2019 Italian F1 GP Post-Race Comments
Charles Leclerc did everything right. He made a good start and kept his Ferrari in front of both Mercedes drivers.
At the start he kept his biggest rival Lewis Hamilton behind with a little squeeze in the long run down the first chicane. Mercedes pulled out all their tricks as they did in in Hungary to pass Verstappen. We saw dummy pit stops, dummy radio calls, Hamilton and Bottas gave all they had, but it wasn't enough. After 5 consecutive wins in Monza for Mercedes, it was now time for Ferrari to bring back the home race trophy to Maranello.
Hamilton did attack several times, but 21 year old Leclerc could defend them all and even was shown the black and white warning flag for unsporty behaviour. At the end Hamilton ran out of tyres. Leclerc claimed his second consecutive win from pole, using a soft-hard one-stop strategy. He was the only driver in the race that used this strategy and brought back the home victory to Maranello after Fernando Alonso did it for the last time in 2010.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes attempted to ‘undercut’ Leclerc by pitting earlier to get medium tyres. Nonetheless, Leclerc’s pace was enough for him to emerge ahead of Hamilton after making his own stop one lap later for the hard tyres and defend his lead all the way to the finish.
Many frontrunners were hit with grid penalties, selecting mediums for the opening stint. One was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who started last and finished eighth, despite making two stops. Ahead of him in seventh was Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez, who started 18th after an engine change.
Below we gathered the drivers and team principal comments after the 2019 Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix was finished.
Charles Leclerc (1st, started on P1)
“There are no words to describe the emotions I felt during the race, after the race, or on the podium. It felt ten times stronger than anything I have ever experienced in my whole career. It was very special.
When I arrive at a race weekend, I usually don’t think about winning, I just try to do the best job possible and tell myself that the results will come. But to be honest, seeing all of the support from our tifosi here in Monza this weekend, the only thing I could think of was winning and that’s what we did, so I am very happy.
The race was exciting. The first stint was quite controlled, but the second stint was a bit less strong on my side, because I had to focus on the car behind me a lot as the gap was closing. It was very difficult and I had a lot of pressure on me.
I’d like to thank the whole team for all their hard work. Nothing would be possible without them. It was a shame for Seb, who definitely had the potential to be on the podium with me. For the next few races, we have to keep our focus, our motivation, and hopefully the results will follow.”
Sebastian Vettel (13th, started P4)
“It’s been a good day for Charles, so congratulations and well done to everybody. Obviously my day did not go well. On lap 6 I lost the rear, which was my mistake, which is why I am not happy with my day. I got a good start, but then I had nowhere to go and so I lost the position, before getting it back again and catching up to the cars ahead of me.
Then came the spin on lap 6 and the race was obviously ruined for me. Then I struggled to rejoin the track as I was on the grass and I couldn’t see Lance.
I still love what I do, but of course when you don’t do well, knowing what you are capable of, then you can’t be happy.”
Mattia Binotto - Team Principal
“This is probably the best podium of the whole Championship and you’ve got such a view of it from the pitwall that you cannot miss it. This is something you’ll remember for years. It’s not the first victory I have experienced in Monza, but it’s something you never get used to. It’s so special with all our fans and even more so after such a long race defending and battling.
Coming here we knew we could be competitive, but we also knew there was no margin for error.
Again today we have seen how close it is between us and our competitors and so I am happy we were first past the chequered flag this afternoon. Two wins in a row after such a difficult start to the season, really means something for the team.
Charles drove fantastically and defended very well, making very few mistakes. If anything, pressure is a boost for him. The win is very well deserved!
It’s a shame for Seb who could have had a good race today, as he was closing the gap to Bottas. He made some mistakes, but that’s Monza. You drive at such high speed and you have such a light car because of the low downforce package and braking is so difficult.
The whole team did a flawless job, also in terms of strategy, because I think switching to hard tyres was a brave decision. It proved to be the right choice, and it paid off.”
Valtteri Bottas (2nd, started P3)
"I was trying everything to get close enough to Charles to make a move on him in the final laps, but the Ferraris were very quick on the straights this weekend, so it was difficult to get close enough. I was pushing as hard as I could, but every time I got really close, I started to lock-ups the fronts. While it’s disappointing that we didn’t win, our performance today was actually quite promising.
We came to Monza expecting this to be one of the most difficult races of the season for us, but we could really challenge the Ferraris, so that’s good to see. It was a good race overall from that perspective and I think we can leave Italy with a positive feeling. On paper, the upcoming races should play a little more towards our strengths and I’m looking forward to a good fight with Ferrari and Red Bull over the next weeks."
Lewis Hamilton (3rd, started P2)
"Congratulations to Charles today, he did a great job, especially considering the pressure Valtteri and I were putting on him. The Ferrari was very quick in a straight line, so it was difficult to stay close to them. I think it just wasn’t our day today, it’s always disappointing to follow another car so closely but not be able to take the lead.
But in the end, we’re leaving Italy with more points in the Constructors’ Championship and ultimately that is what matters. I’m not looking to the next race thinking it will be easy for us; instead we’re going to go to the factory next week and go through the same process, looking for ways to improve our car, improve our processes over a race weekend, and I hope that I can do a better job in Singapore. I personally cherish this battle between Ferrari, Red Bull and us, so I want it to continue."
Toto Wolff - Team Principal
"First of all, congratulations to Charles, he drove a strong race and overall Ferrari had the strongest package this weekend. We threw everything at them today and as I said before the race, if you gave me second and third in Monza, I would have taken it. Of course, we wanted to win but you can see how happy the Tifosi are about the first Ferrari victory here in a while.
Spa and Monza turned out to be as difficult for us as we expected, but we still achieved solid results and come away with a good batch of points heading into the flyaways, extending our lead in both championships. Singapore is up next, and we should be strong there, but so should Red Bull. We are looking forward to showing what we can do in the upcoming races."
Nico Hulkenberg (5th, started P6)
“I’m very pleased after that result. It feels nice to have a finish like this and hopefully it will bring some momentum for the remaining seven races. The team deserve it as it’s been a tough year for us with some difficult results and moments. It’s a nice reward for everyone involved for the hard work.
For me, it was a straightforward race. I made a strong start with two overtakes and managed to hold good track position. From there it was about maintaining that, making no mistakes and keeping calm. I had some pressure at the end but I managed to fend that off. It was largely quiet and controlled and a very good team result with Daniel just ahead!”
Daniel Ricciardo (4th, started P5)
“We deserved that today. It matches my best ever result here in Monza and to do it with Renault is great. I saw the battles happening at the front and I thought there could be a big opportunity to score strong points.
I’m really happy for myself and also for the team. To get the team’s best result since returning to Formula 1 in fourth and fifth at a power circuit really complements Renault and their hard work. The race pace was really good and it’s a nice reward for the team. The result is long overdue this year; I’m very satisfied now!”
Cyril Abiteboul - Team Principal
“Today’s result is not only the best combined result for the team since its re-entry to Formula 1, but also a demonstration after Montréal and Spa the clear progress of the team and in particular on the power unit side that has been so openly criticised in the past. It is a demonstration that everything is so fluid with a competitive package. It is also an invitation to repeat these types of emotions, when our season has been far from a smooth ride so far.
Our drivers have shown what they can do with a competitive car. They have been remarkable all the way through including in tricky situations. This result is good for the team as we also know there are very challenging circuits to come this season where we will be less competitive. But let’s take this for now.”
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Alexander Albon (6th, started P8)
“I’m very happy. P5 is an amazing result and we’ve got off to a great start. I had some good fun out there and I enjoyed this race a lot. I started off the weekend very nervous and if you had told me I’d finish the race fifth I’d be very happy, but I’m a bit more relaxed now. It was actually a difficult race and in the first stint I struggled with grip in the dirty air and couldn’t overtake anyone. But then once we pitted for the soft tyres, the car came alive and I was like - now we can do something!
The last lap was really good, I had a good fight with Sergio where we were both on the grass and it made for some good racing. There are definitely some areas I need to improve on and over the next few days I’ll get my head down, do some homework and address them for Monza. I will sit down with the Team and understand why I struggled at the start, but I am still finding out the car’s little tricks and adapting to it. I didn’t really feel too much pressure coming into the weekend, I think the media thought I was going to, but I’ve enjoyed my week with the Team. It’s been a good experience and a different way of working.
Last night was very tough, us rookies knew Anthoine very well, so it’s been a stressful few hours and this morning felt strange. When you know a person and when they’re at the race track, it’s a very difficult atmosphere, so we dedicate this race to him.”
Max Verstappen (8th, started P19)
“I got front wing damage under breaking into Turn 1 as everyone slowed up and I clipped Sergio’s rear tyre. We then pitted for a new front wing and the race was still on as I had really good pace in clean air. I managed to pass quite a few cars but we got unlucky with the virtual safety car as it came out the lap after I pitted and three or four cars which I had already overtaken were back in front of me.
I passed them all again but it was pretty painful on my tyres and then at the end I got stuck behind Perez for the second time in the race. I just couldn’t get past him as he was so quick on the straights. We have made some steps forward with the pace of the power unit but we will of course keep working hard to improve even further. With what happened at Turn 1 coming through to eighth isn’t too bad and these things are always more likely to happen when you start at the back. The last two races were always going to be difficult for us and now I’m looking forward to having a more normal race weekend and starting closer to the front.”
Christian Horner - Team Principal
“It was a good recovery by both drivers in what turned out to be a difficult race. Alex lost a couple of places on the first lap and was fighting his way back through the field but he got run wide with Carlos Sainz which dropped him back behind a couple of cars. He started making up positions before unfortunately picking up a five second penalty whilst passing Magnussen, which he had to serve at his pit stop. Overall, it was a good recovery drive from Alex to come back up to P6.
As for Max, he started the race from the back of the grid due to the engine penalty and he unfortunately incurred some front-wing damage at the first chicane. This meant he had to pit for a nose change on the opening lap, which the boys did in under 10 seconds and then the virtual safety car came out one lap later which was unlucky. Once he was in clear air, Max’s pace was equal to that of the leaders and he was able to make up some good ground despite a slight issue with the rev limiter in the tow which made it very difficult for him to overtake.
Nonetheless, coming from the back of the grid to P8 with an extra pit stop and with Alex in P6, we leave Europe and now look forward to the final stage of the season starting in Singapore.”
Sergio Pérez (7th, started P18)
“Another good result and we scored some important points today. It was a great recovery from what has been a difficult weekend in the lead up to the race, especially with the problems in qualifying. I think everything worked out for us in the end thanks to a strong strategy from the team and some good timing with the Virtual Safety Car.
It was a tough race, especially the last 15 to 20 laps with Verstappen so close and putting me under pressure. We just had to push as much as we could. We’ve taken some good steps forward with the car recently and I’m optimistic going forward with more parts coming for Singapore. Hopefully, that will put us back into contention to keep scoring regular points from now until the end of the year.”
Lance Stroll (17th, started P18)
“That’s a tough one to take. We should have scored good points today. It all went wrong when Vettel came back on the track very aggressively and hit me. I’m quite upset with him for what happened. I tried to avoid him by going to the left but he just kept moving forward and eventually we made contact: I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I did everything I could to avoid him and I was even cautious with the yellow flag. I lifted off and he just came back on at Ascari and there was really nothing I could do, even at the speed I was going. He clipped me, I spun and then I was pointing the wrong way. When I was coming back onto the circuit myself, I got penalised for no fault of my own. It’s just a disaster really. I couldn’t see Pierre: I was just trying to get off the racing line and away from the dangerous position Vettel forced me into.
We were looking pretty strong in seventh, with a decent gap to eighth, pulling away from the McLaren, and keeping the Renaults in sight. It was looking like a pretty smooth race from there, but it just goes to show how quickly things can turn around. There’s a lot of racing left this year and more improvements to come. This one is going to sting for a day or two. I think there were a lot of points up for grabs, but that’s racing.”
Otmar Szafnauer - Team Principal
“We had a quick car today and really should have brought both cars home inside the points. Sergio made the most of the car's pace and delivered a long first stint on the medium tyres before making his pit stop under the first Virtual Safety Car. He drove a very strong race thereafter and was always under pressure, especially in the final stint where he had to resist the challenge from Verstappen.
Seventh place from P18 on the grid is an excellent turnaround. Lance’s race was destroyed when Vettel hit him in the Ascari chicane on lap seven. The subsequent undeservedly harsh penalty dropped Lance out of contention for the points. It’s a real shame because he had made a super start and was running comfortably in seventh place at the time. It was very unlucky: he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time!”
Antonio Giovinazzi (9th, started P10)
“It was a positive day for Italy today. I want to dedicate the two points to all the Tifosi here. I am so happy with the result, and I am also happy to see Ferrari do something very special for our country with their win. It’s a great feeling to score points as the only Italian driver in my home race.
Starting on softs and changing to mediums turned out to be the best strategy, but I had to do my best to keep the McLaren of Norris behind. It was a difficult race, but a lot of our work has been rewarded, especially after Spa. We have to keep working and fighting like this. I am pleased for everyone in the team and for all my fans.”
Kimi Räikkönen (15th, started from pitlane)
“Well that was a sh** weekend. First my mistake in qualifying which unfortunately meant that we had to change gearbox.
Then we decided to also change engine and start from the pitlane, but we had the wrong tyres on and with the penalty my race was more or less over. Looking forward to Singapore, as it can’t get worse.”
Frédéric Vasseur - Team Principal
“Scoring two points in our home race is a good way to say thank you for all the support we received this weekend. Antonio drove a really good race in front of his home fans and had to keep a cool head under pressure to bring home P9, repaying the faith everyone in the team has put in him. Hopefully, this result can provide further motivation for him to finish the season strongly and help the team in the standings.
Sadly, Kimi didn’t have as memorable a race. Coming back from a pitlane start was always going to be a tough task, but as we put the wrong tyres onto his car his hopes of points were put to an end.”
Carlos Sainz (DNF, started P16)
“It’s a shame to end the day that way. We obviously need to analyse what we could’ve done better in the pit-stop as a whole team, but honestly, this year the pit-stops have been great; our guys have been doing an outstanding job on the pit-wall and in the pit-box, so nothing to be concerned about. Heads up high.
“We’ve lost a potential P6, but we’ve gained a lot more this year with good strategies and good pit-stops. Let’s analyse and come back stronger.”
Lando Norris (11th, started on P11)
“A decent race and a point is alright considering where I started, but you always want a little bit more. We got a bit unlucky: we boxed, we had the undercut on Perez, but then the Virtual Safety Car came out and he got a bit lucky to stay ahead and went on to finish in P7.
“I’m not suggesting we definitely would’ve finished there, because I think they still had better pace than us, but we could’ve finished better without the VSC. In the end, I didn’t think we had all the pace but we hung on, managed to finish the race and got a point – which was a good thing after last weekend in Belgium.”
Andreas Seidl - Team Principal
“It’s a disappointing race for us. Coming away with one very lonely point wasn’t the plan for today. On Carlos’ side, everything was running okay and he looked well-set to finish in P6, but unfortunately we had an issue with the front right wheel at the pit-stop, which caused us to stop the car. Lando’s Italian Grand Prix went as well as we could’ve expected. He drove a very good race to make up positions and finish P10 after starting P16.
“These last two races have been tough. We don’t have a tailored low-downforce package but the team has worked very hard with the tools they had available, and in both events we could’ve scored good points. It’s important for us to go back home now, review the issues, regroup, and focus on the races ahead, with the aim of recapturing the form we had before the summer break.”
Pierre Gasly (9th, started P17)
“Starting from P17 we knew we had a tough race ahead of us. It was quite an eventful day, we had a really good start and ended the first laps in 13th position. Things were looking pretty good until Stroll went off the track and re-joined just as I was passing, so I had to avoid him by going into the gravel and lost two positions and a lot of time. It cost us at the end of the race, as we finished only three seconds from P9.
It wasn’t ideal, but I think we showed some good performance all weekend and we had the pace to finish in the points starting from the back of the grid. I’m looking forward to a clean weekend in Singapore without any penalties to be able to extract the most I can there.”
Daniil Kvyat (DNF, started P12)
“It was shaping up to be an amazing race today, we were fighting Red Bull Racing at the time of my retirement, so good points were on the table for us. However, this is our sport unfortunately, and sometimes you can do a great job but something in the car gives up and you have to pull over.
I was putting in the same lap times with those around me and was on fresher tyres, so I was confident I could finish well inside the top 10. It’s a big shame to miss out on valuable points, but we have been having quite a few strong Sundays lately, so we know we can fight for good results. Let’s think of Singapore now.”
Franz Tost (Team Principal)
“We started the race from P12 with Daniil and from P17 with Pierre. Both drivers had a reasonably good start and we finished the first lap in 12th and 14th position. Everything was under control in the first few laps, we started on Prime tyres to stay out as long as possible, to then switch to the Options later. Unfortunately, Pierre’s race was negatively impacted by Stroll, who forced him to go through the gravel trap to avoid a collision, losing a lot of time and possibly car performance as well.
During the virtual safety car, we decided to bring both cars in to change to the Option tyre and everything worked well. When Daniil re-joined the race, he was in P6 and had great pace, so I think he could have finished in P6 or P7 if he didn’t have to retire due to an oil leak. Pierre then got stuck behind Norris and wasn’t able to overtake him, so he could only finish in 11th position. It was a very disappointing race weekend for us as we expected much more, so we have to analyse everything to come back stronger and more competitive in Singapore.”
ROKiT Williams Racing
George Russel (14th, started P14)
"Our pace was surprising, especially considering Monza is one of the three worst circuits of the year for us with our straight-line speed.
We definitely have some positives to take away, it shows that we did a good job with the set-up, with the tyres, with everything else in our control. I think we can be quite pleased with the result."
Robert Kubica (17th, started P15)
"It wasn’t easy, overall the weekend was up and down. Generally, the race started pretty well, but then I struggled with the front-left tyre in the corners.
We had a few battles and I tried to defend as much as I could, but I struggled to stay in the tow of the other cars. I tried my best and that’s how it is."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer
This was another action-packed race, during which our drivers battled with several cars. Robert enjoyed a good opening lap and got up to P13 before falling back as the race progressed. He eventually completed a two-stop race having flat-spotted a tyre whilst defending from Grosjean. George completed a more conventional one-stop race and almost managed to beat Vettel but unfortunately was overtaken on the final lap. Our straight-line speed made defending difficult, but George did a good job to hold on to P14, showing good pace relative to the cars around him.
Romain Grosjean (16th, started P13)
“It was very complicated today. I was hit from behind into turn one and it picked up the anti-stall. I had to pull the clutch, release the clutch, and by the time I had done all that I was driving through the polystyrene blocks and was dead last through the first corner. I tried to push to come back, then I had a spin at Ascari.
I came into the pits and asked the team to remove a fair bit of aero balance, as the car was very much on the nose. We did it, but the car was still over balanced. We pitted again and removed one percent of aero balance, and the car was still over balanced. Definitely something went wrong with the car today. We need to analyze everything, the balance we had today was definitely not what we had during the rest of the weekend. A lot to do.”
Kevin Magnussen (DNF, started P11)
“I had a hydraulic problem at the end, so we had to retire unfortunately. Until then, it had been going okay. I was fighting to keep people behind, which is normal for me these days. That said, we had been in a good position and a lot of other people were having problems. It was just bad luck to have our problem at the end.
On the positive, we were in the top ten from beginning to end – of our race at least. It wasn’t a true picture but at least we were going for it. It looked like we could do something, but obviously I’m gutted we had to retire at the end.”
Guenther Steiner - Team Principal
“It was a very disappointing race. Kevin (Magnussen) started off running pretty well, but then it all went wrong when he locked up. The car was just difficult to drive. A hydraulic issue then meant we had to retire the car. Romain (Grosjean), it looked like he was hit at turn one, his car was out of balance after that.
We’ll need to see what happened, but the car was just slow, there must have been something wrong with it. He couldn’t drive it. He tried to get the balance back on the pit stop, but it was not possible. We were slow. It’s a disappointing weekend for the whole team. We just need to regroup and keep on going until we find a solution to our lack of performance.”
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