Ferrari entered the 2019 Italian Grand Prix as strong favorites, having won a thrilling contest at Spa amid dramatic events just a week ago.
But as Ferrari leave Monza, at the back of a fantastic win, they have found amid them a man who looks poised to lead the Scuderia family to its next set of thrilling achievements at the highest annals of the sport.
That man is Charles Leclerc.
At 21, Leclerc’s the man of the hour, the prince of Ferrari, and the king of Monza.
In denying a stalwart in Lewis Hamilton what at different intervals of the contest seemed a possible win, Charles Leclerc displayed grit and flair to register only the second win of his career as he would collect 25 valuable points from the race.
But throughout the contest, there was no dearth of drama
Race retirements, near collisions, dramatic driving antics, Monza pulled the best punches to produce a real thriller on Ferrari-dominated Sunday.
Let’s dive into the 5 top moments of the 2019 Italian Grand Prix:
Sebastian Vettel’s miserable race
Perhaps if there’s a driver who would want to quickly forget the tumultuous events of the 2019 Italian Grand Prix, then it would be Sebastian Vettel.
Minutes from the start of the race, the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel was passed by the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.
A shocker for the German, Vettel would do well to regain the lost position as he continued attacking from fourth on the grid.
But on Lap 6, his race took a turn for the worse as Vettel lost turn at a high-speed corner and ran over to the grass, only to rejoin the pack under dubious circumstances, posing danger to others passing him.
He would sustain damage to his car and would dive into the pits only to receive a 10-second penalty which he would serve later.
For the second year in a row, Sebastian Vettel spun around at Monza and endured a horrible run.
In the end, the fact that he didn’t collect any points didn’t help his cause one bit.
Excellent race for the two Renaults
One of the most understated and underrated efforts of the 2019 Italian Grand Prix came in the form of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg in the Renaults.
While surely the race belonged to the excellent fight between the Ferrari and the two Mercedes, it was the Renault that pulled all the punches in emerging as the best of the rest on the track.
Spurred by an excellent qualifying result on Saturday, Hulkenberg leading Ricciardo on fifth, the Renault of the German driver would soon pass Vettel’s Ferrari displaying the hunger for a great result.
Later on, as the two yellow-liveried cars battled for fourth on the track, Ricciardo showed immense class as he’d pass the Renault of his German driver down the main straight.
In the end, a strong result of P4 for Daniel, followed by a P5 for Hulkenberg proved just how strong were the two Renaults. That’s a total of 22 points.
Spare a thought for Antonio Giovinazzi
When you have a legend like Kimi Raikkonen as your teammate, then it can be hard to garner attention.
This holds true especially if you are a rookie driver.
But throughout the contest, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, the only Alfa Romeo car that ever looked in contention for a points finish, seemed utterly in control.
As early as Lap 10, Giovinazzi, who began from eleventh on the grid broke into the top ten on the grid.
He would hold a steady battle with the Haas and the Toro Rossos.
Passed eventually by a fast and attacking Max Verstappen, who drove a sterling drive to recovery, Giovinazzi did well enough to hold onto his ninth-place finish.
In the end, his P9 became his career-best finish.
On the other hand, Raikkonen struggled and seemed clearly out of form and would like to realign his energies to come out strong at Singapore.
Leclerc> Hamilton+ Bottas
Perhaps one of the more thrilling moments of the 53-lap contest transpired on Lap 23.
As Charles Leclerc failed to hit the apex at around the challenging Ascari Chicane, Hamilton, who had been mounting all the pressure until that point, all but passed the young Ferrari driver.
Easily, the most enterprising moments of the race came at the back of the thrilling battle between the Ferrari of Leclerc and the two Mercedes of Hamilton, and Bottas, respectively.
It wasn’t the race where Leclerc drove sans any errors as Hamilton’s daunting presence right behind the tail of his SF90 increased the pressure to sustain the lead, but the young bloke did just well enough to hold the lead of the contest, going to win it in the end.
For the last ten laps, Mercedes tried to attack Leclerc again, putting Bottas ahead of Hamilton but it was a gamble that didn’t work as it should have, Leclerc eventually keeping the Finn well over a second behind his faster machine.
Charles Leclerc: the man of the moment
In what seemed a clear change in guard at Ferrari, Vettel’s doubtful form (leaving a lot to desire) and Leclerc’s comfortable race pace and the ability to stay focused despite the pressure mounted by Mercedes meant that a young new man is in the command now.
The future at the Scuderia family looks bright and hopeful with young Leclerc- who just won only his second career win- firmly in control.
Implicit in Leclerc’s win at the 2019 Italian Grand Prix, his second in a week starting with Spa, meant that he would also overtake Vettel on the Driver’s Standings.
While Leclerc did commit a few mistakes especially with Hamilton in hot pursuit of his daunting Ferrari,
he was able to make the most of the Scuderia’s straight-line advantage to dominate right at the front.
That said, what will be remarkable will be the sight of Ferrari clinching another win, if they can, at Singapore in a fortnight’s time from now.