Red Bull’s Max Verstappen continued his run to a second world championship by defeating Charles Leclerc and Ferrari at home in the Italian Grand Prix.
After the Italian team used a dubious two-stop tactic, giving the lead to the current champion twice on the track, the Dutchman defeated Leclerc.
Verstappen now has 116 points in front of Leclerc and may win the title in the next race in Singapore, thanks to his 11th victory of the year.
George Russell of Mercedes finished third, beating Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, both of which had to battle their way up the field.
How Verstappen Beat Ferrari At Home
Verstappen had another flawless race, moving from eighth on the grid to second after five laps after a penalty for excessive engine use.
Until lap 12, Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin broke down on the racetrack; he was getting closer to Leclerc.
Ferrari made the risky decision to stop, intending to gain from the time saved by doing so cautiously, albeit they did not achieve the whole amount of time since they stopped as the VSC was concluding.
Verstappen, though, completed the race as scheduled and did not make his tyre stop until lap 25.
Verstappen started 10 seconds behind Leclerc but quickly caught up to the Ferrari. He lost the advantage to just over five seconds after seven circuits and seemed destined to catch and overtake Leclerc.
On lap 33, Ferrari brought Leclerc back in and had him switch to soft tires to catch Verstappen over the last 18 laps.
However, he started 20 seconds later than the leader. As a result, he made little headway until Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren had engine trouble and came to a halt at the Lesmo turns with five circuits remaining.
Everyone except Hamilton stopped for new tires, but there wasn’t enough time for a restart. Thus the race ended with the safety car in place.
After the race, Ferrari was questioned about their strategy, but team manager Mattia Binotto said there had been no error and that Verstappen had been so quick that he would have won anyway. If Leclerc hadn’t, according to Red Bull’s Christian Horner, they would have halted under the VSC.
There will be inquiries as to why Verstappen was not picked up by the safety car at the start of the race, why it took so long to complete the necessary steps to resume the race, and why authorities did not red flag the event and opt for a restart and quickly rush to the finish line.