much in the space of 18 months. First podium last year (in Brazil), now first victory in Monza. I have no words,” said Gasly, who was dropped by Red Bull last year.
Gasly celebrated wildly with his team but then, after the trophy presentation, was seen sitting down on the top spot of the podium alone. He had a moment to reflect on his achievement, as he took a swig of champagne surrounded by ticker-tape.
“I would have never expected that a year ago,” said Gasly, who had started 10th on the grid. “The podium was already unexpected, a big, big highlight last year.
“I sat down, and I had a lot of things crossing my mind, obviously first of all my family, my friends, and all the people who supported me. You just remember everything you’ve been through … It was a very special moment. It’s been a crazy ride in the last few months. It’s just unbelievable, I’m still struggling to realize what we’ve just achieved.”
Sainz hustled Gasly all the way to the checkered flag as both strove for their first win.
“It’s incredible that I am halfway disappointed with P2,” Sainz said. “I wouldn’t have believed that I would have got a chance to fight for victory today. I think it’s what we deserved.
“We need to be proud of that, we need to be proud of the pace of the car.”
Ferrari’s abysmal weekend continued as Sebastian Vettel had a brake failure on Lap 7 and he limped into the pits with his right-rear brake disc in flames. It was the four-time champion’s first DNF at Monza in his 14th start.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 6, 2020
His teammate Charles Leclerc had made it into fourth but lost the rear of the car under acceleration through Parabolica on Lap 25 and crashed into the barriers, causing the race to be red-flagged.
By that time Hamilton’s penalty had been announced. Hamilton had pitted immediately after the safety car had been deployed after Kevin Magnussen broke down but was unaware the pit lane was closed as the marshals recovered Magnussen’s Haas.
Antonio Giovinazzi received the same sanction.
Hamilton served his penalty shortly after a 27-minute delay while the barriers were repaired. The British driver emerged last on Lap 29, more than 30 seconds behind Gasly, but passed eight cars and secured a bonus point for the fastest lap following his punishment.
I really want to acknowledge @PierreGASLY for his amazing win. It is so well deserved. For me, whilst I never like to lose I am grateful for the challenge. All we can do is continue to fight and never give up. To my guys, thank you all for continuing to push. 🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/XEvSNOS1rd
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 6, 2020
“My race wasn’t meant to be today but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” Hamilton said. “It was a long pit stop but once I finally caught everybody I enjoyed that bit of a battle.
“We didn’t do a great job with the pit stop. I didn’t see those boards and take responsibility for that and it’s something I’ll learn from. To get seventh and still get the fastest lap is still some good points so I’ll definitely take it.”
In an emotional farewell, Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi offered touching tributes on their cooldown laps to deputy principal Claire Williams, who is leaving her family’s team with her father, Sir Frank.
We are Williams. Always. pic.twitter.com/BmVXu1DJkt
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) September 6, 2020