The 2020 Italian GP was one to forget for Ferrari as they suffered their first double-DNF since 1995 and at the same famous track, Monza. Sebastien Vettel had his nightmare weekend cut short after he lost his brakes in the early stages of the race but the real shocker came in the form of a nasty collision between Monegasque Charles Leclerc and the tyre barriers.
Leclerc lost control as he darted across the high-speed Parabolica final corner and plunged nose first into the tyre barriers. The 22 year-old was quick to signal that he was okay following the crash. However, the severity of the incident was a cause for concern. Before climbing out of his car he said “[It] Was a big crash – arghh! I’m sorry, but honestly I struggled so much with the balance. I’m sorry.” Watch the incident below:
Leclerc had put in a great performance right up until that ill-fated moment as he pushed to fourth place from a p13 start.
The race capped a catastrophic home GP weekend for Ferrari and a sharp contrast to the Monza experience in 2019 which saw Leclerc soar to victory.
The rhythm of the entire race just kept on changing after the 25 minute red flag period following Leclerc’s crash. Lewis Hamilton and Antonio Giovinazzi were handed 10 second stop-go penalties, having entered the pit lane while it was closed. This lengthy halt dashed Hamilton’s hope not just at first place but of getting on the podium at all. The favourite to win finished in a not terrible seventh place.
With Hamilton out of the way, Pierre Gasly and his Alpha Tauri surged to the front of the pack, an unlikely leader to say the least. The Frenchman was able to hold off the ever-gaining Spaniard Carlos Sainz as the final lap drew near and it was Gasly who passed the chequered flag first in a sensational maiden victory.
Sainz in the McLaren finished second while Racing Point’s Lance Stroll completed the podium in third place. Max Verstappen retired in the 31st lap due to car trouble and neither Alex Albon or Valtteri Bottas were able to pick up the pieces for their respective teams, resulting in the first time in the turbo-hybrid era that a Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari hasn’t finished on the podium.
As the Italian anthem played over the sound of sobbing Alpha Tauri mechanics, Gasly sat and swigged champagne as he reflected on a strenuous 18 months in his career and his first victory. The next race will take the F1 circus to Italy again for a race at the Mugello track on September 13 where Ferrari will be desperate to return to regular form, while the underdogs of the grid continue to battle it out as future champions of the motorsport.