Tough Sunday at Monza: Valtteri P5, Lewis P7
Congratulations to Scuderia Alpha Tauri and Pierre Gasly on an unexpected but well-deserved win
Valtteri dropped to sixth on the opening lap after a difficult start and multiple contacts; he finished P5 after struggling with the car handling through the race
Lewis led the early stages but dropped to last place after serving a 10-second stop/go penalty for entering the pit lane when it was closed, eventually fighting his way back to P7
Lewis set the fastest lap of the race, which is his 50th in F1
Lewis (164 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 47 points from Valtteri (117 points)
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (281 points) leads Red Bull Racing (158 points) by 123 points in the Constructors’ Championship
That was a difficult day out there. The start was pretty poor and on the first lap, I had a bit of contact and thought I had a puncture, but it turned out I didn’t. I had massive understeer and the car was pulling to one side. It recovered but then I was suffering some overheating issues with the engine running in traffic, so there wasn’t much I could do. Every time I got close to another car, I had to back off due to the overheating or look for clean air on the straights, which meant I couldn’t get the tow. It felt a bit better after the red flag and towards the end of the race, but there’s lots of things for us to review and understand. We’ll debrief and then move onto Mugello. We should have a good car there but it’s going to be tough to overtake, so Qualifying will be crucial.
Huge congratulations to Pierre, it’s a fantastic result for him and it’s great to see such a young podium. Obviously, I’ve seen what Pierre’s been through, being dropped from a top team and then beating that top team today. It’s fantastic to see him recover and see him grow, so I’m very happy for him. My race wasn’t meant to be. 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/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 tyres 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.
This is a loss for Mercedes and the big teams, but it’s a victory for the sport. That was great entertainment today and it was fantastic to see the young guys fighting out front. Congratulations to Pierre and Alpha Tauri, they deserved the win. It was obviously a disappointing race for us. With Lewis and the penalty, it was a weird sequence of events. We should have spotted earlier that the pit lane was closed, by the time that we did, the car was entering the pit lane. It’s a tough result to take but we must take it on the chin. The recovery drive that Lewis did was very good. It is difficult to overtake in Monza, particularly now with the new Technical Directive on engine modes, so with that in mind, to recover to P7 was very strong. On Valtteri’s side, we need to see what happened with the car, as it wasn’t turning well into the right-handers and that was making it hard for him to make progress. We were also marginal on cooling, which made things even tougher for him out there. We’ll take all the learnings we can from this weekend and come back fighting in Mugello.
Well done to Pierre on his first win and Alpha Tauri on an amazing result at their home race! The top three finishers and their teams all did a great job celebrating the podium and it’s a good reminder to us to never take the wins for granted. We could have handled the race better, with Lewis we got caught with the pitlane closing as we were on the way in. That’s something we need to be sharper with in future, as it clearly made his afternoon hugely challenging and he did well to get back to seventh after serving the penalty. Valtteri had a difficult afternoon, he’d lost places off the start and initially thought he had a puncture as the car wasn’t turning well to the right. We could see the tyres were holding pressure, so stayed out but throughout the race he was struggling to get close enough to make a pass. Part of that was due to us running a bit hot in traffic, but also the tyres were getting hot with the car sliding and he couldn’t make the progress through the field that we hoped for. Overall, this was a day for the others to enjoy and be proud of. We’ll go off and look at how we can improve in future, but we’re really looking forward to Mugello next week, it’s an amazing track and we’ve got the fastest F1 cars of all time which will be really impressive round there.