Pierre Gasly stunned Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and just about everyone else who follows F1 for that matter. Raise your hand if you had AlphaTauri and Pierre Gasly in your virtual office pool to win the F1 Italian Grand Prix from Monza on Sunday.
And how many of you picked the trifecta on the podium of Gasly, runner-up Carlos Sainz of McLaren and third-place finisher Lance Stroll of Racing Point?
It was that kind of weekend in Formula 1, as Gasly became the first driver outside of the sport’s Big Three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to win a Formula 1 race since Kimi Raikkonen won the F1 Australian Grand Prix to open the 2013 season. That’s 146 races ago.
Here’s some of the highlights from a weekend no one could call boring, for a change:
By just about any metric, Lewis Hamilton was quickest on Sunday in Italy. Even with a safety car period that reeled him back to the pack and what amounted to a 30-second penalty, Hamilton finished just 17 seconds off the lead.
GASLY WASN’T THE FASTEST
Lewis Hamilton, who was the pole sitter and winner of five of the last six races, appeared to be cruising to yet another win on Sunday at Monza, leading by nearly 10 seconds as the race approached the halfway mark, before his race turned upside down and had the six-time champion seeing red.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, he didn’t see red early enough.
This race changed on a dime when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc went off the track and into a tire barrier well back of the pack, nearly midway into of the 53-lap race. The collision took out much of a tire barrier and resulted in first a safety car period and then a red flag.
As soon as the safety car was deployed, the Mercedes pit called for Hamilton to come in for tires and what was expected to be his only pit stop of the race. Hamilton, however, ignored or at least missed, two light panels on the track with red X’s clearly signalling a closed pit. That resulted in a 10-second stop-and-go penalty.
FIA stewards penalized both Hamilton and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi for the closed-pit violations. Hamilton spent a few moments during the red-flag period in race control pleading his case with race officials to no avail.
Fans then got a chance to see what an inverted field race might look like (that’s something some in the F1 offices have kicked around to spice up the game). Hamilton came out of the pits following his stop-and-go penalty, one that included a 10-second stop, in 17th place and a little more than 29 seconds off the lead. He spent the next 27 laps chasing down the pack and fighting his way through traffic.
Hamilton finished seventh, 17.2 seconds back of Gasly. Still, he made up about 12 seconds over the second half of the race after leading by more than nine seconds before the shenanigans.
“My race wasn’t meant to be,” Hamilton said. “I didn’t see the boards saying the pit lane was closed because I was following the safety car delta on my dash, so I take responsibility for that and it’s something that we’ll investigate and learn from. That stop and go pit stop was long, and I had 26 seconds to catch up to the next car. I was giving it absolutely everything. I honestly didn’t expect to get seventh and fastest lap at that point in the race.
“I took a lot of life out of the tires closing the gap and there was a lot of turbulence from the other cars, which made it hard to follow them. But once I caught up to everybody, it was a fun battle and I still got some good points. I’ll definitely take the result and am grateful for it. We’ll move onto the next one and I look forward to it.”