clearn.png
Friday January 27th, 2023 7:42PM

Verstappen wins Italian GP for 1st time to close in on title

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MONZA, Italy (AP) — Having won in front of his own fans last weekend, Max Verstappen did it on enemy turf on Sunday to leave the Red Bull driver within touching distance of a second straight F1 title.

Boos rang out from the passionate red-clad tifosi fans when Verstappen stepped onto the iconic Monza podium for the first time in his career, after winning the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

“I had a great view,” said a tactful Verstappen, whose previous highest finish at the track was fifth in 2018. “The atmosphere for me was not amazing. But it is what it is.”

Verstappen now has a 116-point lead over Charles Leclerc, who finished second after another questionable strategy decision from Ferrari on its home track. With just six races remaining, the Dutch driver could clinch the title in Singapore next month.

Verstappen started seventh after he was among a number of drivers hit by grid penalties but made his way up to third by the first corner of the second lap. The Red Bull driver then picked off George Russell in a Mercedes at the start of Lap 5 setting up the hunt for polesitter Leclerc in his Ferrari.

“The start was very good,” Verstappen said. “It was enjoyable to drive today even though it was quite hot out there. Great day for us.”

The Virtual Safety Car (VSC) gave Verstappen an opportunity as it came out on Lap 12 after Sebastian Vettel’s final race at Monza came to an ignominious end, with the four-time world champion pulling up at the side of the track after complaining about a power issue.

Ferrari decided to bring Leclerc in to change to medium tires, allowing Verstappen to take the lead. Leclerc rejoined the race in third.

“I think we all had a doubt, I think if I wouldn’t have done it Max would have done it," Leclerc said.

“It was a bit unfortunate because in the middle of the pit lane we had the virtual safety car ending so we didn’t get all the benefit of stopping at that moment. And from that moment onward we were a little bit on the back foot.”

It has been a strange season for Ferrari, full of botched strategy decisions and bizarre incidents, but Leclerc believes it was just unfortunate timing at Monza.

“I think if you look at our season as a whole, for sure there’s been mistakes and we need to get better," Leclerc said. "If today was a clear mistake, I don’t think so. It was just our choice and looking back at it you just cannot predict whenever the VSC is going to end.

"So, yeah, nothing to blame on anybody there. Just a bit unlucky and probably missing a little bit of pace too.”

Leclerc moved past Russell and then briefly regained the lead when Verstappen pitted on the 26th lap but the pair swapped places again seven laps later when the Ferrari driver pitted for new tires for a second time.

The safety car came out again shortly after last year’s winner, Daniel Ricciardo, pulled up on Lap 47 prompting most drivers to pit for soft tires.

However, a final battle never materialized when the race finished behind the safety car with Verstappen securing his fifth straight victory and his 11th of the season — one more than last year.

Russell was third, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lewis Hamilton, who had both fought through the field after starting at the back of the grid following penalties.

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez had also been hit by grid penalties and had started 13th but, despite an eventful race that also featured a brake fire, he managed to finish sixth and also pick up the extra point for fastest lap.

Lando Norris was seventh, after a poor start from third, with Pierre Gasly just behind him.

Williams reserve driver Nyck de Vries finished his first-ever F1 race in ninth. The 27-year-old was a late replacement for Alex Albon after the Thai driver was diagnosed with appendicitis.

“Wow, wow. Thank you, thank you very much. This has been incredible, points on debut, thank you,” De Vries said on team radio after crossing the line, before then uttering an expletive and adding “my shoulders are dead, dead.”

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Auto Racing, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, Formula One Racing
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
9/11 attacks still reverberate as US marks 21st anniversary
Americans are remembering 9/11 with tear-choked tributes and pleas to “never forget” 21 years after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil
10:55AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Verstappen wins Italian GP for 1st time to close in on title
Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen again made light work of starting down the grid as he won the Italian Grand Prix to leave him within touching distance of a second successive title
10:48AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Biden honors 9/11 victims, vows commitment to thwart terror
President Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, taking part in a somber wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon in a somber commemoration held under a steady rain
10:44AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Mariners use 2 homers, Kirby's pitching to stop Braves 3-1
Sam Haggerty and Eugenio Suárez each hit a solo homer, George Kirby pitched into the seventh inning and the Seattle Mariners beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 to snap the Braves’ eight-game winning streak
1:08AM ( 9 hours ago )
Swiatek right to set no limits after US Open title: Analysis
Iga Swiatek is still just 21 and yet she already is guaranteed a spot on the International Tennis Hall of Fame ballot five years after she retires
1:05AM ( 9 hours ago )
Nate Diaz chokes out Tony Ferguson to end chaotic UFC 279
Nate Diaz stopped Tony Ferguson with a guillotine choke early in the fourth round of the hastily arranged main event of UFC 279
12:48AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Sports
AlphaTauri says 2023 seat will likely go to Gasly or Herta
AlphaTauri is awaiting a decision from the FIA on Colton Herta’s eligibility to compete in Formula One next season
3:19PM ( 19 hours ago )
Dixon still in IndyCar title fight despite Indy 500 gaffe
Scott Dixon knows IndyCar’s tightest championship race in nearly 20 years would have probably been long decided if not for a rare gaffe by The Iceman in the Indianapolis 500
6:44PM ( 1 day ago )
Kyle Busch still seeking on-track success, job for 2023
It didn’t seem much could still go wrong this year for Kyle Busch until his engine blew with 22 laps remaining in NASCAR’s opening playoff race
1:32AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Auto Racing
Eastern Ukraine towns hit in overnight strikes
Through the debris-strewn rooms of the bomb-blasted house, the incessant ringing of a phone punctuates the crunch of broken glass splintering underfoot as police lay out a body bag
8:43AM ( 2 hours ago )
Aid for flood victims arrives in hard-hit Pakistani province
Two more U.S. military planes loaded with tons of aid for Pakistanis affected by flooding from deadly monsoon rains have landed in southern Sindh province
8:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
Russian troops retreat after Ukraine counteroffensive
Ukrainian forces are pushing a counteroffensive in the country’s east, exploiting quick gains they made in a week of fighting that has sharply changed the course of the conflict
7:21AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Outside power restored, Zaporizhzhia nuke plant shuts down
Ukraine’s atomic power operator says the last reactor at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been shut down after the plant was reconnected to the electricity grid
2:13AM ( 8 hours ago )
Small nuke reactors emerge as energy option, but risks loom
A global search for alternative sources to Russian energy during the war in Ukraine has refocused attention on smaller, easier-to-build nuclear power stations
3:17PM ( 19 hours ago )
Politics in air as Biden visits future Intel plant in Ohio
President Joe Biden tried to set politics aside at the Ohio groundbreaking of a new Intel computer chip facility
2:49PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
F1 champ Max Verstappen surges from 14th to win Belgian GP
Formula One champion Max Verstappen quickly carved his way through the field from 14th to win the Belgian Grand Prix and widen his lead in the standings
11:34AM ( 1 week ago )
Sainz benefits from penalties to start from pole in Belgium
Carlos Sainz Jr. will start from the pole Sunday at the Belgian Grand Prix because runaway Formula One points leader Max Verstappen was among the many drivers to be hit with grid penalties
12:21PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Alonso explains Alpine switch, Ricciardo ponders F1 future
When Aston Martin called Fernando Alonso to ask if was interested in replacing Sebastian Vettel, the Spaniard made a quick decision to leave Alpine
12:21PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Formula One Racing
9/11 attacks still reverberate as US marks 21st anniversary
Americans are remembering 9/11 with tear-choked tributes and pleas to “never forget” 21 years after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil
10:55AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Biden honors 9/11 victims, vows commitment to thwart terror
President Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, taking part in a somber wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon in a somber commemoration held under a steady rain
10:44AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Queen Elizabeth II's coffin takes long road through Scotland
Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin is slowly processing through the rugged Scottish countryside on a final days-long journey from her beloved Balmoral Castle to London
10:41AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Crises forge Beshear's role as Kentucky's consoler in chief
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's first term in office has been dominated by one deadly crisis after another: the global COVID-19 pandemic, tornadoes that killed scores of people in western Kentucky and floodwaters in Appalachia that left dozens more Kentuckians dead
10:37AM ( 23 minutes ago )