Race Report: Verstappen wins Italian GP

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11: A general view as Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202209110520 // Usage for editorial use only //

When Daniel Ricciardo stopped his McLaren on lap 47, it left precious few laps to remove the stricken car and re-set the running order behind the Safety Car. Because of a delay—the car was stuck in gear and couldn’t be quickly removed—the race finished behind the safety car with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull in the lead ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and George Russell’s Mercedes.

Despite pole position, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was always going to have to try something different in order to keep the quicker Red Bull behind him and Ferrari tried to mix up the strategy a bit in order to have a chance.

In the end, safety car or not, the race most likely would have finished the way it actually finished with both Max and Charles on fresh softs (although Max would have had a new set to Charles’s scrubbed set) with George in 3rd on softs as well. Shockingly that’s how I picked it for my Fantasy GP league which basically got me out of last place.

What is notable is the criticism that Sky Sports commentary team, some team bosses, drivers, booing Tifosi and fans online had for the race director and finishing the race behind the safety car. Yet this is exactly what many were outraged by in Abu Dhabi in 2021 claiming the race should have been finished behind the safety car.

When asked about the Italian GP finishing this way, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was very understanding and said that the rules were followed implying that this is what should have happened in Abu Dhabi. The interesting dichotomy is that when asked the same question, Red Bull boss Christian Horner dutifully suggested they had plenty of time to restart the race and that racing shouldn’t finish behind a safety car when the FIA has time to get it restarted. He said the error of picking up George Russell instead of Max, the leader at the time, was part of the issue and misstep by the FIA.


A win for Red Bull and Max Verstappen—who has never been on the Italian podium before—to take the home race for Ferrari. Red Bull were quicker all weekend but not at the level they were in Belgium and this gave Ferrari a little hope. Despite a grid penalty for Max, he quickly regained the positions and took the lead with pace in hand. This leaves Max with a mathematical chance of clinching the title in Singapore in two weeks time.

A win for Ferrari. I know, they didn’t win but Carlos Sainz had a heck of run from the back of the grid to the front finishing P4. Charles wasn’t the quicker car so they had to try some different strategy and the Virtual Safety Car session as well s the actual safety car session didn’t help matters for him. Still he hung on to P2 minimizing the damage.

A win for George Russell who continues to be the consistent force at Mercedes. Despite a set of Hard compound tires that weren’t working for him, he still managed to hang on to the podium and decrease the points lead that Sergio Perez has over him in the driver’s championship.

A win for Lando Norris who was ahead of the Alpine’s and McLaren definitely need the points in their battle for best-of-the-rest. Lando delivered while Daniel retired.

A big win for Nyck de Vries who got thrown into the Williams to substitute for an ailing Alex Albon at the last minute. Nyck had no practice, jumped in, made it to Q3 and brought home two points in P9 on his F1 debut.


A fail for Ferrari who still didn’t have the pace to take the fight to Red Bull at their home race despite having pole position. Charles and Carlos drove well but in hindsight, one wonders if their Plan C or Plan B was really the best strategy. Certainly had there not been any safety cars, virtual or otherwise, running Soft, Medium with a lot of the race left was always going to be a tall order. It’s not fair to be too harsh as there were limited options on a track like Monza and with Carlos running out of position.

A fail for Aston Martin with both cars suffering a DNF and also for Alpine with Fernando Alonso retiring with a DNF and Esteban Ocon down in P11.

A fail for Haas F1 and Kevin Magnussen finished last with a 5s penalty and Mick Schumacher only able to finish P12.

A fail for Valtteri Bottas who finished down in P13 while his teammate, the guy fighting for his seat in the form of Zho Guanyu, finished up in the points in P10. Not quite sure what Valtteri is struggling with lately but he’s seemed to have gone off the boil.

A fail for Yuki Tsunoda who finished P14 while his teammate, Pierre Gasly, finished in 8th. To be fair, Yuki started at the back of the grid and his Hard compound pace just wasn’t there.


The late safety car is going to be what everyone is teeth-gnashing and robe-ripping about this week. The reality is, there was tremendous outrage for not finishing the Abu Dhabi race behind the safety car and yet with similar situation at Monza, included lapped cars…a lot of them, people were outraged that the race finished behind the safety car. If I’m honest, you folks need to pick a lane.

Races aren’t good or bad because they did or didn’t finish the way you want them too. What happened at Monza is exactly what the FIA were trying to avoid in Abu Dhabi and what the FIA understands now is that fans don’t like either result.

Italian GP Results:

PosNameCarLapsLaps LedTotal TimeFastest LapPitstopsPts
1Max VerstappenRed Bull53341h20m27.511s1m24.745s225
2Charles LeclercFerrari5319+2.446s1m24.336s318
3George RussellMercedes530+3.405s1m25.288s215
4Carlos Sainz Jr.Ferrari530+5.061s1m24.446s212
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes530+5.38s1m24.434s110
6Sergio PérezRed Bull530+6.091s1m24.03s29
7Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes530+6.207s1m24.718s26
8Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red Bull530+6.396s1m26.718s14
9Nyck de VriesWilliams-Mercedes530+7.122s1m26.624s12
10Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo-Ferrari530+7.91s1m26.361s11
11Esteban OconAlpine-Renault530+8.323s1m26.593s10
12Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari530+8.549s1m25.298s10
13Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari520+1 lap1m25.706s10
14Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red Bull520+1 lap1m26.857s10
15Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes520+1 lap1m26.798s20
16Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari520+1 lap1m26.798s20
Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes450DNF1m26.603s10
Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes380DNF1m27.467s20
Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault300DNF1m27.203s10
Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes100DNF1m27.501s00
Overall Race
race-report-verstappen-wins-italian-gpNot the most exciting race and not fun to finish behind the safety car but there were a few good battles and stories like de Vries etc.
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I was impressed with Hamilton’s patient drive up from the back of the field. Preserving his tires allowed him to finish well. Sure Sainz was more fun to watch. Still, the bottom line no matter safety car or tifosi boos, Max and his Red Bull are fast and unless something goes horribly wrong it looks like the championship is his.


I was watching Max on the grid just prior to the race, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a driver more relaxed just before a race. I knew Ferrari were toast at that point.


377,000 fans, millions is dollars of equipment, Broadcast worldwide and for all of that have or are currently racing, finishing under yellow is not racing. Yes, applied rules. Still, just finishing, is not racing.

Xean Drury

The most disappointing thing is that Formula 1 already has the tools to end this chicanery. The rule should be: If a safety car is needed within X number of laps to go, the session is red flagged until the debris is cleared The race shall then be restarted as a rolling start following a one lap VSC period. Honestly it’s amazing some of the ridiculously easy solutions there are available escape this ‘Pinnacle of motorsport’. Just like letting lapped cars through. Why let them through? Drop them back. It’s not like any of them are going to magically find… Read more »