During the weekend from 9-11 September, Formula 1 lands in Monza for the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, sixteenth race of the 2022 World Championship. The Italian Grand Prix represents the sixteenth round of the season one week after the Dutch Grand Prix, the fifteenth race of the championship, for the seventh time during the season, the first between the Bahrain Grand Prix, the inaugural race of the season, and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second between the Spanish Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix, the third between the Azerbaijani Grand Prix and the Canadian Grand Prix, the fourth between the British Grand Prix and the Austrian Grand Prix, the fifth between the French Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix, and the sixth between the Belgian Grand Prix and the previous Dutch Grand Prix, the World Championship sees the dispute of a Grand Prix at distance of one week from the other. It is the tenth overall race of the championship in the old continent, as well as the last, the seventh consecutive to be held in Europe, the second and last race to be held in September, the fourth of the second part of the season, and l a third race after the obligatory three-week summer break. The Italian Grand Prix precedes a three-week break, not scheduled for the publication of the world calendar in the previous season, before the return to the calendar after two seasons of the next Singapore Grand Prix scheduled for October 2, 2022, in which, between these two races, the Russian Grand Prix was originally scheduled for September 25, 2022, before being canceled before the start of the world championship due to the repercussions linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The contract for the Italian Grand Prix in the Formula 1 world championship calendar, again at the Monza national racetrack, is valid until the end of the 2025 season. once, Pirelli, the Italian company that supplies tires for the World Championship, in which this season celebrates the 350th anniversary of its foundation. This edition will attended by 336.647 spectators during the race weekend, represents the absolute record for the Grand Prix. The maximum capacity for spectators in the stands is allowed after it was set at 50% in the previous edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The previous record belonged to the 2019 edition, characterized by a presence of 200.000 spectators over the weekend, after which the previous edition of 2021 was chosen as one of the three of the season, together with the British Grand Prix and the first edition of the Brazilian Grand Prix, to be the protagonist of the experimentation, for the first time in the history of Formula 1, of the race format characterized by the dispute of the Sprint Qualification on Saturday in order to establish the starting grid for the Grand Prix, the Grand Prix of Italy returns to compete in the traditional program. The format, also confirmed for this season, was chosen as the object for three other Grand Prix, including those of Emilia-Romagna, the Austrian Grand Prix and the subsequent San Paolo Grand Prix scheduled for November 13, 2022, the penultimate test of the World Championship, the only event to have been confirmed for the second consecutive season where to use the format, called Sprint in this World Championship. The Italian Grand Prix is the third in a triptych of races, the only one in this championship, after the Belgian Grand Prix, the only race in August, and the previous Dutch Grand Prix, the first race in September, all located at a distance of one week from the other, an occurrence already occurred in the previous season when the return of the Dutch Grand Prix in the calendar of the Formula 1 world championship was placed by the Federation between the Belgian and Italian Grand Prix. The contest of three Grands Prix for three consecutive weeks took place, for the first time ever in the history of the category, in the 2018 World Championship, on one occasion, and subsequently three times each in the last two previous seasons. Emilia-Romagna in April, Italy hosts, for the third consecutive season, at least two Grand Prix in its territory. It, together with the United States of America, thanks to the dispute of the first edition of the Miami Grand Prix raced in May, and of the one of the same name scheduled for the following 23 October, 2022, for the first time since 1984, are the two nations to host two Grand Prix on its territory in this World Championship. The Italian territory, in addition to being in first place for having hosted the largest number of races in the history of the world with 103, it hosted, for the first time, three Grand Prix in the 2020 season, in which the world calendar was influenced by of the problems dictated by the Covid-19.
The Tuscan Grand Prix, to be held at the Mugello international circuit, was introduced during the season to replace numerous other Grand Prixs canceled or postponed due to the health emergency. Present in the calendar of the Formula 1 world championship since the inaugural edition of 1950 and valid as proof of the category from the same year, the Italian Grand Prix, together with those of Monaco, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Great Britain, including a edition of the Indy 500 valid for the World Championship, was one of the tests that characterized the calendar of the inaugural edition of the Formula 1 World Championship. The Grand Prix is the only one, together with that of Great Britain, to have been present in the calendar of the world championship since the first season of 1950. It sees its dispute in the calendar of the season in the traditional month of September, for its ninety-second edition, the seventy-third valid for the world championship, and the eighty-seventh at the Monza national racetrack, which celebrates 100 years since its construction took place in 110 days in 1922, the third oldest permanent racetrack in the world, after that of Brooklands in England and that the Indianapolis in the United States of America, as well as the fastest circuit on the world calendar since the 1991 season, and is, among all those used in the Formula 1 World Championship calendar since the inaugural season of 1950, in first place for the largest number of editions of a Grand Prix (71 editions), as well as being in first place for the largest number of editions disputed consecutively (41 editions). The Italian Grand Prix is the fifth oldest Grand Prix after those of France, the United States, Spain and Russia and, since 2013, also the one that has been held several times. For the only edition valid for the World Championship in 1980, it was raced at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack, previously home to 26 editions of the San Marino Grand Prix and starting from 2020 the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. On five occasions, not valid for the World Championship, the Grand Prix was held in other locations, including Montichiari (1921), which was the seat of the inaugural edition, Livorno (1937), Milan (1947) and Turin (1948). The Grand Prix was not raced in 1929 and 1930, and between 1939 and 1946, all editions not valid for the Formula 1 World Championship.
In the first case the race was not run following the very serious accident of the local driver Emilio Materassi in the 1928 edition which caused the death of 22 spectators, including Materassi himself, and more than 40 injured, while in the second case the race was not run due to the Second World War. The winner of the Italian Grand Prix will receives an artistic trophy titled EON supported by Pirelli, title sponsor of the race. In the days following the Dutch Grand Prix AlphaTauri releases an official statement rejecting the accusations of having behaved badly in the previous race. The Italian team, linked to Red Bull Racing by the same owner, was in fact attacked from several sides accused of having orchestrated the withdrawal of the Japanese driver of the team, Yuki Tsunoda, who stopped on the track, returned to the pits and then definitively retired by parking. his own car on the track to facilitate the victory by the Austrian manufacturer and the Dutch world champion driver Max Verstappen. Milton Keynes team strategy wall manager Hannah Schmitz also receives accusations, considered by some to be the mastermind behind Tsunoda's retirement. Some suspicions about the team's behavior had also been insinuated by the Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, who had even hypothesized the opening of an investigation into the incident. Fortunately, this accusation quickly falls, and a few days later the organizers of the Italian Grand Prix announce the birth of the Monza 100, an application of the event that improves the experience of fans inside the racetrack with technology by providing all useful information on traffic conditions, initiatives for the public and on-track activities. In addition, in the eve of the race is announced that the event will have its own fan zone, with the seals remove from the area. It had been seized the previous month for alleged violations of urban planning and landscape protection regulations. On the other hand, the usual pit walk appointment is not held on Thursday, just as the use of the Ferris wheel is not allowed. On Wednesday September 7, 2022, the fan zone is again impounded. The next day in court the hearing in which the lawyer of the racetrack asks for yet another release from seizure takes place. It accepts the appeal of the racetrack and authorizes the reopening of the fan zone. Spectators are only allowed to enter the circuit on Friday.
The promoters of Formula 3, sub-category and side of Formula 1, announce that three drivers of the category also side W Series, the British Abbi Pulling, the American Chloe Chambers and Czech Tereza Bábíčková, along with Formula 4 and European regional Formula 3 Emirati Hamda Al Qubaisi, take part in a test driving a Formula 3 car at the Nevers Magny-Cours circuit in France on the 16th. and next September 17th. Pulling and Al Qubaisi will lead on the 16th, while Chambers and Bábíčková on the 17th. The test aims to give women better access to sport. It is the second time that a test has been carried out in which a woman drives a car in the Formula 3 category after a similar test, in the previous season and on the same track in November, was also conducted with drivers from the W Series, including Spain's Nerea Martí, Russia's Irina Sidorkova, Spain's Maya Weug and Britain's Doriane Pin. Injured during an accident in the first of two races in Austria at the Red Bull Ring circuit in the European regional Formula 3 Championship of the FIA, after the success of the first meeting in the endurance World Championship which was the setting for bringing together more than 50 women involved in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in different organizations and professions, including the five female riders in the race, team managers, engineers and professionals. The initiative aims to give visibility and awareness on the various activities and positions open to women in the Federation's championships. All women working in the paddock during the Formula 1 race weekend and the Formula 2 and Formula 3 side categories are invited to connect and share their vision and experience in motorsport. The series of encounters also serves as a goal to increase diversity by bringing new talents and new faces to the motorsport in which the whole Federation is committed. For this Grand Prix, the Austrian Red Bull Racing team announces its sponsorship with Esselunga, a brand operating in the large-scale distribution sector. The German car manufacturer Porsche releases a statement in which it marks the end of negotiations with the Milton Keynes team, stating that Formula 1 remains an attractive environment without the exclusion of future involvement in the category. On Thursday September 8, 2022, Formula 1 and the whole world of motorsport mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
A minute of silence is observed before the start of the first free practice session on Friday, as well as before the race on Sunday.Different teams, including Red Bull Racing, Aston Martin, Haas, Ferrari and Mercedes, commemorate the disappearance of the sovereign on the liveries of their cars. In the days following the Dutch Grand Prix, there was talk of a possible signing of Colton Herta by the AlphaTauri team, provided that the American driver managed to obtain the necessary points for a super licence. In order to do so, the FIA would have to grant extra points, using a clause that would allow the American driver to obtain a super licence despite the lack of points, due to the lack of sporting events in previous years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the FIA announces that it will not be pressured by the teams on issues such as super license points, as Colton Herta, US IndyCar Series driver for the team, also of the same nationality, Andretti Autosport, is missing the required 40 points to run in the highest category. Herta, who holds the record for the youngest driver to win a race in the IndyCar Series, at 18 years, 11 months and 28 days, has been approached in recent weeks by the Italian manufacturer AlphaTauri, if the current driver of the team, the Frenchman Pierre Gasly, is left free to drive for the transalpine manufacturer Alpine in place of the Spanish Fernando Alonso, who leaves the French team at the end of the season to join Aston Martin in place of the retired Sebastian Vettel. To celebrate the centenary of the Monza racetrack, Ferrari races with a special livery. It is presented in yellow to celebrate the origins of the car manufacturer through one of the manufacturer's fundamental colors. Since the birth of the team in 1929 and then with the founding of the car manufacturer in 1947, Ferrari has in fact in the yellow, chosen by the founder Enzo Ferrari, between the two colors of the emblem of Modena, together with blue, one of the distinctive elements of the own brand, like the prancing horse and the tricolor band at the top. The coloring is also present on the suits and helmets of the two drivers, the Monegasque Charles Leclerc and the Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. The prancing horse with a yellow background made its debut on the team's Alfa Romeos at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in 1932 where the victory came with Antonio Brivio and Eugenio Siena.
The team also thought of dedicated content on its social channels as a tribute to the track on which it won its first race in 1933, when it was still fielding Alfa Romeos, and then collected over forty statements, the latest with Leclerc in the edition of 2019. For the Spanish driver of the French manufacturer Alpine, Fernando Alonso, this is the 349th Grand Prix in which he takes part in Formula 1, equaling the record number of races held by the Finnish Kimi Räikkönen. Alonso made his class debut in the 2001 Australian Grand Prix with the former Minardi team, 21 years, 6 months and 7 days ago, and has since achieved 32 wins, ranking sixth in the all-time ranking in the history of the World Championship, 98 podiums, again in sixth overall position, 22 pole positions, in thirteenth place overall, 23 fastest laps, in twelfth place, and 2 039 points total, in third place overall behind only the British driver of Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton, and the German Aston Martin, Sebastian Vettel. During his career, spread over 19 seasons, an absolute record shared with Räikkönen, Alonso won two world drivers' championships, in 2005 and 2006, again with the French manufacturer, but under the name of Renault. On the eve of the race, on Thursday, doubts arise about the possible participation in the Grand Prix of the French AlphaTauri driver, Pierre Gasly, who accuses a malaise and on the recommendation of the doctors must rest for the whole day. Gasly then regularly takes part in the Grand Prix. The Japanese driver of the AlphaTauri, Yuki Tsunoda, is penalized by ten positions on the starting grid for having received, by the stewards, following an infringement, the fifth reprimand of the season for driving on the track in poor conditions. safety with loose belts, after a pit stop, in the previous Dutch Grand Prix. Local Formula E driver for the US team Dragon Penske Autosport, and reserve driver for the Ferrari team, the US manufacturer Haas and the Swiss Alfa Romeo team, Antonio Giovinazzi, takes part in the first free practice session in place of the German starting driver Mick Schumacher, using the number 99. Nyck de Vries takes part in the first free practice session on Friday, replacing Sebastian Vettel at the Aston Martin, with the number 34. Starting from this World Championship, according to the sporting regulations, all ten teams enrolled in the World Championship have the obligation to field, during the free practice sessions, at least two young drivers.
Teams have a set number of sessions in which to field young rookies. For this Grand Prix, the FIA appoints the German Niels Wittich as race director. Former Formula 1 driver Mika Salo is appointed assistant commissioner. The Finn has held this function in the past on several occasions, the last at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The British car manufacturer Aston Martin supplies the safety car and the medical car. The 6th September 2022 a first draft of the calendar for the following season, which must be approved by the world council of the FIA, is published. The calendar would be drawn up through 24 appointments, two more than the current season calendar, a record number in the history of Formula 1 and the maximum allowed by the Concorde Agreement, an additional appointment compared to the calendars initially planned for 2021 and for this World Championship. The season would start on March 5 with the Bahrain Grand Prix and end on November 26 with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix takes place in April, that of Emilia-Romagna in May, while that of Spain in June, reversed with the Monaco Grand Prix. The Austrian and British Grand Prix are again reversed, with the Belgian Grand Prix moving in July, the Dutch Grand Prix in August, the first after the summer break, and in the month of September of the Singapore Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix. The calendar sees the return of the Chinese Grand Prix, not disputed in the last two seasons due to the problems dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic, of the Grand Prix of Qatar, located in October, not disputed in the current World Championship as the country concentrated in the host the soccer world cup, and the Las Vegas Grand Prix, held in November, for the first time since the 1982 season, with the race held at night and on Saturday, for the fourth time in the history of the world, the first since the 1985 South African Grand Prix. The United States of America thus competes in three Grand Prix in its territory for the first time since the 1982 season. Twice during the season, three Grand Prix are held for three consecutive weeks: the first the Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna and the Grand Prix of Spain, while the second between the Grand Prix of the United States of America and the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The calendar does not include the French Grand Prix, which was back in the 2018 season, while the Russian Grand Prix, under contract to be included in the world calendar, would have had to be held on a new circuit, the Igora Drive, a track permanent near the city of St. Petersburg, thus moving from the Sochi racetrack, home of the Grand Prix since its debut valid for the World Championship which took place during the 2014 season. Before the start of this season, the contract for the dispute of the Grand Prize on the new circuit is terminated following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at the same time concluding the contract for the dispute of the Grand Prix in the following seasons. The Federation confirms the traditional two activation zones of the Drag Reduction System established in the 2011 edition of the Grand Prix when the device was introduced for the first time in the history of the category that season. The first zone is located on the long straight of the pits, with the point of determination of the gap between drivers changed compared to the 2021 edition, moved from 20 meters before turn 11 to 20 meters after it. The second zone is located on the straight between curve 7 and curve 8, with the detection point placed before curve 7. Since the debut of the mobile device in Formula 1, the Monza national racetrack was one of the few circuits on the calendar of the world championship to be characterized by the presence of two areas for the use of the movable rear wing, given the presence of long straights, with the main objective of favoring overtaking. It was the subject of two DRS zones in 2011 together with the Montréal circuit, home to the Canadian Grand Prix, the Valencia circuit, home to the European Grand Prix that season, the Buddh International Circuit, home to the first edition of the Grand Prix of 'India, and the Yas Marina circuit, home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The FIA announces that four rows of polystyrene blocks have been placed in the escape route of the chicane of Turn 1 and Turn 2.
To ensure that the cars can return to the track safely, the drivers, in case of use of the escape route, must pass through the four rows of polystyrene blocks and rejoin the track at the end of the escape route. Pilots can only use weed if it is clearly unavoidable. At Turn 5, any driver who goes straight and does not follow the apex of the curve curb correctly must remain to the right of the yellow line and the bollard, returning to the track at the end of the escape route after the exit of Turn 5. Compared to the previous 2021 edition, the circuit has been resurfaced between Turn 1 and Turn 2, between Turn 4 and Turn 5, and between Turn 8 and Turn 10. Turn 8 and Turn 10 was shortened to two meters. At turn 11, starting from the apex, the asphalt on the outside has been reduced to two meters. Between Turn 4 and Turn 5 all rubber bollards have been removed. Before qualifying, the Federation establishes that at turn 5 any driver who goes straight and does not travel correctly no longer the apex of the curb of the curve, but the shadow area before the apex of the curb of the second chicane, must remain on the right of the yellow line and the bollard, returning to the track at the end of the escape route after the exit of Turn 5. At Turn 1 and Turn 2 the rubber curb on the left will been remove. For this Grand Prix, Pirelli, the sole tire supplier, offers the choice between C2, C3 and C4 compound tires, the type of tires that characterize the central range of the kind of tires made available by the Italian company, the same choice used for the last time in the Belgian Grand Prix, the only race run in August, the first Grand Prix raced after the compulsory summer break lasting three weeks, and the first of the triptych of races including the previous Dutch Grand Prix, to end with the Italian match, which also occurred in the previous season. Regarding the event of the Italian Grand Prix with the call that brings many fans inside the Monza racetrack and the nature of the circuit also for the choice of tyres, Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, gives the general picture of the situation:
"It’s a big event for us as we enjoy our 150-year anniversary at home, where Monza also celebrates its first century! So we are looking forward to a big festival of motorsport in Italy, which we can rightly feel very proud of as we equip the most sophisticated and efficient cars in Formula 1 history with 18-inch tyres. Monza is well-known for its high speeds and some fast corners where it’s important to have a car with perfect balance. This year’s tyres should lead to less overheating at the rear on a track where the cars run low downforce and often use slipstreaming to gain a tow. With no sprint race in Monza this year, the teams will head into the grand prix with a bit less information than last time, which means that the strategic approach will be somewhat different".
On the night between Thursday and Friday, Williams uses the third of six curfews granted during the season to carry out operations on their cars. The British team does not receive penalties. Before the start of the first free practice session on Friday, the fourth gearbox and fourth transmission are installed in Sergio Pérez's car. The fourth transmission is installed on Yuki Tsunoda's car. Both drivers are not penalized on the starting grid as the new components installed are among those usable in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The fifth gearbox and fifth transmission are installed on Carlos Sainz Jr.'s car. The Spanish Ferrari driver is penalized by ten positions on the starting grid as the new components installed exceed those that can be used in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The fourth unit for the internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K and exhaust system is installed on Lewis Hamilton's car. The British Mercedes driver is forced to start from the back of the grid as the first four new components installed exceed those usable in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The fifth unit relating to the internal combustion engine is installed on Max Verstappen's car.
The Dutch driver of Red Bull Racing is penalized by five positions on the starting grid as the new component installed exceeds those that can be used in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The fourth unit relating to the internal combustion engine is installed on Sergio Pérez's car and the sixth unit relating to the exhaust system. The Mexican driver of Red Bull Racing is penalized by ten positions on the starting grid as the first new component installed exceeds those that can be used in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. installed the sixth unit relating to the internal combustion engine, the turbocharger, the MGU-H and the MGU-K. The Japanese driver of the AlphaTauri is forced to start from the back of the grid as the new components installed exceed those that can be used in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The sixth unit relating to the internal combustion engine, the seventh unit relating to the turbocharger and MGU-H, and the sixth unit relating to the exhaust system are installed on Valtteri Bottas' car. The Finnish Alfa Romeo driver is penalized by 15 positions on the starting grid as the first three new components installed exceed those that can be used in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The fifth unit relating to the MGU-K and the third unit relating to the energy recovery system are installed on the car of Carlos Sainz Jr. The Spanish Ferrari driver is penalized by 15 positions on the starting grid as the new components installed exceed those that can be used in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. In the McLaren team, the British driver Lando Norris shows great enthusiasm in racing on this track:
"The Italian Grand Prix is always an exciting weekend. My last two trips to Monza have been incredibly positive, with last year being one of my favourite F1 memories, so let’s try and recreate some of that feeling this weekend. It’s likely to be a much trickier weekend for us this year but there is still an opportunity for points and to have an impact on the Constructors’ Championship. With it being the Temple of Speed, I’m really looking forward to getting out on track and seeing how far we can push the car. One last big push as we finish up in Europe for the season so let’s give it all we’ve got".
"Monza will always have a special place in my heart. Whilst another 1-2 isn’t really on the cards this time around, hopefully we can still bring you a little bit of Italian magic. I’m excited for the track, the amazing fans and the incredible food - the key combination for a good weekend. Zandvoort was a tough one for me but I’m keeping my head held high. I’ll keep pushing through and try to end the season on a high. We’ve had a good look at the data and had a deep dive into how we can play it for the upcoming weekend to hopefully get back up the pointy end. It’s likely to be another difficult weekend due to the nature of the track and it’s clear we’ve got work to do but I have full confidence in the team as we head towards the last race of this triple-header".
"It’s great to be back in Monza with the fantastic fans, and the site of our amazing 1-2 last year. This year will be different with the new car and its characteristics. There are plenty of straights with only a few turns to navigate, so we look forward to the challenge and to see how the new cars run here with the overtaking opportunities they will enhance. There’s also a chance of inclement weather which we’ll need to be ready for in order to maximize our result. As always, we’ll give it our all and push as hard as we can. With Monza being the last race in the triple header, the team are fully focused on the weekend ahead, but they have also earned the upcoming short break before the next race. Special thanks go to the team in the factory for their support over this long triple-header. We go again".
In Aston Martin, the Canadian driver Lance Stroll has good memories of Monza and hopes to have a good weekend as happened on similar circuits like Spa and Baku:
"I have some fantastic Monza memories - I started on the front row in 2017 and took my first podium for Team Silverstone in 2020. It is breathtakingly fast, beautiful and challenging - I love it. We performed well at Spa and Baku - two similar, low-downforce circuits - but, as we have seen, it is always tough to get among the point-scoring cars. So, if we can qualify well, then we should be in the mix for some points".
Also Sebastian Vettel has fantastic memories of the races held in Monza and declares:
"I will feel all the emotions when I arrive at Monza - the track where I took my very first F1 win - for one final time. I have always loved the unique feel of the circuit and the challenge it provides, as well as the energy from the fans. I will feel every moment of that intensity this time. The influence and characteristics of this year’s ground effect cars should be interesting - I hope that we see more action at what is typically a tough track for overtaking".
In Alfa Romeo Racing, Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal, declares the team's ambitions for the race in front of the home fans:
"We head to Monza this week for the final part of the triple-header and, more importantly, for our home race. It’s been an intense and challenging two weeks of racing so far, and there’s no denying we wanted more from Spa and Zandvoort, but we return to Italy with confidence, motivated to do well in front of our home supporters and a big contingent of our staff, who will be on the grandstands. The track will be different from Zandvoort, where we were on the back foot, so this is an opportunity to go back to something more akin to Spa where we were more competitive. Monza is an incredibile venue and it has delivered some incredible races in the last few years: hopefully there will be another spectacular Sunday this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the circuit".
Valtteri Bottas, after the last two unfortunate races, can't wait to race again and is very motivated in approaching the home Grand Prix for his team:
"I am looking forward to racing again after two unlucky weekends: of course, this weekend is a home race for the team and for our title partner, Alfa Romeo, which makes it even more special. For a driver, Monza is one of the most iconic and unique tracks on the calendar, and I enjoyed racing here in the past: I have four podiums from Monza and this is one of the most impressive podiums you can hope to stand on! The atmosphere is incredible, and to have our colleagues on the stands makes it even more special. Hopefully we can make a step forward from the last few races and we can end the European leg of the season on a high".
Zhou Guanyu concludes:
"It is the final race of the triple-header, as well as the final European race before we head overseas for the end of the season, and it feels like this year is going by in a flash. We have had a couple of races where we didn’t get to compete at the level we wanted, but this race is a new opportunity to regroup and work out on what we lacked last week in terms of pace and performance. It’s a big weekend for us and we want to do well in front of our home crowd: also, having been with Italian teams during my junior career, Monza holds a special meaning to me; when I stepped on the podium last year in F2 I could feel the passion and the endless energy of the fans. The Italian Grand Prix will be an important event, both for us as a team and for the Alfa Romeo brand, but when the sessions start, I’ll just focus on doing the best possible job and bringing home better results for the entire team. Sono pronto".
At Haas, the Team Principal Guenther Steiner is satisfied with the pace that their car has had at Zandvoort, especially in qualifying:
"We knew that our car in Zandvoort should be performing well because the track has high-speed and medium-speed corners - a little bit like Silverstone and Austria - where we performed pretty well. Mick got the best out of it I’d say, and it was very good of him to get into Q3. Unfortunately, Kevin didn’t get used to the track to put a good performance in, he was getting there but we just ran out of time for him. All in all, we know that the car is performing, we just needed to get a little bit lucky, and we could’ve had points on Sunday, but qualifying was not too bad".
On the unfortunate incidents that occurred to both drivers Zandvoort, Steiner declares:
"Absolutely. You never give up on the pit-wall, you always try to get the best out of it. We almost got it turned around with the safety car and the VSC but we were just a little bit too far behind. The pit stop was one of those things, the front jack got stuck when the car was up which has never happened in seven years, and the one time it happens, it happens during a race. We’re doing around 50 to 100 practice pit stops over a race weekend and it gets stuck on race day. It’s unfortunate but we always keep on pushing whatever happens and that is what we’ll continue to do".
On the Monza circuit, in correlation with what may be the possibilities for their team, the Haas’ Team Principal argues:
"We know that Monza will not be a strong point for us. All the high-speed, low downforce race tracks don’t suit our car. This year we’re not in a position to fight on these race tracks but the team in Italy is working hard on some solutions for next year and I’m sure we’ll get them so next year we’ll be in a better place. We use these races to gain experience and collect data for the development of next year so we’re in a much better place hopefully than this year. We always try to do our best, you never know, there could be rain there. You always need to be 100 percent, you never say this will be a bad race. If we know that it will be challenging, we are working harder".
As for the development of the car for 2023 and for what concerns the evolution package brought this season, he affirms:
"We established the department in Italy at the beginning of last year. We started almost from nothing and what we’ve produced for this year I think is a very good result. With the lessons learned this year, we just keep on trying to work on next year’s car even harder and I think we’re in a better place because the group now is more in-tune and they’re seeing what we need to do to on this new regulation car for next year. We’ve switched to the design of next year’s car a few months ago, so the team keeps on learning and keep working hard so that we get a good car for 2023".
On the approach and the objectives to be achieved for the Italian Grand Prix, Kevin Magnussen declares:
"We won’t be taking a different approach into the weekend - Monza is a great race, one of the favorites, certainly in my book. The atmosphere, the track, the history of the place, it just is a special feeling racing there. It’s also a super racing friendly track, there’s lots of slipstreaming and always a very unique form of racing in Monza".
On the historic Monza track, he argues:
"I think it’s ok to have a mix with old and new, but I do tend to prefer the old ones because they were built differently. Nowadays, tracks are built very efficiently, smooth, flat and wide. When you get to a track like Zandvoort, Mugello, Monza or Suzuka, you really feel the difference and it tends to be more exciting and more exhilarating. You let your mind think about what it must’ve been like back in the day and also the old tracks that we race on now have been updated. It was just different back then and the tracks that still exist from back then still have some of that character in them".
Regarding the approach to the Singapore Grand Prix, the first event in which there will be a change of time zone, Kevin has clear ideas on how to prepare:
"I’ll be training and trying to get the most of out the two-week break. There’s a lot of travelling in these three weeks we’re in now and the training you do in the gym is very limited so I’m going to get back to the gym and have some time with family".
Remaining in the Haas team, Mick Schumacher outlines the goals for the race weekend at Monza:
"It’s going to be a tough weekend but on the other hand we have those kinds of tracks where maybe our car isn’t performing just as much as we’d like it to, but it’s probably a small amount of tracks compared to the number of tracks that suit our car set-up".
Regarding the circuit, Mick says:
"I would say there is a bit more character in these kinds of tracks compared to newer tracks which are very flat, long with wide run-offs. It’s a bit different but Spa, Zandvoort and Monza used to be new tracks at some point, so it depends a bit on what you’re used to. At the moment, we’re very used to seeing those old school tracks, but I think we’re transitioning to a period where we’re getting more and more used to having large run off areas".
About the preparation for the following two weeks that will accompany the approach to the Singapore Grand Prix, he declares:
"I will of course have some days off, but it’s still a busy time. Next week I’m visiting the AMB exhibition with Haas Automation as well as being in the simulator. The week after, Kevin and I are going to the official opening of the Home Deluxe Arena in Paderborn, Germany, amongst some other appointments. Having joined Formula 1 during COVID times and there being a lot of restrictions, it’s cool to be working with partners away from track as well now. For sure I’ll be going in with the mindset of getting ready for Singapore as it’s one of the toughest races on the calendar coming our way with very high humidity and temperatures. Also the track is very bumpy which will probably be felt in these new stiffer Formula 1 cars. We’ve gone away from hydraulic suspension and over to mechanical suspension which has a big effect in how the ride happens, hence the bouncing issues some people have".
In AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly says he had a difficult weekend in Zandvoort but at the same time keeps the confidence to look for important points in the Italian Grand Prix:
"Zandvoort was a tough weekend. We made some progress with the car going into Qualifying, but in the race, I didn’t really have the pace to fight with our usual rivals, especially after dropping a place at the start and running in traffic. However, we learned some useful lessons, so I’m approaching this last race in Europe, our home race, in a positive frame of mind. Monza is close to home for me, and for the rest of my career, this race will always be very, very special for me. There’s a different feeling going there, not just because it’s a home race for the whole team. The energy and the atmosphere there is incredible for everyone in the team. We must come to the track with the drive and mentality to go and chase points. Whether that will be easy or difficult with the car we have, there will always be some opportunities and we must maximise the potential we have. If we do a good job, we can transform that into good results. We have to stay positive and look ahead. With these new cars, we have seen since the start of the year that, in some situations, they make things easier and in others, it can be a bit tricky, but in general, overtaking has been easier, so I don’t see why that should not be the case in Monza. We will be able to get closer to the car in front but there will be less of a slipstream effect, it will be interesting to see how that works out. I won at Monza from tenth on the grid which shows that in Formula 1 anything is possible".
Yuki Tsunoda concludes:
"After the team had done a good job of improving the car in time for Qualifying in Zandvoort, things didn’t work out in the race and then I had a problem with the differential, that meant I had to stop. Now I’m just going to reset and focus on Monza, which is a special race for our team. Last year I was unable to start the Italian Grand Prix, which means that I’ve never actually raced a Formula 1 car for a full-length Grand Prix at Monza. So, I am very keen to be able to race at what is another home track for us, after Imola. I’m excited about it, I know the team is too, so we have good motivation going into this weekend. At the moment, I am not sure how the car will suit this track, but as usual we will be working to extract as much performance as possible out of it. Slipstreaming is an important factor on this fast track and with these new cars, the effect will be less than in the past. Because you can now follow another car more closely in the corners, overtaking should still be possible, but you could get stuck in a DRS train. I expect we will see everyone trying to get a tow in Qualifying. How we handle that tricky situation could be the key to Qualifying well. We’re obviously carrying a penalty into this race [due to five reprimands received], but I like this track, so let’s see how it goes".
Alpine’s Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer analyzes the race in Zandvoort and says he is motivated to take home other points at the weekend in Monza:
"The Netherlands was another very good race for the team with both cars converting out-of-place grid positions well into the points. It was a great race across the board where we made strong calls on strategy matched with strong racecraft from the drivers to deliver what was required. It was not a completely clean weekend - far from it - especially as our qualifying was quite uncharacteristic for a number of reasons. We brushed that aside when it mattered on Sunday, though, and that’s satisfying. We brought some small upgrades, as we will continue to do, which is making a clear difference to our level of competitiveness. It’s five double points in a row and we aim to make it six this weekend".
Esteban Ocon continues:
"I feel good and energised. The car has been performing well the last two races and we are motivated to finish this triple-header on a high. I took a couple of days to recover from Zandvoort and prepare for Monza, one of my favourite races. I also love racing in Italy, a place I’ve spent a lot of time in since I started racing in karts. There is a good feeling within the team after further consolidating our fourth place in the constructors’ table and heading to a track which should suit our car well. Racing in Monza will be very different to Zandvoort. We’ll be seeing long straights that produce some of the fastest racing of the year, as well as the numerous chicanes and sweeping turns. The high-speed nature of Monza tends to produce a tense qualifying session and an exciting race. The Tifosi will also be out in force as usual which always adds to the amazing atmosphere of this historic event".
Fernando Alonso concludes:
"Monza is one of the most historic places to go racing in Formula 1. On this triple header we go from the Dutch atmosphere in Zandvoort to the passion of the Tifosi in Monza, so it’s pretty special. I’m always well received by the Italian fans due to my time with Ferrari in the past. I’ve won there twice and had several podiums too. It’s a nice achievement and it’s great obviously to tie Kimi for the most race starts in Formula 1 on Sunday. Honestly though, I try not to think about the records too much and keep my focus on the racing. For sure it’s a nice achievement and one I will maybe look back on and be happy about. But whilst I am still racing, I don’t stop to think about it and I want to enjoy and maximise each race weekend".
In Williams, Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, argues:
"Monza marks the end of the European season and the end to a triple-header that has taken in Spa and Zandvoort. Whilst Monza shares some characteristics with Spa, it is still a very different track that requires a very different approach. Low drag is clearly important, but the corners cannot be underestimated and there is only so much downforce that can be removed to sensibly achieve a competitive drag level. We have a good baseline from Spa, and we’ll use Friday to experiment with some alternative rear wing options to see how far we can reasonably lower the drag level. The tyre compounds are the same as we raced in Spa, but the behaviour will be different with the left-hand tyres in particular exposed to high stress in Monza. All three compounds could be viable race tyres, and with overtaking a little easier in Monza than at Zandvoort, there could be a range of strategies at play on Sunday".
Alex Albon continues:
"I’m excited for Monza, especially after a good couple week’s where the team has made further progress, fine tuning the current package on the car. This circuit has similar characteristics to Spa, so I think we can take some learnings from that weekend and hit the ground running".
Nicholas Latifi is particularly excited to be back racing on the Monza circuit:
"I always look forward to going back to Monza as it’s a very cool and historic track to race at. It’s a great track for racing because of the long straights so it always makes for close and exciting wheel-to-wheel action. The new generation of cars will present a unique challenge as it will probably be the lowest downforce anyone will have ever run with them to try to optimise the straight-line speed, which has tended to suit our car better at similar tracks this season. Hopefully that’s the same this weekend and we can have a strong one".
In Ferrari, the Team Principal Mattia Binotto explains his passion for car racing and for the Maranello-based team:
"It began when I was a child. The one who was really keen on cars and Ferrari in my family was my grandfather and he passed onto me that enthusiasm for the Prancing Horse and brought me closer to Formula 1. He never missed a race on TV and I watched them with him. Gradually, as I was growing up, I was drawn to the Scuderia, its people and drivers. I was a huge Gilles Villeneuve fan, because he always gave it his all, whatever the car he was given to drive. Growing up in Switzerland, Ferrari was a bit like the national team for me. Every time it won, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and I felt really proud of being Italian".
On the Monza circuit, Binotto declares:
"This circuit holds a unique place on the calendar as it is a super fast track, the only one of the season, which makes it particularly tough on engines and cars. Here, the power unit is at its maximum for four fifths of the lap and it has to work perfectly. The race flies by, with 53 laps run at a very fast pace, so there is no room for mistakes from the drivers, because usually there’s no time to recover".
The Ferrari’s Team Principal has no doubts about the environment and the warmth of the fans around the circuit:
"Monza, which actually celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is an iconic motorsport venue. The Italian Grand Prix is special for all Italian teams, particularly so for us and I believe it is also for Formula 1 in general. One of the reasons all the teams like coming here is the fans. The tifosi are demanding and knowledgeable. They can also be wild and, personally, I will never forget witnessing the track invasion from the pit wall after Charles won here in 2019. They give you all their love, they support you even when things aren’t going your way and so they push you to do better and better. Seeing them rush to stand under the podium is a really special emotion and this weekend, we will be doing our utmost to give them the result they want".
Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff analyzes the previous Grand Prix in Zandvoort and projects himself with some optimism for the weekend in Monza:
"We didn't have the fastest car across the Dutch GP weekend, but the team did a fantastic job putting us in the mix to win the race and we need to ensure we're in that position on a more regular basis. We took some risks in Zandvoort and not all of them worked; we exist to fight for victories and will never shy away from making bold decisions. We scored good points in our chase for P2 in the championship and it was fun to be back in the fight. Through everyone's hard work, we're edging closer to that first win of the season. Emotions were running high on social media after the last race, but hate speech and abuse directed at our Team and our competitors have no place in F1. We compete hard on the track but we always have respect for our rivals. This intense triple-header wraps up in Monza, an iconic venue with a rich history and heritage in motorsport, and of course the sea of red Tifosi. While Zandvoort suited our car, Monza is likely to be a more challenging weekend owing to the circuit characteristics. But we're optimistic we'll be in better shape than other low-downforce tracks like Spa, thanks to our learning since then, and be pushing hard to be fighting for the podium once again".
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc says he is enthusiastic about the affection received from his home crowd and is ready to give his best on the team’s home weekend:
"I don’t feel any extra pressure, if anything, it’s extra motivation, which is positive and pushes you to do your very best. Yesterday, at an event in Milan, along with Carlos, I enjoyed our first encounter with the crowd. And this morning, it wasn’t that easy to get out of the hotel, as there were so many people waiting for me and I didn’t want to disappoint them. We know that this track should be particularly suited to Max’s (Verstappen) and Sergio’s (Perez) car. Having said that, we’ve often seen surprises at Monza, so we’re not ruling out getting the best possible result".
The other Ferrari driver, Carlos Sainz, despite having to start from behind, promises the best to give an excellent result to his home crowd:
"I will start from the back. For sure, it’s not ideal, because I want to be fighting at the front because of all the fans in the grandstands. But even if I start from a long way back, I will do my maximum to have a repeat of the race in France, with a lot of overtaking, in order to score as many points as possible for the team. We saw in qualifying in recent races here that slipstreaming can be quite strong and I’m ready to make myself available for that, just like in France. I hope I can be useful and maybe great team work can give the tifosi a pole to cheer about. Charles did it in Belgium for me and I would do it for him without hesitation".
It is a warm Friday in Monza with an air temperature of 26 °C while the track is up to 38 °C. The drivers and the teams gather in the pit lane to observe a period of silence, in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II before the start of free practice. During the FP1, which begins at 2.00 p.m. local time, some changes are made in the drivers’ line up: Nyck de Vries is driving for Aston Martin in place of Sebastian Vettel and Antonio Giovinazzi is driving down at Haas instead of Mick Schumacher. The first free practice sees Charles Leclerc lead a Ferrari one-two in their home Gran Prix with a time of 1'22"410, topping the timesheets ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz (+0.007) and the two Mercedes drivers, with George Russel a tenth ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Max Verstappen is only fifth, setting a time of 1'22"840, followed by the Alpine drivers, Yuki Tsunoda, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo closing the top ten. Ferrari and Mercedes have a good opening session, and so do Alpine. As for the rest, plenty of drivers will be fully focused on longer run pace knowing that their weekend is much more about what they can do on Sunday than fast laps on Saturday. The FP2 starts at 5:00 p.m. local time in a warmer weather than ever Monza: the air temperature is just slightly hotter than earlier at 27 °C, with the track up at 38 °C and humidity running at 41%. Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher are back in their respective cockpits, having missed out of FP1. At the end of the session Sainz is the fastest in 1'21"664, followed by the Championship leader Max Verstappen and the other Ferrari driven by Charles Leclerc half a tenth back. Sergio Perez finishes sixth in more than half a second behind of teammate Verstappen, followed by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso and Alexander Albon close the top ten. During FP2 Schumacher's Haas stops on the grass near the entry to Turn 6 causing a red flag, meaning the session is suspended. It seems to be a mechanical problem, but for the German driver this has been less than ideal given he sat out of FP1. He is also going to receive penalties for taking a new ICE plus gearbox components. He is still hopeful about qualifying:
"Unfortunately, we had an ECU issue which wasn’t great but these things happen and we just have to do a bit more work tomorrow. I got three fast laps in which isn’t much, so we’ll definitely have to try to get some more in tomorrow. We’ll get onto it quickly because I know this track pretty well so hopefully, we’ll have a good starting set-up for tomorrow and try our best".
His teammate Lance Stroll, who struggles a lot this Friday, only 17th in FP1 and 16th in FP2, is set to get penalties as well for taking a new ICE, turbo and MGU-H. He says:
"We’ve approached this weekend like any other one. We know that we’re lacking straight-line speed with the aero package that we’ve got, but we’ll deal with it the best we can. I think we’re a little stronger in race pace than we are in qualifying, so that’s good. Maybe we can try and get into a good position in the race and fight it out from there. For sure qualifying’s going to be difficult, that’s what it is, but lots of people are taking penalties so we’ll see where we end up".
At the end of Friday's second free practice session, Yuki Tsunoda is summoned by the stewards for failing to slow down under yellow flags after Turn 5. The Japanese AlphaTauri driver is penalised by three positions on the grid and two points on the super-licence. The penalty has no practical effect as he was already forced to start from the back of the grid. During the first two free practice sessions on Friday, Mick Schumacher uses a transmission assembly outside of the allocation provided under the technical regulations. The German Haas driver is not penalised on the starting grid as this operation falls within the maximum number allowed by the technical regulations. On the night between Friday and Saturday, Aston Martin used the first of the two covers allowed during the season to carry out operations on their cars. The British team receives no penalties. Before the start of the third free practice session on Saturday, the reserve driver of the 2020-2021 Formula E and 2019 Formula 2 Champion Mercedes, Dutchman Nyck de Vries, replaces Thai driver Alexander Albon at Williams, who was diagnosed with appendicitis. Nyck de Vries is using 45 as his race number, last used by German driver André Lotterer in the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix. For the Dutchman it is his debut in a Formula One Grand Prix after he was lined up in the first Friday free practice session in the Spanish Grand Prix, again in place of Albon for the same team, in the same session in place of British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in the French Grand Prix, and again in the same session in this Grand Prix in place of German Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel.
After appendicitis surgery, Williams reports that Albon suffered unexpected post-operative anaesthetic complications that led to respiratory failure. The driver, however, is declared out of danger, in time to be fit for the next Singapore Grand Prix scheduled for 2 October 2022, three weeks away. The fifth unit for the internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H, and the sixth unit for the MGU-K are installed on Carlos Sainz Jr.'s car. The Spanish Ferrari driver is forced to start from the back of the grid because the new components installed exceed the maximum number allowed by the technical regulations. The penalty has no practical effect as he is already forced to start from the back of the grid. The fifth unit relating to the internal combustion engine and the sixth unit relating to the exhaust system is installed on Esteban Ocon's car. The French driver of the Alpine is penalised by five positions on the starting grid as the first new component installed exceeds the maximum number set by the technical regulations. On Kevin Magnussen's car, the fifth unit relating to the internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H is installed, and the sixth unit relating to the exhaust system. The Danish Haas driver is penalised by 15 positions on the starting grid as the first three new components installed exceed the maximum number set by the technical regulations. On Zhou Guanyu's car, the sixth exhaust system unit was installed. The Chinese Alfa Romeo driver is not penalised on the starting grid as the new component installed is among those that can be used within the maximum number set by the technical regulations. Antonio Giovinazzi, who is back in F1 even if for only a free practice session, declares:
"It was a great experience to be back in a Formula 1 car and for me the first time in this new car. I think the session went well, we did all the laps we had planned, and I got the feeling of the car, the brakes and the tires so I’m really happy with the job. The next time will be in Austin, which will be another type of track as here in Monza it’s a low downforce track and Austin will be high downforce with a lot of high speeds. It was a good first time with the car and the team - thanks to Haas and Ferrari for this opportunity and now I’m looking forward to the next one".
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team seems quite satisfied by his team performance:
"We knew coming here it’s not our best circuit but it wasn’t as bad as we anticipated. We had a good session with Kevin, making solid progress over the two sessions. Antonio did a good job in FP1 considering he hasn’t been in a Formula 1 car for almost a year. He got straight into it and had a good session - did all the testing work we wanted him to do so we’re very happy with what he did. Mick got in, obviously missing one session is never fantastic but having FP2 shortened doesn’t make it any better - but we’ve got one more session for him. It’s not ideal but he’ll catch-up tomorrow".
Ferrari seem to be the team to beat here, with the Redbull carrying grid drops. All of which should please the Tifosi who are expected to turn out in huge numbers across the weekend. Carlos Sainz exceeds his allocation of gearbox components, plus ES, turbo, control electronics (CE), MGU-H and MGU-K, and will therefore start from the back. But he seem confident in the potential of the car:
"Overall it has been a positive day. We still need to check all the data, but I felt quite comfortable in the car and the package this weekend seems to be working well. There is still work to do to try and improve the pace on the long runs, so we’ll look into every detail tonight and try to improve for tomorrow but especially for the race".
His teammate Charles Leclerc, who will have a great opportunity on Sunday, states:
"The feeling in the car was good. We still haven’t found the sweet spot in terms of balance, but we tried many different things throughout the day and know which direction we want to go in. Our race pace looked stronger than our qualifying pace, so if we put it all together there is quite good potential to have a solid weekend".
Red Bull’s drivers face penalties for exceeding their respective allocations of internal combustion engines (ICE): a five-place grid drop for the dutchman and 10 places for his Mexican teammate. Max Verstappen doesn’t seem worried about it:
"I think the car was pretty good today, we’ve been trying a few different things from FP1 to FP2. Some things worked and some didn’t, if you look at the long runs we look good and of course that’s most important for the race. We did more long run practice knowing that we have the five place grid penalty on Sunday, everything seemed to work out quite well. There are still a few things that we can do better, but I think we should stand a good chance. The Ferraris look good, I’m not worried about them but we still have a few things to finalize".
Sergio Perez adds:
"We have been playing around with the set-up, exploring different directions, so I think all in all we have pretty good information going forward. We have used different downforce levels as well, so we have plenty of data for us to review tonight which is quite promising. We managed to complete a very solid programme today and we are fairly comparable to Max’s car, there are just a couple of differences. I think the main thing will be the race pace and how the tyres last around this track will also be key for the race. I am looking forward to tomorrow but mainly Sunday, overtaking will be hard but I think the degradation looks promising".
Esteban Ocon takes a five-place drop penalties as the team fits a new ICE to his car but he is satisfied by the car performance:
"It’s always a pleasure to drive in Italy and at Monza. It was a good Friday overall for us with two productive sessions and both cars in the top ten. We’ll be focusing on ourselves and how we can keep extracting further performance ahead of tomorrow. We’ll be looking at our data and also analyzing possible scenarios for the race with so many penalties and different cars trying different things today. We are fully focused on tomorrow and to have a good Qualifying".
His teammate Fernando Alonso is satisfied about this day:
"It was another good Friday for us today in Monza. We tested everything we wanted to test, and we have taken a lot of useful data regarding the tyres for this weekend. The ‘porpoising’ of the car seems increased here than it has in previous weekends, but other than that, it’s been a trouble free and well executed Friday Practice for the team".
Alan Permane, Alpine Sporting Director, talks about the Alpine’s performance on this Friday:
"It’s been a very normal Friday Practice for the team today at Monza where we’ve comfortably been inside the top ten on the leaderboard with both cars. We ran a standard programme, we didn’t encounter any surprises, and everything is set for us to have a competitive event. Of course, we race here in sad circumstances following the news of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen yesterday. As an Anglo-French team we aim to honour her service and legacy this weekend".
Pierre Gasly thinks the team is going in the right direction:
"There is still some work to do, but tomorrow we have an opportunity to make a step in the right direction. We know what we are struggling with and that was noticed again today in both FP1 and FP2, there was especially a lot of sliding in the medium to high-speed corners. Though there was the Red Flag, it didn’t change the overall performance much, because we were still able to gather all the necessary data about our weaknesses. We will need to analyse everything tonight to allow us to deliver a strong top 10 in Qualifying tomorrow".
His teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who drops 10 places for accumulating five reprimands over the season adding other penalties due to the changes of new power unit components and a three-place drop plus two penalty points after the Japanese driver fails to slow for yellow flags in FP2, will therefore start at the back of the grid. His focus today was on the race pace:
"We’ve mainly focused on race pace today, as we’ll be taking the penalties for Sunday. We did some short runs on the Medium that were quite strong, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a competitive lap in on the Softs. We need to go away and look at the long-run data tonight, as I didn’t feel quite as comfortable in the car as I wanted to - this will allow us to prepare as much as possible for the race. It’s going to be a difficult weekend, but a few cars have already announced they’ll be starting from the back of the grid too, so there are some opportunities there if we can find a good long-run set-up and some additional pace".
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer for Scuderia AlphaTauri, sums up their Friday:
"We had a busy FP1 session with a series of mechanical and aero test items distributed across the two cars, with a view of addressing the expected limitations at this track. The session ran smoothly, and we were able to capture all of the required data. Turn 1 braking was a limitation, as it often is here, with the bumpy braking zone and low downforce level we run. We made a number of changes to the cars for FP2, and the performance took a step in the right direction, although neither driver was able to get a clean lap on their Softs. Yuki had a snap whilst on his run and the Red Flag disrupted Pierre, so our final short-run ranking is not fully representative. Pierre was also struggling more with the rear-end of the car than expected, so there is more to do to give him the support he needs. The long runs were quite competitive, which is encouraging for Sunday. As always there is plenty of work for us tonight but from today’s running, we have a good basis to work from".
George Russell talks about the gap from Red Bull and Ferrari and says that the team has work to do before qualifying:
"Bit of a strange day, FP1 was looking pretty strong but then Ferrari and Red Bull seemed to take a step forward in FP2 and we went a little backwards so we have work to do tonight to understand that. Generally speaking, we're lacking a little electrical deployment here, we're similar to Red Bull but Ferrari seem to have the upper hand on deployment which might be tricky in a race scenario. If you nail the tow around here in qualifying, it will definitely make a difference but it's high-risk-high-reward so not something we're putting a lot of emphasis on. Qualifying sessions are where you learn the most about the car and the tyres, and they've been the sessions we've struggled most with this year, so I think we'll both be going out tomorrow like any other quali day and trying to nail the basics".
Lewis Hamilton, who reported an unstable feeling in his W13 during FP2 says:
"We made some setup changes in between FP1 and FP2 and went a lot slower, or the other guys went a lot quicker - we just didn't feel as fast in the later session. I know George had some deployment issues here but my car didn't seem to be affected. It's George's turn to choose who goes first or second tomorrow so I assume I'll go first and naturally I'll provide him with a bit of a tow".
Andrew Shovlin talks about the difficulties encountered especially during the second free practice session, so the team need to understand what is going on:
"The first session went well and we seemed to have the car in a good place for both single lap and long run balance. The second session was more difficult with both drivers suffering from a lack of rear grip. In terms of pace, it looks like our competitors found more between the sessions than we did so we need to look through that in detail to understand where we have lost out. We'd expected this weekend to be tough as the car is very similar to the one that we had in Spa and with Lewis's power unit penalty, we've got a lot of ground to make up in the race before we can get him into the points. However, the goal remains to score well with both drivers and the fact that we had the car in a good place in the first session gives us some encouragement that we can get it back in that window".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, is not surprised about today’s performance:
"It has been a fairly typical Monza Friday with the drivers getting themselves accustomed to low downforce and the new areas of tarmac. At the same time, we have been experimenting with rear wing options and tyre management. On the whole, we have been making reasonable progress throughout the day and whilst there is a lot to go through tonight, both drivers have a good baseline on which to build their performance tomorrow. We know that there are several grid penalties to be applied after qualifying and we need to understand the implications of this to the rest of our weekend. Fortunately, the weather looks set fair for the next two days and so we can concentrate our efforts elsewhere and build on we learnt today".
Alex Albon does not seem really satisfied with his car performance even if he did a great job compared with his teammate:
"It wasn’t a bad today and I feel like we’re in the mix. It’s definitely close out there, so we need to make sure we maximise everything for tomorrow. Ultimately, we know what direction we need to go in and with the long run pace, we need to make sure we get on top of the tyres, but I’m happy with how today went".
Nicholas Latifi, who finished last in FP1 and only 19th in FP2, says:
"A tricky start to the weekend so far. It does feel quite different when comparing to Zandvoort with everyone bringing their lowest downforce configurations. There’s still some time to find from my side. We made a good step in FP2 but there’s still more to come tomorrow, so we’ll do our homework tonight".
Lance Stroll is sure he can improve for qualifying:
"It was quite a challenging day trying to dial the car into the sweet spot around this low-downforce set-up. A busy job list and plenty of laps have given us a lot of data to go through tonight, so we will see where we can improve before qualifying. It seems quite a few drivers are facing grid penalties, so that could mix up the grid and open up more opportunities. Interestingly, the tow does not appear to be as strong with this generation of cars compared to last year, so that may change the dynamic of qualifying quite a bit".
Sebastian Vettel is worried about the performance of his car here in Monza after only a session of practice:
"I shared the car with Nyck [de Vries] today and he did a good job with useful feedback. It was an interesting experience being in that role of watching in the garage and listening to what he had to say on the radio. When I got in the car this afternoon, it was not the easiest session. I think these 2022 cars feel quite stiff here in Monza, particularly in the corners. The new tarmac in the chicanes also feels quite different compared to previous years. So we still have some homework to do tonight, but I think we already know where we can find some gains and improve the car ahead of tomorrow".
Nyck de Vries, given the opportunity to drive an F1 car, says:
"Firstly, it was a real privilege to drive the AMR22 around Monza today. This is a very different circuit compared to the other venues where I have driven 2022 cars, so it was all very valuable information for me. It was extremely challenging because of the low-downforce set-up that we run here, which makes it difficult to compare to my previous FP1 sessions. We spent the first half of the session gathering aerodynamic data, before switching to the Soft tyres later on. The priority is to help the team prepare for the weekend and I think we made good progress with the work we completed".
Lando Norris is happy of his Friday’s performance and states:
"Before I talk about the on-track activity today, I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen yesterday. She was an inspirational figure, and my thoughts are with the Royal Family. Reasonable day. We made good progress through today, so I’m happy with the progress that we’ve made. We’re still not where we need to be. I don’t think we’re competitive enough yet to really fight confidently for, say, Q3 at the minute. We’ll keep working very hard. I think we’ve understood some things better today, after learning from the past few weeks, but like I said, still not quite where we need to be. So, a few adjustments tonight and a bit of homework and set-up tweaks and hopefully we can take a small step forward, and that gives us confidence to be in a good position tomorrow".
Daniel Ricciardo, winner of the 2021 Italian Gran Prix, declares:
"Firstly, I want to pass on my condolences to the Royal Family following the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen yesterday, my thoughts are with them and the people of the Commonwealth at this time. This track is so unique that you come with such a different set-up, so you don’t know what to expect. I think the morning went relatively well. We made a few changes for the afternoon and across cars we tried a few different things. Lando’s afternoon looked really good, so that’s encouraging, so we will try to learn some things from that set-up. I think my afternoon was average - but I’m encouraged by his pace and looking forward to tomorrow".
Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Executive Director, talks about the work the team did with the car:
"On behalf of the entire team at McLaren, I want to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We are all deeply saddened to hear of her passing and send our deepest condolences to The Royal Family at this difficult time. This was a productive day. Both cars ran through their programmes at Monza without issue and we learned a lot across both low-fuel and high-fuel runs, making progress with set-up and defining our level of drag. Aided by analysis back at the McLaren Technology Centre, we were able to make some changes for FP2 and improve the performance of the car. We’ll take another look at the information this evening, to make sure we’re as prepared as possible for qualifying and the race".
Valtteri Bottas has have positive feelings on this day:
"It felt good to be out there, it is a nice track to be driving and it’s even nicer when the car feels good like it did today. Pace-wise, we seem to be doing better than in the last couple of events, so that is promising looking ahead to Sunday. There is still some fine-tuning to do, but I feel we’re not too much far off where we want to be, and we will be looking for any small gains we can get tonight. Our pace seems better than the position we are going to be starting from, because of the penalties, and I reckon here we can overtake and move up places. Hopefully, we can end our dry spell in terms of points and get back into the top ten".
Zhou Guanyu adds:
"We seemed to be quite competitive straight away from off, which was good to see, and I can say that the car felt much better compared to last week in Zandvoort. I’m quite happy with the progress we’re making but we know we need to keep working hard. Overall, it was super close once again today, and on a track like Monza it means two tenths could make the difference between Q2 and Q3. Qualifying tomorrow will be intense, and we still need to work hard overnight to put ourselves in the best for tomorrow".
Simone Berra, Pirelli Chief Engineer, concludes:
"The performance of all three compounds followed our expectations today, with a high degree of track evolution that was also down to a green track after the earlier rain. This evolution is likely to continue, which means that the car balance will probably shift and that is likely to be the biggest challenge for the teams this weekend, along with understanding the degradation on all three compounds. The performance gaps between the compounds are quite low as expected, because with so many straights and comparatively few corners, the cornering performance and grip of the compounds is less of a factor: instead it is all about straight-line speed, which has always been a fascinating aspect of Monza. Once more, we have seen in free practice that all three compounds seem set to be valid options for the race on Sunday".
The sun is shining high in the Italian sky on Saturday afternoon, with an outside temperature of about 26 degrees and track temperature of 39.8 degrees, while the third and final free practice session of the weekend is on its way to start. The first news of the day is that Nyck de Vries, former Formula 2 and Formula E champion, will replace Alex Albon for the remaining sessions of the Italian Gran Prix, as the Thai driver had an appendicitis attack and was rushed to hospital. At 1:00 p.m. the traffic light is green and the first to get off on the track is Sergio Perez with medium tyres, who closes the first lap in 1'23"448, but improves quickly by setting a 1'22"611. Meanwhile, Bottas, Tsunoda, Stroll, Vettel and Gasly are also on track, then joined by the McLaren duo all with medium compounds except for Bottas, who closes the first lap 1'24"244. Verstappen gets on track but finds a lot of traffic marking a very slow time with 1'30"896, but improves it quickly by scoring 1'21"872. Meanwhile, Mick Schumacher has an issue with his throttle and is still in the box. The Ferrari drivers finally get on track accompanied by the cheers of the home audience and close their first laps behind the two Red Bulls, Leclerc 3rd and Sainz 4th. The Spanish driver is called back to the pits for a fuel system problem while Leclerc takes second place with 1'21"944. Nyck de Vries finally gets on track too, all eyes this weekend are on him, while an investigation arrives for Sainz and Bottas. The drivers complain a lot about the traffic, which we know is a constant issue in Monza. After the first thirty minutes the classification sees Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez, Sainz, followed by Alonso and the Mercedes drivers. Mick is still in the pits, the mechanics trying to solve the problem as soon as possible to allow him to do at least a few laps.
Another news arrive and it regards Kevin Magnussesn, who will join the drivers with grid penalties since he’s taken on a new ICE. Most drivers put the soft tyres, including Carlos Sainz returning to the track scoring a 1'21"897. Schumacher manages to get off the track a few minutes from the end. Verstappen is the fastest of the session, with a margin of 0.347s. Leclerc is second, compromised by a mistake at the Roggia variant. The final ranking is: Max Verstappen (1'21"252), Charles Leclerc (1'21"599), Sergio Perez (1'21"848), Carlos Sainz (1'21"897), Fernando Alonso (1'22"306), Lando Norris (1'22"319), George Russell (1'22"357), Yuki Tsunoda (1'22"430), Esteban Ocon (1'22"506), Lewis Hamilton (1'22"567), Ghoy Zhou (1'22"657), Pierre Gasly (1'22"755), Nicholas Latifi (1'22"776), Nyck de Vries (1'22"869), Daniel Ricciardo (1'22"871), Valterri Bottas (1'22"950), Sebastian Vettel (1'23"104), Kevin Magnussen (1'23"203), Mick Schumacher (1'23"392), Lance Stroll (1'23"739). During the press conference before qualifying, it is time to talk about Alpine. In fact, these are bad times for the French team, that in the space of a few weeks, lost both Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri, the F2 champion whom they had invested in and hoped could be their future. Now theyare without a driver to partner Esteban Ocon next year, but Laurent Rossi explains that Alpine are not panicking. They wanted to continue with Alonso until the end of this season, when his contract expired. They offered him a term of two years, the second season being an option, with the idea that once that ended, he would continue with Alpine in other motorsport categories. They would then give Piastri a race seat from 2025, after loaning him to Williams for a couple of seasons to gather some experience. He explains that the team couldn’t offer Alonso a longer contract because they would risk losing Piastri, but the Spaniard thought that it wasn’t enough and joined Aston Martin next season on a multi-year deal:
"We wanted him to continue with us as an endurance and/or Dakar driver. We spoke about it at length last year. Why did we only offer him two years? We only had two years of option with Oscar. Fernando had a desire to drive longer in F1, which we couldn’t match or we would have lost Oscar. It didn’t make sense for us. More than likely, we couldn’t match other conditions that were offered, too. So, with Fernando, we would have loved to continue. He’s an amazing champion, he will remain a legend of our brand - but it didn’t work and that’s life. We will stay on good terms. He’s an exceptional champion, he’s a gentleman, he’s continuing to do fantastic work for us despite having signed [for Aston Martin for next year]. We’re sad to part ways but we remain family. That’s life. It’s a blow to lose a champion, but it happens. Silly seasons, they move like that. Oscar was not expected. Frankly, it’s disappointing".
Soon after Alonso’s news, Alpine announced Piastri as their driver for 2023. However, ther Australian driver responded on Twitter that he would not be driving for Alpine next year. Rossi explains that on November 2021, Alpine made a commitment, outlined in a Head of Terms document, to train Piastri extensively and then send him to drive with another team while they continued with Alonso for at least one - possibly two seasons - before bringing him back:
"We did deliver on our commitment to Oscar very quickly, as we exercised our option on November 15, agreeing on Head of Terms which said he would be reserve. He would receive an extensive training programme, among other things 5.000 km of driving through the year, and we’re going to find him a driving seat for 2023 and 2024. We did just that. We announced him as a reserve the day after. We very quickly devised a training programme and a 5.000 km testing programme, which started in February alongside Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon - that’s a serious training programme. You’re driving with two F1 drivers, you will learn from them. He drove 3.700 km by August. We would have easily obtained the 5.000 km. We gave him full access to the team, debriefs, technical meetings and he was with me most Sundays listening to the race. Not only was he a reserve, but he would have been the most trained rookie ever. He knew how the team operated, how an F1 driver is supposed to operate in the team. We feel like we delivered. We went above and beyond. We hired a person just to find him a seat [with another team], because we wanted to do that properly. By the end of April, we found him a seat at Williams".
But when it became clear to Piastri that Alonso would be in the Alpine for 2023 and maybe 2024, he started to assess his options elsewhere on the grid. Alpine then became aware that McLaren had made him an offer:
"When the Williams opportunity was about to turn into a concrete deal, so much so that the seat fitting was scheduled, they [Piastri’s management team] said we have a possible opportunity at McLaren. It was a bit disappointing. We felt it was a bit strange, because we expected a bit more loyalty considering how much we put in there. He didn’t say he was going to go, he said he had an opportunity. Then we saw in July, the sixth I think, that [Daniel] Ricciardo was confirming for the year after [this is two days after, it later emerged, Piastri had signed with McLaren]. So we thought there is interest, but there might not even be a seat. There was perhaps an opportunity [at McLaren, but] the door is closing, so Oscar is still in play for us. It explains why we decided to promote him - he was reserve and we elevated in the same framework to race driver. Otmar [Szafnauer, Alpine Team Principal] saw him, told him, and we announced it. We never knew for a fact he had signed. He never told us. We still believed the Williams seat was a great one, a great opportunity to learn without a bit less pressure - a very good team to learn in, very seasoned, capable of growing talents like George [Russell, who spent three years at the team as something of an apprenticeship before being recalled to Mercedes]. But we could understand he was attracted by the prospect of a better challenge sporting-wise. We felt when we had the chance to offer him a better seat, I would contend, with us because we are a works team, we felt like we would offer it to him and he would accept it as there was no better option - Ricciardo was staying. We acted very logically, in line with our commitment to him. From our perspective, it’s a very linear, simple story. We have been so committed. I don’t think we could have given more to any driver, to be honest".
Last weekend, the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) determined that the only valid contract Piastri had was with McLaren, not with Alpine, and it comes down to the fact Piastri never signed legal paperwork locking him into Alpine.
"He never signed any contracts we put to him. We put contracts forward many times. They were never signed. We could not retain him because he didn’t sign a contract with us. We were expecting more loyalty".
Rossi admits the mistakes made by his team. However, he believes they acted in good faith throughout:
"We made some mistakes, we made some legal technical mistakes. We left the door ajar by not forcing him in with a contract that is so tight he couldn’t move. Why did we do that? It’s a bit of an oversight because we never thought that when you give so much to someone, when you give them training, a reserve role, a seat in a partner team, he will not take it after being supported for so many years and winning the championship through your support. Like George [Russell] before him, who went to Williams before returning to Mercedes, like Charles [Leclerc] who went to Sauber before returning to Ferrari, like Max [Verstappen] and like Sebastian [Vettel, who both raced for Toro Rosso before driving for Red Bull] - they all did a junior team before moving up. I’m a bit surprised that Oscar thought that first, he was better than Williams. I can understand from a sporting perspective McLaren might be more interesting based on pure on-track results than Williams, but we didn’t expect that after so much support, so much loyalty, they would use that back door to shop around and get what felt like a better contract for them. Those are not the values we exhibited. This is how I see the story. Of course, we made mistakes, otherwise we wouldn’t be here talking about the topic, but we feel we stayed very true to our commitment, to our values and to our words to Oscar. But I would say things happen for a reason. We’re not sharing the same conceptions of things, and perhaps not sharing the same values, so it’s perhaps better this way, to be parting ways".
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer joins the squad during this saga, allowing Rossi to take a step back from the day-to-day running of the F1 team so he can focus on running the wider Alpine business, which continues to show growth in road car sales - the finance of which can then be ploughed back into the F1 team. Despite the frustration of losing two highly-rated drivers, Rossi has thrown his full support behind Szafnauer, who he feels has made strong changes since joining the outfit from Aston Martin in February:
"The roles are very clear. Otmar is the F1 boss. I have full confidence in him. I tag-team with him a lot. In the transition from me to him upon arrival, it’s been remarkable - he’s made a difference since he arrived. He’s continuing to make a difference. He’s been hired to help me take a bit of a distance, as I have 16 direct reports. I need to build cars, expand the Alpine network, build a brand. I spent a disproportionate amount of time last year on F1. I will spend less and less time as now I have a very capable leader at helm in Otmar. The roles are very set. I will lead the Alpine brand, which is more than an F1 team. Luca [De Meo] leads the Renault Group and its transformation. It won’t change, it works well. We made mistakes. We will clearly learn our lessons".
Alpine brought Piastri through their academy in the hope that he would race for the Formula 1 team. Of all the junior academies, Alpine has one of the most - if not the most - extensive programme, giving their drivers plenty of track time. In the last decade, aside from Lance Stroll, few can call on more than 3.000 km of testing in F1 machinery. Piastri, of course, had to do what is best for him - and he felt that McLaren offered him that chance. He remains grateful to Alpine for everything they have done. However, Alpine feel hurt that he left and now face the prospect of watching a driver they trained up excel at a rival. It is for that reason they are questioning the future of their academy. It comes after Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that, while he believes in the integrity of the drivers they have in their junior stable, the team will be employing even more lawyers for even stricter contracts. It’s setting a dangerous precedent, says Laurent Rossi. Then he adds:
"It’s creating a possible framework where driver academies are at risk. Manufacturers invest a lot in budding talents. The first remedy, which is what Toto mentioned, is to look at contracts differently - we will be much tougher. We learn form that, to take less of a naive perspective on shaking hands and being partners on more legally binding terms, which will be a bit less friendly. Then there is the even bigger consideration - is it worth it, us investing so much in detecting and supporting talent? If someone who doesn’t do that kind of stuff, saves that money and then poaches them when they are fully trained - why don’t we do the same? It’s a tough question - as it’s about what you believe in. We believe in bringing youth through; it’s anchored in the Renault Group. It’s our values, giving a chance to young drivers. Values are important. You want to stand for something. We will honour our commitment to all drivers in our academy, but we’re wondering whether or not to continue. We are torn apart. We believe in the value of the system but if we’re not protected, is it worth it? If we are not sure we can, and it becomes too complicated or too big a burden on the contract side - as contracts can only take you so far - you don’t want to make them so appealing because it binds you so much. We really wonder. It’s a big disappointment. Perhaps a big reality check".
Attention is now on securing a team mate for Esteban Ocon for 2023, with Alpine in no rush to decide. As the fourth-best team on the grid, they are an attractive prospect. Their car development this year, with updates brought to every race and delivering performance each time, has been impressive. Rossi set a 100-race target (roughly four seasons) of being competitive and regularly contending for podiums by making consistent progress - and to be fair them, they’re doing just that in the first season of four:
"There will be bumps on the road. I’m not a fool - I know we are going to have bad times. The Idea is to continue the progression. We’re the fourth force of the grid, and our seat is in high demand. That’s good. We will take our time. We don’t want to rush into the decision. It’s a process Otmar is leading, as he knows what is best for the team. We take input from our engineers. The driver is important, but the car is the most important by far".
A flurry of names have been linked with the seat, including AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and F2 racer Jack Doohan, who is part of the Alpine Academy. Alpine will spend the next few weeks mulling whether to take experience, to find a driver for one-year only, to leave them options in 2024 when more drivers will be available - or to go for youth and invest in the future:
"We need someone who helps develop the team, who helps develop the car. We need a seasoned enough, effective enough driver who will score points right away and also take the team up with him. These are criteria we are looking at. There are plenty of good ones. [Red Bull Motorsport Adviser] Helmut [Marko] mentioned Pierre - why wouldn’t you? He’s a very good driver, he would be a good candidate for us. You mentioned Jack, he’s a consideration. Despite what we said about the Academy, we believe in him, he’s shown a lot potential, especially lately - talk about being present at the right moment. He’s a great person, he is fast, his father is also a champion I admire and a person I admire. They are great guys. He’s in our plans. One way or another we will try and put him in an F1 car at some point. But then again, once bitten, twice shy".
On the timing of when a decision will be made, Rossi says:
"We will see what the landscape is by the end of September. We will have more clarity on all options. By then, I assume we will make a choice".
While Alpine are disappointed not to continue with Piastri, they see the bigger picture: the Enstone team have a car that is fast - and getting faster. They have a team with a clear development direction and are capable of fighting at the front. If they continue on that path and pick the right driver for the job alongside Ocon, success will follow. It is time for qualifying, the weather is still sunny and the track conditions are optimal: everything is ready for the first qualifying session that will decide Sunday's starting grid. However, almost half the field will be dropping down the grid because of a bevy of engine, gearbox and reprimand-related penalties, so the results will only be provisional waiting for penalties to be counted. In a circuit like that of Monza, not for nothing called the Temple of Speed, wake work can be crucial to grabbing up on seconds, which is why teamwork will be very important. At the green light the first to get on track are Stroll, Tsunoda and Vettel. The Canadian closes his first lap in 1'24"231, but he is soon beaten by 1.4 s by the Alpha Tauri driver. Vettel instead reports an issue in his cockpit and returns to the box. Ferraris take the track for their first run, immediately followed by both Mercedes and Red Bulls, all drivers with soft tyres. Gasly, the two Alpines and Alfa Romeos remain in the pits. Leclerc closes his first run in 1'21"280. followed by teammate Sainz, placing P1 and P2.
But Verstappen immediately eclipses the Monegasque’s time with 1'20"922, taking the first position. Sergio Perez' performance improves, so that the Mexican manages to put his Red Bull in fourth position with a second behind his teammate. Five minutes before the conclusion of Q1, the first four positions remain unchanged, as the Red Bulls and Ferraris stay in their boxes. Right after them is Russell and Alfa Romeo driver Zhou. The Alpha Tauri drivers, Gasly and Tsunoda, are next in seventh and eighth respectively, then Hamilton sits in ninth and Alonso in tenth for Alpine. Norris manages to take the eleventh position and Ricciardo the 12th, ahead of Ocon. Brilliant drive by De Vries who accomplishes to put his car in P14, ahead of teammate Latifi. In the elimination zone are the two Aston Martin, the Haas and Bottas. Magnussen places his car 19th after a series of laps cancelled due to track limits. Both Latifi and Schumacher go off the track trying to push to the maximum and earn a place in Q2, closing sixteenth and twentieth respectively. While both Aston Martin drivers can't improve their time lap, Vettel closing P17 and Stroll P18. However, grid penalties will see all five Q1 eliminations move up the grid, with Sainz, Tsunoda and Hamilton to start at the back and Magnussen and Schumacher starting ahead of them with their 15-place grid penalties. Aware of not being very competitive on a track like Monza, Sebastian Vettel comments that he is happy with his lap despite the problems reported in the first run, confident that he can bring some good results tomorrow:
"I was happy with the lap that I did today, which was a reasonable effort from my side. I only had one attempt in the end because of the bodywork coming loose during the first run, which meant that I was unable to get into a rhythm. Generally, this weekend has not been easy for us. At this track, for some reason, we are just not particularly competitive. But it is a new day tomorrow and we will push hard to make progress. We will gain some grid positions from others taking penalties, so we should start in the middle of the grid. We are usually more competitive on Sundays so let us see what we can achieve tomorrow".
Teammate Lance Stroll also points out how the Temple of Speed can be a hard track, but thanks to the penalties that almost half a grid will suffer, hopes that something can be done in order to earn some points:
"We always knew that this would not be our strongest track and I think that showed with today’s result. Monza is a very different circuit to the tracks we have visited recently, so hopefully this is a bit of an outlier. We seem to have a bit too much drag on the car for this high-speed circuit. I am sure we will have stronger performances later on in the season. We will gain grid positions through other drivers taking penalties, so things could work out better for us tomorrow. We will try and do what we can to race for points".
Mike Krack, Team Principal of Aston Martin, commenting on the laps of Vettel and Stroll proves to be optimistic for tomorrow race:
"Sebastian’s qualifying session was complicated by a loose blanking panel, which cost him some track time when we took the precaution to box him and remedy the issue. He made it out for a final run and ended up just seven hundredths off making Q2. Lance had a clean and tidy session, sticking to the run plan, but the circuit characteristics of Monza are not especially suited to our car and it was always going to be a challenging qualifying session. I am more optimistic for our race performance tomorrow and we expect to gain a handful of grid positions when other drivers take grid drops due to penalties".
For the Haas team it was surely not a great qualifying as team principal Guenther Steiner comments:
"It wasn’t a fantastic day today. We simply have to regroup and hope we have a better day tomorrow - there’s really not much more to say".
Despite being very close to entering Q2, the deleted lap time due to track limits hurts a lot Magnussen’s performance:
"It’s been as hard as we expected. I think we were close to getting into Q2, and if that had happened - if my lap time hadn’t been deleted, we would’ve been very surprised to get through. For tomorrow, it’s always interesting when there are lots of cars out of position".
On his side Schumacher has not been a lot on track this weekend due to the problems encountered in his car so that he could not do any race run, but as the German driver himself says these things happens and tomorrow he will try to put together a race in the best possible way:
"We’ve done very few laps and I think that’s the main reason why the weekend has been compromised. These things happen, it’s nobody’s fault and at the end of the day we win and we lose together. Now it’s a matter of who we decide to fight with, but there might be a few cars ahead of us that could be in our window. I haven’t done any race runs yet so it will be a race with some improvisation".
Wishing teammate Albon a quick recovery, Nicholas Latifi admits that he did not have many expectations from this qualifying, in fact despite the frustration the limitations of the car are very clear. However, he will try to make the most of the penalties of others drivers:
"Firstly, I'm wishing Alex a quick recovery and hope to see him back soon. I locked up into the first corner and didn’t get a lap on my second set of tyres. It’s frustrating but I’m where I expected to be as a result. It’s one of the trickiest corners for our car. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we’re quick in a straight line but we’ll lose time gained in the corners, so it’s going to be about how that balances out. We’ll be starting further forward due to a few penalties, so we’ll see what happens".
New soft tires for everyone in Q2, except for the Ferraris and the Red Bulls that put back those used in Q1. Verstappen heads out first setting a time of 1'21"265, but Sainz immediately oversteps him with 1'20"878. Leclerc has a lock up into Turn 1 on his first flying lap and has to abort it. He soon sets off for a new attempt on the next lap and sets the second best time of the session. Follows him Verstappen P3 0.387s off the pace and Perez P4 another 0.093s back. For the rest of the session the Ferraris and the Red Bulls do not leave for a second run. Also Tsunoda stays in the pits, as on Sunday he will still start from the the back because of a penalty and Gasly doesn't seem to need his help for a wake. At risk elimination remain Bottas, De Vries, Zhou and Ricciardo. De Vries leads the train of cars out but loses his Williams in braking towards the Variante Roggia by cutting the chicane, ruining his lap and exiting Q2 in 13th. The Alfa Romeos despite improving their lap time can't get higher, so Bottas slots in 12th, while Zhou ends the session 14th. Mercedes ends with Hamilton fifth and Russell sixth, ahead of Norris and then Ricciardo for McLaren. Alonso makes it to Q3 in 9th but his team mate Ocon is eliminated in P11. Gasly made it through to Q3 with the tenth place. The Alpine driver Ocon speaks of Q2 as a missed change, due to small mistakes that cost him seconds he do not manage to enter Q3, but tomorrow given the penalties he can be in the top 10, therefore is positive that he can earn points:
"It wasn’t a perfect qualifying session for us today. In the end we just missed out on Q3, after a sub-optimal Q2. We lost the rear of the car a couple of times and any small mistake at Monza costs time. The various engine penalties have really shaken up the grid for tomorrow, so let’s see what happens. It will be an exciting race tomorrow with potential to get in the top ten and we will be pushing hard to finish the weekend strongly and to score points".
Very glad of his performance is instead Valtteri Bottas, who has achieved the goals set for this qualification. Tomorrow he will have penalties but the car seems to have a good set up for the race, so the Fin is confident he can have some nice fights:
"I am pretty happy with today’s performance: I think we got everything we could out of this session. Our objective was to be ahead of Magnussen and Schumacher, as they had the same amount of penalties as us and we were fighting for position - and we did it. We knew we had a big penalty today, so we focused completely on setting the car up for the race - and still got very close to a spot in Q3. I feel we have made a good improvement compared to the last couple of rounds and we should be in a position to fight for points, even with the penalty. Our race pace is good, and hopefully we can have some nice battles tomorrow”.
Teammate Zhou Guanyu also feels satisfied with today's result, despite having struggled in Q2 with the car. Thanks to the penalties he will start in the top 10, a great opportunity for the Chinese driver:
"I think we came away with a good result, even though we were under some pressure as we only had two sets of new tyres. We were strong in Q1, while Q2 has been quite difficult for me: we struggled a bit more to get the balance right, and a flat spot on my tyre did not help. It was unfortunate as I think we were looking good and there was much more to get out from the car. Nevertheless, due to all the penalties to other drivers, we should be starting in the top ten, and it’s always nicer to be a little further up on this track. I am looking forward to tomorrow, as hopefully we will have more opportunities throughout the race".
According to Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur, today's performance has been a step forward comparing to the past weekends, with both drivers managing to deliver a decent qualification:
"Today’s performance was a step forward compared to the last couple of rounds. The circuit seems to suit us better and we can be satisfied with the work we have done since Friday. P12 with Valtteri and P14 with Zhou is a decent result, and we can take heart by knowing we went quite close to a spot in Q3. We head into tomorrow confident we can fight for points: Zhou will be ninth on the grid and Valtteri, despite his penalty, will lose only three places and race a car that has been set up with Sunday in mind. We have seen how chaotic races in Monza can be, so making the most of any chance will be good: if we have a good start and do our job properly, we can fight for the points with both cars".
For Nyck De Vries today has been a great opportunity to demonstrate his talent and skills. Despite losing the car, it has been in fact a very positive session:
"First, I just want to say I feel bad for Alex and hope that his health and recovery will be quick. Nevertheless, it was a great opportunity for myself, however it’s challenging to just jump in like that. Overall, I’m happy with how it went but definitely feel there was more in it. Unfortunately, I picked up a lot of rear locking in my lap, but generally it was a positive session. With the grid penalties, it’s positive to be starting further up the grid - I have some homework to do tonight but it’s great to get the call up".
Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, shows to be very happy with De Vries' performance, who immediately adapted to Albon's car and also managed to pass Q1, out-qualifying his teammate Latifi. In general, Robson believes both drivers have managed to do good lap times and is confident tomorrow they can both have good races:
"Firstly, we send our best wishes to Alex and wish him a quick recovery. Secondly, we welcome Nyck to the team for his Formula One race debut. The team reacted very well to the news this morning that Nyck would drive for the rest of the weekend. We were able to prepare the car for him quickly and adapt the FP3 run programme to give him some productive track time. He reacted to the challenge expertly, helped by his running on Friday and his experience of the FW44 in Barcelona. He inherited Alex’s setup and was immediately happy, requiring only a change to the front wing flap angle to adapt the car to his style. Qualifying in Monza is usually tricky as drivers look to balance tyre preparation and track position. Today was no exception but we got both drivers into reasonable positions in Q1. However, both struggled a little bit with braking in a tow. Nicky had to abandon his final effort in Q1 and Nyck lost some time in Sector 1 but was able to recover and set a good laptime. Although this laptime was deleted for leaving the track, his earlier lap was good enough to progress to Q2. Nyck did an excellent job today and although he was frustrated not to put the final lap in Q2 together, he still starts inside the top 10 tomorrow. We have a lot to review with him to prepare him for tomorrow but we’re confident that both he and Nicky can have strong races tomorrow".
For Tsunoda it was a very short qualifying, tomorrow the AlphaTauri driver will in fact start from the back of the grid due to a reprimand penalty, but he says he's still satisfied:
"Of course, we have the penalties this weekend, so our focus has been on our race pace rather than Qualifying, but I’m happy with the short-run pace we’ve had this weekend, I’ve felt quite comfortable in the car and we looked strong in Q1. I stayed in the car for Q2 in case I needed to help out my teammate - as tows can sometimes be useful around this track - but we decided that this wasn’t necessary for Pierre in the end, so we didn’t run. I will now focus on tomorrow’s race, it’s going to be difficult but it’s possible to overtake here in Monza and there’s a lot of people out of place tomorrow, so you never know what will happen".
New tyres for everyone except Hamilton, Norris, Ricciardo and Gasly for the last qualifying session, which will decide the top 10 starter of the Monza Grand Prix. Norris leads the field, followed by Hamilton towing Russell, while Ferrari decides to send Leclerc in front of Sainz for the first run. The Spaniard sets 1'20"584 and leaves Leclerc 0.386s off in 2nd. Verstappen is another 0.275s behind and Perez a further half a second back in 4th. Russel’s tyres are sliding a lot but he still manages to end fifth, followed by Norris while Alonso aborts his lap closing 10th. Everyone standing, applause and screams from the bleachers fill the track: Leclerc takes the pole with 1'20"161. Max Verstappen finishes in second place, a tenth and a half behind Leclerc, with Sainz settling in for third place. The Dutch will fall down the grid because of his five-place penalty, while third-place qualifier Sainz will drop to P18. Perez, Hamilton, Russell, Norris, Ricciardo, Gasly, Alonso complete the top ten. Charles Leclerc takes the 17th pole position of his career, for the first time since the French Grand Prix, and equals the number of pole starts achieved by Briton Jackie Stewart and Dutchman Verstappen. Ferrari's Monegasque driver, making his eighth pole start of the season and second in the Italian Grand Prix after that in the 2019 edition, surpasses the total number of pole positions achieved in the same season when he won the FIA Pole Trophy. He is the first Ferrari driver to win eight pole starts this season since the same number achieved by Michael Schumacher in the 2004 season. The Scuderia di Maranello, on pole position number 240 in the world championship and the tenth of the season, the twenty-second at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, a record for a track in the history of the category, starts in first position in the Italian Grand Prix for the first time since the 2019 edition just with Leclerc, then winner of the race. Verstappen, second, starts in seventh due to a penalty. The world champion won by starting tenth in the Hungarian Grand Prix, as well as by starting fourteenth in the Belgian Grand Prix. In the 2020 edition Gasly won by starting tenth without overtaking on the track, except for starts and restarts of the race. Sainz Jr, third, started 18th due to a penalty. Ferrari's lowest ever start for a driver who went on to the podium was the thirteenth place of Argentine José Froilán González and Italian Umberto Maglioli in 1954. Pérez, fourth but 13th on the grid due to a penalty, was overtaken by team-mate Verstappen in qualifying for the eighth consecutive time this season.
Hamilton qualified ahead of Russell, disregarding the nineteenth starting position due to the penalty, in what is a 9-7 head-to-head comparison in qualifying between team-mates. The former Williams driver started second for the second start of the year in the top three positions for Mercedes following Russell's own pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Norris' third position represents the first start in the top three for McLaren. The Briton is the only driver outside the drivers of the top three teams, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Mercedes, to have finished on the podium at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. Norris is chasing a double podium finish in a Grand Prix run in Italy for the second consecutive season, after the two achieved in the previous season. For team-mate Ricciardo, eighth in Q3, but starting fourth due to other penalties inflicted on other drivers, it is the sixth appearance in the top ten in sixteen races this year, while Gasly, ninth, but fifth on the grid taking advantage of other penalties, ends a streak of seven races without entering Q3. Alonso, tenth, but sixth on the grid due to other penalties, marks his Q3 appearance at the Monza circuit for the first time since the 2014 season, while team-mate Ocon, eleventh, but starting fourteenth due to a penalty, does not enter Q3, being beaten in qualifying by Alonso for the first time in four races. Bottas, twelfth, but starting fifteenth on the grid as he too was plagued by a penalty, makes it into Q2 for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix. Nyck de Vries, making his Formula One Grand Prix debut, is thirteenth, but starts eighth again due to other penalties. Entering Q2, the Dutch driver equalled his team-mate Latifi's number of appearances at the same stage in the championship. Vettel, in seventeenth position, is eliminated in Q1 for the seventh time in the last eight races, on the grid however eleventh thanks to other penalties incurred by other drivers. Zhou, fourteenth, qualified in the same position as the previous Dutch Grand Prix, but started ninth thanks to other penalties, while for Stroll, eighteenth but twelfth taking advantage of other penalties, it was the first ever elimination in Q1 at the Monza circuit. It was the third time this season that both Haas cars were eliminated in Q1, as they were in the British Grand Prix, where the team then scored points with both cars. The starting grid features nine penalised drivers, an occurrence that also occurred in the 2017 edition of the Grand Prix. For Charles Leclerc Monza has a special place in his heart. Being in front of the tifosi is always a source of pride when you dress the Scuderia Ferrari’s red suit. Regarding the qualifying, the Monegasque comments that he has felt very confident and the pace was strong, hoping that this will allow him to take the win:
"I’m very happy. Monza is always a special one and to secure pole position here in front of our tifosi, is an incredible feeling. Even more so after we struggled in Spa, another high-speed track with similar demands. We worked hard to make improvements and it looks like we have become more competitive again. I felt confident in the car from the first practice session on and our race pace was strong, so hopefully we can convert this pole into a victory tomorrow. I will give it everything".
Carlos Sainz congratulates the team on his teammate's pole, feeling happy with his performance even though his position is not really optimal for tomorrow, but saying that he will do everything he can to give the fans a race to remember:
"It was a good qualifying session from the beginning, with strong laps in Q1 and Q2. Then on the final attempts we also did very good laps, although on the last run, my track position was not the best behind Pierre (Gasly), as he was doing very fast out laps and we couldn’t get any tow. Still, it’s great for Ferrari to start on pole here at Monza so congrats to Charles and the entire team. We can be happy with the performance we have shown today and I think it’s a good testimony of the hard work that has been carried out in Maranello. I hope we can stage a good recovery tomorrow and for sure I’m going to push flat out to make up as many positions as possible. The support from the tifosi in the grandstands has been absolutely incredible all weekend and we’ll do our best to gift them with an exciting race".
Laurent Mekies, Ferrari’s Racing Director, emphasizes again how important and source of pride is to take the pole in Monza. Both drivers went very well, the team worked a lot in Maranello to bring the performance back a higher level:
"Taking pole position in Monza, in front of a full crowd for the first time in two years, is a really special feeling. We dedicate this achievement to all our tifosi who never waver in their support for us. Charles did a very good job, because once again he put together the perfect lap. Carlos also went very well, putting in similar times to his team-mate and playing the slipstream game. We had already done the same in France and Belgium and getting it right requires great understanding between the drivers. Since the last few races, we have worked hard in Maranello to get back to the highest performance level and, thanks to everyone’s efforts, today’s result is a first step in the right direction. Of course, it’s only Saturday and the points are given out tomorrow. We know it won’t be easy to keep the lead and bring home the win, because we have seen that Max (Verstappen) is capable of winning starting from the back and so far, Mercedes has always been quicker in the race than in qualifying. Now, we are concentrating on preparing for the race, with the aim of producing the same pace as we have shown in qualifying".
Max Verstappen is happy with his session, commenting how strong the Ferraris seemed all weekend. Starting seventh he will try to make his way through the grid with only the victory as goal:
"I think qualifying went well. The Ferraris have looked strong all weekend, so we knew it would be close today. We set up the car for the race, opting for a little bit more downforce; over one qualifying lap it wasn’t the best, but I think tomorrow it will be strong. Regardless, we were still quite close so that’s a positive. It will be an interesting battle tomorrow; I’ll try and stay out of trouble and just make my way forward. We won’t be taking any crazy risks though, I know that we don’t need to win every race from now until the end of the season but if I clear all the cars in front of me, then I will of course go for the win".
Sergio Perez is also confident for tomorrow. Regardless the fact that the pace was not excellent and there is still some work to be done about it in order to be ready for race, he believes it should not be a problem closing the gap with Ferrari:
"It is still a good result today and we can fight for it tomorrow. With the race pace we have, we can close up the gap, so I am looking forward to it. It wasn’t a great lap for me, but it didn’t feel bad either, now we need to maximise for tomorrow and focus. We knew the Ferraris were going to be very fast around here so their result wasn’t much of a surprise. I think in the race they will also be strong. We are lacking a bit of pace at the moment so there are a few things to review from today before the race - we have to make the most of what I have. The DRS straights can be very painful around here, you can sit for a couple of laps and that can impact your race a lot. It will be difficult to pass, you must have a good strategy and use your pace properly, that will be very important to progress".
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal and CEO, points out that according to expectations the Ferraris have been very strong. He also emphasizes how it was strategic to take penalty here despite the difficult of overtake, but considering next rounds it has been certainly the right decision. The grid is very mixed so it will be interesting to see who will be able to make the best strategy choices:
"We knew in qualifying Ferrari would be particularly strong and that proved to be the case. We had to compromise qualifying slightly to give the drivers a better race car tomorrow, so we’ll see if that trade pays off. I think it’s still tricky to overtake here, Spa for sure is the easiest to overtake, but theoretically we should be able to get into an overtaking position although it’s certainly not going to be straight forward. We’ve strategically taken the penalties at the best race we can considering where we are in the season as we didn’t want to do it at Singapore or Japan given the difficulty in overtaking. We have a strong race car though, so hopefully we can make some good progress tomorrow. A mixed up grid could mean a very exciting race tomorrow, we’ve taken two sets of new softs - so have Ferrari and it will be fascinating to see how that plays out".
For the 7-times World Champion Lewis Hamilton, today’s performance was not the best. Tomorrow's race seems tough given the not excellent pace and the car train that will be in front of him starting nineteenth:
"It was an okay session from my side but not my best. Today, we are off the pace of the frontrunners so there wasn't much more I could do - it's at these low downforce levels that we seem to be less competitive, and to lose pace relative to the teams around us. It's going to be tough for us tomorrow starting from the back because the DRS effect is not big, and I expect a lot of cars will be running in DRS trains. So, it could be a frustrating day for us - but I will try to keep positive and give it everything I've got".
On the other hand, George Russell will start second behind Leclerc. Aware that it will be difficult to keep up with the Ferrari’s pace and Verstappen coming behind, he hopes for some good battles:
"Q1 started off well, just a few tenths behind Ferrari, and I hoped that was where we were going to be - then the session just ran away from us to be honest, and I ended up 1.4 seconds away. We took a risk on the final run to save a set of new Soft tyres for tomorrow, and I'm pleased that neither Lando nor Fernando jumped us, as that was ultimately the fight for P2 on the grid tomorrow. Looking to the race, we need to focus on ourselves - it will be hard to keep Max behind, Charles is starting in front, then we have Sergio, Carlos and Lewis coming from the back. We need to run our own race, focus on staying in the podium positions and put up a good fight".
Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ Team Principal, admits that the session was worse than expected in terms of maximizing the car performance, but hopes that tomorrow with Russell starting in the front row they can have some good opportunities, also confident that Lewis can make a good climb through the grid:
"Overall, that session was probably a little worse than we had hoped for - not in terms of our final positions, which were probably our maximum today, but with respect to the gap to the front of the grid. We started the weekend well and haven't been able to continue that momentum through the weekend - and on the flip side, Ferrari did an awesome job here in qualifying. I guess the positive point is that George will start from P2 - even though he was complaining of poor grip from the tyres on his timed laps. Lewis obviously goes to the back row with his engine penalty, so we will need a strong recovery tomorrow if we hope to get to the points. We knew coming into this weekend that this wouldn't be a great track for us, but I hope that we can continue our trend of better race pace than single lap and maximise our opportunities in the race".
Andrew Shovlin explains that the team took a risk with the tyres but despite everything, thanks to the bunch of penalties, Russell will start 2nd. But the car has been a bit subdued compared to past weekends, so it's hard to figure out what to expect tomorrow:
"Considering all the penalties across the grid we've ended up in the best position we realistically could with George on the front row. We took a bit of a risk by saving a set of his new tyres on the final run in qualifying, we didn't realise it would be quite that tight when we made the call but luckily his first run was good enough for P6 which means he inherits P2 for tomorrow and we still have a new set of softs available. The car has been a bit of a handful this weekend, more reminiscent of Spa than of Zandvoort, but our long runs this morning were stronger than in FP2 and we have a bit better handle on where to position the balance for the race. It's difficult to know what to expect tomorrow; so many cars are out of position, and this is a race that rarely passes without incidents. Hopefully with George we've got the pace to stay up front and with Lewis it is a recovery race which will depend on how easily we can overtake the slower cars and how well we can manage the tyres compared to our competitors".
McLaren driver Lando Norris is very satisfied with today's qualifying lap, hoping to be able to earn a few points tomorrow:
"Very happy with today. Very happy. I think it was the best we could have achieved. We were so close to being ahead of the Mercedes but to not be far behind is also a very good achievement. A few people have grid penalties tomorrow, so that gives us a better position. Hopefully we can take advantage of that, have a clean race and get some good points".
Daniel Ricciardo finally returns to make an appearance in Q3. He still has some problems with the car feeling but tomorrow he will try to put everything together hoping that the car will be as fast as today:
"I’m happy with Q3, happy to be up the pointy end again. It’s been a while, so I'm pleased with that. The Q3 lap was certainly a bit of a handful, just trying to get those last few tenths out of it. It still is tricky for me to feel the car on the limit and know what’s going to be around the corner - but I was happy with Q1 and Q2, I think I put in some good laps. We gain some spots on the starting grid due to penalties tomorrow. We’ve ended qualifying in a better place than where we’ve been this weekend, so I'm happy to put it together. I think we made some good changes, so hopefully we have a fast race car".
Very happy with the work done today is definitely Andreas Seidl, Mclaren’s Team Principal. Both drivers improved and demonstrated to be competitive maximizing everything they could and earning great positions to start:
"An excellent job by the whole team, Daniel and Lando delivering P7 and P8 in qualifying at Monza today. With support from home, the team at the track worked hard together with both drivers to continuously improve the car over the course of the three practice sessions here, delivering a competitive package in qualifying. They put the cars in the right places on track, giving Lando and Daniel the opportunity to maximise their laps when it mattered. When all the penalties are applied, we will start the Italian Grand Prix towards the front of the grid. This is a good starting position and, while we are aware of the challenges over a race distance, we feel well prepared and ready for a great Italian Grand Prix in front of a magnificent crowd".
For Fernando Alonso the Q3 was a bit disappointing, his lap was in fact deleted for track limits and in general, the performance was not great:
"It’s a little disappointing to finish tenth in Q3 today. My last lap time was also deleted for track limits, which I’m told was good enough for eighth position before the penalties were applied to others. On the whole, we seemed to be lacking a little performance in Qualifying compared to the rest of the weekend. The car has felt good and seems strong on race pace, but we have to be mindful of several fast cars starting behind us. We’ve scored points in ten races in a row, so let’s make it eleven tomorrow”.
Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s Team Principal, also points out how the performance was not the best. Ocon will have a 5-place penalty, Alonso on the other side has managed to do a pretty decent qualifying but failed to give more:
"We’ve missed a good opportunity in Qualifying today and so we are a little disappointed in our performance. Esteban will take a new ICE in his power unit and will have a five-place grid penalty, which, in the grand scheme of things and with others doing the same, has worked out quite well as he will start in a competitive position. Fernando has looked strong all weekend and he will be frustrated not to have converted that pace into Qualifying to start higher up on the grid. That said, he will start well inside the top ten and he will have every chance to come away with strong points in the race. Tomorrow is race day and, over the past couple of Grands Prix, we’ve shown that our race car is competitive, so the aim is to return with both cars inside the points".
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly has managed to enter Q3. Convinced that he can gain more seconds and make the most of the car, he is ready for tomorrow race:
"Overall, I am very pleased to make it into Q3. There was still some sliding in the high-speed corners, so I couldn’t fully commit, but the track is amazing to drive. We made some changes after yesterday and they seem to have paid off, but there is still more to get out of the car for tomorrow. There are some faster cars starting behind us tomorrow, due to a number of drivers having penalties, but we’ve seen that it might be more difficult to overtake in the race compared to past years, because the slipstream effect is less with the new cars. Our aim is to stay in the points and, as we’ve seen in the past, anything can happen here".
Over the course of the weekend, as Jody Egginton, Technical Director of AlphaTauri, explains, the team have collected a lot of data that have allowed them to figure out what to do to improve the car. Given Tsunoda's penalty, the goal of the team was to maximize the opportunities of Gasly who despite the track limits and some mistakes has managed to enter Q3. Even Tsunoda has showed a strong pace over the weekend, even though it will be difficult for him to make his way up along the grid, the team is confident both drivers can earn some points:
"We gathered a good amount of tyre and aero data from Friday on both sides of the garage, so we had a good view on which way we needed to go to improve the car and the set-ups converged overnight. FP3 went smoothly today, with further data being gathered on all three tyre compounds and both sides of the garage heading into Qualifying in reasonable shape. Both cars navigated Q1 fairly easily, but given Yuki's penalties, once he was safely into Q2, there was no major incentive for him to make further runs. So, the focus shifted to maximising Pierre's opportunities. Following his first run, the expectation was that making the cut to Q3 was possible with a clean second run. However, as it turned out the cut-off was closer than anticipated, with some gravel on track at Turn 5 costing some lap time, but fortunately he made the cut for Q3. It’a shame that on his push Q3 lap track limits were exceeded at T6, meaning Pierre's best lap time was deleted and a position was lost to Ricciardo. However, with numerous PU penalties to be applied across the grid, we currently expect to be starting 6th tomorrow. We go into tomorrow's race with both cars looking reasonably competitive in the midfield, Pierre is well placed to fight for points and Yuki, although further back, has shown strong pace here so far this weekend and should move forward if we can find some clean air for him".
On Sunday, Semptember 11, 2022, it is time for the Italian Grand Prix, held on the Temple of Speed, 100 years after Monza was constructed. It begins with a solemn moment of silence for the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with the drivers and the team members lined up in the pit lane to pay their respects. After this, everyone go to their place on the grid: a lot of drivers have penalties, so the order established in qualifying will not be followed. Charles Leclerc starts on pole in Ferrari’s home race, ahead of George Russell. The two McLarens are on the second row and Max Verstappen seventh. For his debut Nyck de Vries is P8 on the grid, while Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon start from 13th and 14th, and Carlos Sainz is P18, Lewis Hamilton P19, and Yuki Tsunoda the last. Five drivers - Leclerc, Russell, Verstappen, de Vries, and Ocon - start on brand-new soft tyres, while the rest of the field is on mediums. Lights out, and Russell does a very good launch, trying to move around the outside of Leclerc into Turn 1, but avoiding a disaster rejoining in second. Verstappen makes immediately up three places, while Lando Norris falls to seventh before retaking a place off Fernando Alonso. Hamilton goes through the escape road at Turn 1 to avoid a potential collision; Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas make slight contact. On lap 2, Verstappen is already into the podium places, passing Daniel Ricciardo, who goes late on the brakes into the opening chicane. Behind, the Aston Martins battle for P10 and go wheel to wheel, while Sainz and Perez engage an interesting fight for P15. The Ferrari driver passes Perez and the Haas of Magnussen for P13 by lap 4, when Verstappen is closely following Russell for P2. The Red Bull driver overtakes him at the start of lap 5 going into the first chicane, while Leclerc is in the lead with 2.1 seconds of detachment. Sainz is now into the top 10, having also passed Stroll at the start of lap 6, while Perez is now P13 in front of Ocon. In the midfield, there is a DRS train which goes from Ricciardo in P4 to Sainz in P10. Verstappen is following Leclerc for the lead, and Perez enters the pits to swap his mediums for hards on lap 8; brake smoke is out of his right-front tyre, and then there is a brief spit of flames. The Mexican is told to move his brake bias rearwards to cool his discs, while Sainz passes Zhou Guanyu and de Vries for P8, then Alonso for P7 on lap 10.
The Spanish driver also passes Lando Norris with ease and on lap 12 he pries P5 off Pierre Gasly. Suddenly, Sebastian Vettel stops his Aston Martin on the side on the run to Ascari with a loss of power: he retires at the circuit on which he clinched his very-first Grand Prix victory back in 2008. A Virtual Safety Car is deployed to recover the stationary car. Leclerc agrees with his pit wall that a stop for mediums during the VSC is the right choice, but when he is emerging from the pit lane, the the VSC is rescinded. He emerges third, ahead of Ricciardo, while Verstappen is now leading and is told by the team that it will be hard for Leclerc to continue with mediums until the end of the race. Sainz do not want to pit during the VSC, and takes P4 off Ricciardo, who is now closely followed by Gasly, who has then to skip through Turn 1 and give the McLaren the place back. Ricciardo is all over the place, says the AlphaTauri driver. The Ferrari pit wall tell Leclerc not to short-shift on the exit of corners, but he says that he cannot do such a thing and implores his team to make sure the engine doesn’t fail on him. Verstappen extends his advantage over Russell to seven seconds, while Alonso and Norris battle for P7: the Briton easily retakes the place from the Spaniard, while de Vries stalks both in order to take points on his debut, but he is given a black-and-white flag for exceeding track limits. Gasly opens the pit window on lap 19, pitting for hards, and is followed by Zhou and Stroll. Ricciardo, de Vries, Ocon, and Tsunoda stop a lap later, while Sainz, who is losing time on his starting set of mediums, now asks the pit wall to let him change tyres. Russell pit for hards on lap 24, but his stop is slow and he emerges in P4, behind Sainz but ahead of Norris. Hamilton gains on Alonso for P6, with Perez a few seconds back. Verstappen’s lead is now 13 seconds, so chooses to pit on lap 26 to mount the mediums and emerges in second. Hamilton finally passes Alonso for P6, while Russell struggles with the pace of his hard tyres, but still gains eight-tenths per lap on Sainz. Leclerc is losing time to Verstappen with the lap ticker reaching 30 of 53. The lead over Russell is of 1.8s, while Sainz finally pits for softs on lap 31 and emerges in P8 behind Perez. One lap later, Alonso goes into the pits with a power unit issue and is forced to retire. The lead then changes again as Leclerc pits for softs to emerge in P2, 20 seconds behind Verstappen and 2.5s ahead of Russell, while Sainz has just passed Perez for P6 into Turn 4.
Hamilton pits from P7 to emerge on softs in P12, with a DRS train which is passing. The Briton quickly passes Zhou for P11 and de Vries for P10. Norris stops on lap 36 and emerges behind Ricciardo, but Hamilton goes past Norris and Gasly to take P7. Hamilton also passes Ricciardo for P6 on lap 38 and Norris does the same, taking P7 and now going in chase of the Mercedes. On lap 41 Lance Stroll goes into the pits annd retire, so double retirement for Aston Martin. With 10 laps remaining, Perez pits to swap his hard compounds for softs; he loses the track position to Hamilton and Norris, as he emerges seventh. Verstappen’s lead seems assured: he is 17 seconds ahead of Leclerc with 10 laps left, while Sainz is 10 seconds behind Russell in the chase for the final podium spot. De Vries attempts to hold off Zhou in the place for the final point and manages to break out of DRS range of the Alfa Romeo, and get within DRS range of the AlphaTauri of Gasly ahead. On lap 47 the podium seemed assured, but Daniel Ricciardo comes to a halt ahead of the second Lesmo, triggering the Safety Car and allowing the top four to stop for soft tyres. Sainz takes new softs while Verstappen, Leclerc and Russell have to take scrubbed softs. The field only lines up behind the Safety Car on lap 51 of 53, with a number of lapped cars in the middle. It is soon clear that the race will end under caution, and Verstappen wins his first-ever Italian Grand Prix. Leclerc is angry for the missed restart, and the fans are not particularly happy either. The Monegasque ends in P2, with Russell third ahead of Sainz in P4. Hamilton do not pit under the Safety Car and finishes fifth ahead of Perez. Norris ends up seventh having pitted under that late caution, with Gasly’s one-stop strategy from mediums to hards seeing him finish eighth. De Vries is elected Driver of the Day for taking P9 on his first F1 race, despite the medium tyres were suffering towards the end of the race. Alpine ends without points, while Mick Schumacher makes an impressive late pass on Nicholas Latifi and finishes 12th ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with back-of-grid starter Yuki Tsunoda ending the race in P14. Latifi finishes ahead of Magnussen, who has a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage on lap 1 and finishes 16th. With his first podium and victory at Monza, Verstappen looks at the next race in Singapore knowing he can mathematically clinch his second drivers’ title there. The field will run the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on October 2. Max Verstappen won the 31st career Grand Prix and equaled British driver Nigel Mansell's number of wins in the category, bringing him within one victory of Spaniard Alonso.
For the World Champion, who had never triumphed or reached the podium in the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza National Circuit, and who had never scored five consecutive victories since his debut in the category in the 2015 season, the longest streak of his career, it is the eleventh success of the season, surpassing the number of total successes he achieved in the previous championship in which he won the drivers' title. With six races remaining, the driver standings leader can still beat the record held by the two Germans Vettel and Michael Schumacher, both of whom were able to win 13 races in a world championship. Verstappen wins the race starting from the seventh different position in a single season, extending the record he had already broken during the Belgian Grand Prix. For Red Bull Racing, it is the twelfth victory in the season, the fifth in a row, and the eighty-seventh overall in its history, in its third victory in total at the Italian Grand Prix for the first time since the 2013 edition with Vettel, powered at the time by Renault engines. For the Milton Keynes-based stable, it is thus the first podium finish at the Monza circuit in the turbo-hybrid era that began in the 2014 season. For Leclerc it is the 20th podium in his career. Ferrari's Monegasque driver gets two consecutive podiums after finishing third in the previous Dutch Grand Prix for the first time since the first three races of the championship. Russell, third, gets his seventh podium finish of the year, while for Mercedes it was the thirteenth podium finish of the season without a win, a new record in the category. The British driver, who gets fifteen finishes in the top five positions in sixteen races of the season, is now seven lengths behind the third place in the driver standings occupied by Pérez, who, finishing sixth with in addition the additional point of the fastest lap, gets points at the Monza circuit for the ninth consecutive season. Sainz Jr., who started 18th, finished fourth, failing to make the podium after Ferrari's lowest-ever start for a driver who later made the podium was Argentine José Froilán González and Italian Umberto Maglioli's 13th-place finish in the 1954 edition. The Maranello stable is the first team in the history of the world championship to surpass 10.000 points scored in its history. Hamilton finished fifth after starting 19th in what was his best result in the Italian Grand Prix since the 2019 edition, where he finished third. Norris, seventh, fails in the feat of winning two consecutive podiums in Grand Prix races run in Italy, as he did in the previous season. The Briton finishes seventh in five of the last six races, and is also seventh in the drivers' standings.
Gasly, eighth, scores points for only the second time in the last eight races, while rookie de Vries, ninth, and who had driven for Aston Martin in place of Vettel during Friday's first free practice session, becomes the 67th driver in world championship history to score points on a Grand Prix debut in the category, the first to do so driving for Williams since German Nico Rosberg's seventh-place finish in the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix. Nick de Vries equals Williams' season-best finish by Albon in the first Miami Grand Prix. Zhou, tenth, ends a six-race streak without scoring points, the longest for any team. Both Alpine's with Ocon 11th and Alonso retired score no points for only the second time this season, in another race contested Italy, after what happened in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. The Spaniard ends a ten-race points streak in what was the 349th Grand Prix he has taken part in in Formula 1, equaling the record number of races held in the category held by Finland's Kimi Räikkönen. Stroll is retired for the first time this season after being ranked in all previous Grand Prix races of the year prior to this race, including 16th in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix for completing 90 percent of the race distance. Winner Verstappen leads the drivers' standings by the highest margin ever over second-placed Leclerc, who is 116 points behind. It is also the widest gap ever in the history of the world championship when there are six Grands Prix to go. Verstappen can win his second consecutive drivers' world championship in the following Singapore Grand Prix. For the first time since the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix when Robert Doornbos raced for Red Bull Racing and Christijan Albers for the former Midland stable, the race featured two Dutch drivers, world champion Verstappen and rookie de Vries. For the 13th time in Formula 1 history, the race ended under the safety car regime. The two most recent occasions occurred in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix and the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. After the race is over, 14 times are cancelled by the stewards to drivers for not respecting the track limits, during the race. Among them, Nyck de Vries (twice at Turn 7 and once at Turn 10), Kevin Magnussen (once at Turn 7 and once at Turn 10), Lando Norris (at Turn 2), Pierre Gasly (at Turn 2), Max Verstappen (at Turn 7), Mick Schumacher (at Turn 7), Fernando Alonso (at Turn 5), Lance Stroll (at Turn 7), Sergio Pérez (at Turn 7), Carlos Sainz Jr. (at Turn 7) and Daniel Ricciardo (at Turn 7). Max Verstappen managed to recover from the seventh position, and extending his first stint thanks to low tyre degradation, found himself leading and cruised to a fifth straight victory, the first in Monza:
"The first lap I had to be careful, but we had a good start and were clean through the first chicane, and for me that was the most important thing, to stay out of trouble. Then we were very quickly back up to P3 and even into P2. Then I could set my sights on Charles and I could see we had better tyre degradation. Overall, if you look at the pace of our car this weekend, especially today, I think we were strong. The pace was good on every tyre and we were comfortably the quickest on the track. You have to try and be as perfect as you can be and on most occasions this season, we have been pretty good".
Sergio Perez had a worse weekend. A brake duct overheated, so he pitted early and mounted the hard compound tyre, which made his race more difficult also by managing those brakes which were briefly on fire:
"My race got compromised fairly early when my front right brake disk got super-hot and was basically on fire, so we had to make the decision to pitstop. The first laps on the hard I couldn’t get any temperature into the tyres, because I had to lift and coast. I was losing a lot of lap time and my first stint was compromised. That affected my whole race and I had to massively manage my brakes. It was critical at that point, because I could have lost them and had to retire the car. In the end we boxed thinking we could get Lewis back on the softs, but unfortunately the Safety Car meant we didn’t get the chance. I had better tyres than Lewis, so it would have been good to get the restart, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. For me it wasn’t a good weekend and we have plenty to do. I’m back on the simulator tomorrow and trying to get back into a good rhythm straight away".
Christian Horner is happy for the team’s performance:
"We would have liked to have seen the race play out today, we certainly didn’t want to win under a Safety Car. We believe there was enough time to get the race going, but the Safety Car picked up George Russell, which delayed proceedings. Despite that, we believe we had enough pace in hand on the one-stop strategy. Checo had to pit early because there was a flat spot, a lot of vibration, then a bit of debris got into the ducts which caused a small fire, but his recovery from there was great. Fastest lap for Checo too, so important points for him and the team. Max was yet again so impressive, even if they had the fastest car, I’m not sure if anyone could stop Max today. The whole team has been performing at such a high level all season and our performance all weekend has been brilliant. We know we compromised quali slightly yesterday, but it paid off. More challenges lie ahead with Singapore and beyond, so we look forward to that. Ultimately it was a somber race for obvious reasons, but we are happy we could bring home the win with Her Majesty’s insignia on the nose of the car and we dedicate the victory to the life and memory of HRH, Queen Elizabeth II".
Charles Leclerc lead the first stages of the race, until being called in early under a VSC which left him on a two-stop strategy. He could not try to catch his Vesrtappen due to the Dutch’s advantage and the late Safety Car:
"Monza is always incredible. Starting from pole, I did want to take the win. However, that’s not how it went today. Seeing our tifosi under the podium made it a lot better. Our pace was good and we have to keep in mind that our expectations for this track were not very high. We worked a lot throughout the practice sessions to secure pole, which was a nice surprise. We have made some positive progress and were more competitive this weekend, so I am looking forward to be back racing in Singapore".
Good race for Sainz who climbed through the field early on. He could gain the last podium place, but the late Safety Car neutralised the race:
"A good race! I felt comfortable right from the start, overtaking cars nearly every lap and climbing to P4 very early on. After pitting for the Soft tyre I was closing the gap to Russell quickly and I would have had a chance to battle with him for P3 at the end. Even when the Safety Car came out, I would have had a great opportunity at the restart with my new set of Softs, but unfortunately the race finished as it did and neither scenario happened. I’m happy with the performance and the comeback, but looking at our pace I was hoping to be on the podium in front of all the tifosi. Thanks to everyone for such great support today. We will continue to push until the end of the year".
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s Team Principal, admit the faster pace of the Red Bull, but is satisfied of their result:
"I believe our performance this weekend was better than that reflected in the final outcome. After a great qualifying in front of all our tifosi, in the race we tried to make the most of every opportunity, opting to be aggressive with both drivers. Overall, finishing second and fourth is a good result, although there is naturally a sense of regret at not bringing home the win after starting from pole. However, today, Max (Verstappen) was simply quicker than us. Regarding our performance, there is the awareness that we have made progress compared to the last few races. However, it’s not enough, as there is still work to do when it comes to our performance on Sunday and tyre degradation”.
He is proud of meeting the Italian President of the Republic, who visited the Ferrari garage:
“There was a significant moment just before the race, when the President of the Republic visited our garage. Sergio Mattarella represents all Italians and Italy and it was nice to see the mechanics welcome him with a round of applause, as a mark of thanks for all his efforts and dedication towards our country".
Russell did not manage to keep Verstappen behind, but then with a one-stop strategy looked to have enough pace on hards to hold Sainz at bay in the fight for the final podium spot:
"Unfortunately, this weekend we were not where we wanted to be as a team - but like I said on the radio, it doesn't matter if we are fast or slow, we keep getting these podium finishes. Over this triple header, two of the three weekends have been very difficult, and I've still come away with two podiums and a P4, so we've got to be satisfied with that. Looking at today's race, we had to do something different if we wanted to fight with Max and Charles, so we went for the Hard tyre at the stop, but they were just too quick. That's all we could do in our position. Now we have some weeks to recharge, regroup as a team and prepare for the final part of this season, so we can take every opportunity that comes our way".
Lewis Hamilton ran a long first stint to get into the points and then with soft tyres he gained the fifth position:
"This morning, the team said anywhere between sixth and fourth was possible. That always feel like a stretch when you're looking ahead at the race - but I had a lot of fun working my way to P5. The beginning was a struggle, with a heavy fuel load and the tyres overheating in traffic, but then we started to make progress as the race unfolded - and I had some fun after the stops working through the traffic. At the end, we stayed out to keep the position on track and it might have been a tough battle if the race restarted, so I'm glad it finished the way it did! Overall, we knew this was going to be a tough weekend with the engine penalty, so I'm pleased to come away with a P5 finish and to have pulled everything out of the car. This wasn't our best track but we did everything we could as a team, and I hope we have some stronger weekends ahead before the end of the season".
Toto Wolff is satisfied of the results achieved, especially on a track that didn't suit them:
"We were clearly the third fastest team today, so third and fifth positions was probably the maximum we could expect. Although the gaps were not as big as in Spa, this was clearly a track that didn't suit us, so it was a question of maximising our result and doing damage limitation with Lewis. It was enjoyable to watch him fight through the pack - he looked a little bit stuck at the beginning, then once the tyres came together, he was very quick. As for George, he did everything we asked of him, and it was another faultless drive. Looking at the championship, we are 35 points behind with six races to go and we just need to do our best every single week and see where we land after Abu Dhabi. But we also know that our ultimate target was 30 seconds up the road today, and that is the real gap we need to catch up. Finally, a word for Nyck: he did the absolute maximum today, jumping into a car he had barely driven in FP3, then scoring two points. It showed exactly what he is capable of".
Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin explains the problems of the cars and the improvements the team need to make in order to fight with Ferrari for the second place in the Constructors’ Championship:
"Looking at Spa and Monza, the car clearly struggles at the lower downforce levels so to come away with and podium for George and fifth for Lewis having started on the back row is a solid result. The weekend has been tough, we've lacked corner entry stability at the rear end which had meant the car was a bit of a handful on the single lap. The gaps in the race were a bit better but it was still impossible to do anything on strategy that would have put George better than third. With hindsight fitting the hard on his car at the first stop was a mistake but he did a good job with it and would have kept Carlos at arm's length had the race finished without the safety car. Lewis had a tough start to the race getting bogged down in a train of midfield cars but kept attacking and once he got into clear air, was able to put in some good laps and clear the lot. Towards the end of the race, we weren't pulling in Sergio fast enough to catch but once they stopped it gave us a bonus position and it looked like we'd hold onto it but once the safety car came out that was guaranteed. Triple headers are never easy for the team and this one has been particularly tough, but we hope to perform better in the closing races. The battle with Ferrari for second place gives us a good goal to work towards in the final part of the season, so we'll be using the next two weeks to prepare as it's going to be a tough finish with six races in eight weeks".
Good start for Daniel Ricciardo, who ran third in the early stages. He pitted early to cover off Gasly’s undercut and at the end an oil leak forced his retirement:
"It was nice to start at the front and get a decent start. Lando looked like he had a poor start so I got ahead of him and it was nice to be in third there, but I saw quickly Max (Verstappen) was right behind me and he was obviously on another level. I was just trying to set a rhythm in fourth, but we weren’t quick enough. I felt like I was doing a good job to hold off Gasly but didn’t have much more to show than that. It was a busy race, trying to hold on, do what I could and then yeah, felt like we got a little bit of a rhythm on the Hards with 10-15 laps to go but then the engine just switched off out of Turn Six. I had to pull over straight away because it was stuck in gear and so I couldn’t roll to a safe place. It would have been nice to get some points but it wasn’t meant to be today".
Norris struggled with anti-stall at the start. His teammate’s early pit stop made him go for a long first stint, then he pitted for soft tyres and finished seventh:
"A good day. Very happy with the result in the end. The pace was very strong today. We should have finished P5 or P6 but we lost several positions with an issue at the start, which compromised our race. Tough, especially on a day when we could have scored some really good points. However, there’s a lot of positives coming out of this weekend. Some strong things to try to carry on to next time. So, we’ll keep working hard and try to maintain this momentum for the next few races".
Andreas Seidl, McLaren’s Team Principal, explains that they had the pace, but Ricciardo’s retiremen was not ideal for the fight with Alpine for the fourth place:
"Mixed feelings today in Monza. The positive side is that the pace we had this weekend and throughout the race was very encouraging, particularly given warm weather and a low-downforce configuration haven’t favoured us in the past. On the other hand, a retirement for Daniel is disappointing, costing us valuable points in the Constructors’ Championship after he had a very strong weekend, both yesterday in qualifying and also today in the race. P7 for Lando, however, confirms us as the fourth-fastest team this weekend. That comes from hard work from the entire team, here and back at home, together with our colleagues at Mercedes HPP. A break now of two weekends before we head to Singapore. While work on next year’s car continues at pace, in parallel we’ll use this time to analyse all the data we’ve collected over the triple-header and see how we can take further steps with the car as we head into the final six races of the season. We go again".
Gasly ran in the points for most of the race. Despite an early move on Ricciardo which didn’t come off, he managed to keep a train of cars behind:
"Looking at the result, finishing behind the top three teams is the best we could have done, and I am very happy to be collecting points again. It was a slightly frustrating race, I think I’ll have nightmares about Ricciardo’s rear wing for the next few nights, we tried a few different things to try and pass him and our overall performance was competitive, but we just didn’t have the pace to get past the Mclarens today. We’ll now prepare for Singapore, we know what we need to work on, how to improve, and we’ll aim to continue finishing in the points".
Yuki Tsunoda started last and did not manage to climb back to the top 10:
"Starting last on the grid was always going to be difficult today, but I think the start of the race was good for me and I was able to make some overtakes. I struggled with the pace on the Hards, so we need to go away and look at our long-run pace and try and improve this for the upcoming races".
Jody Egginton, Technical Director, continues:
"It’s good to come away with points today, with Pierre driving a solid race. At the same time, it’s frustrating that with Yuki we could not turn the strong performance he has shown here into a representative grid position and a better fight for points, due to penalties. Regarding Pierre’s race, the fight with the McLarens was good, but with two against one and Ricciardo proving tricky to pass, the McLaren strategy created some breathing space for Norris, which we could not recover, meaning we came home in P8 with Pierre. In summary, it’s good to be scoring points again, but we need to be getting both cars up there in order to improve our Constructors’ position, so obviously this is one of the key areas to be focused on".
Franz Tost, Team Principal, in satisfied with the few important points the team scored for their fight with Haas in the Constructors' Championship:
"The fans, and the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of this historic track, didn’t deserve the race to finish the way it did today, as it would’ve been fantastic to see a fight on the last few laps, but unfortunately, as Ricciardo stopped so late, in accordance with the regulations we had to finish the race behind the Safety Car. As for us, our race was reasonably good. Pierre started from fifth position and finished eighth, he struggled a little bit with understeer on the Hards, but generally speaking – and also considering the performance of the cars in front of us - this was the best possible finishing position we could achieve today. Yuki started from the back of the grid, therefore it was not so easy to overtake cars, nevertheless he managed to do this well. We called him in during the Safety Car for the Softs, as we thought he would have a good chance with the new tyres, if the race was restarted, but unfortunately this was not the case. He could only finish in P14, but in general, Yuki had a good race weekend. Overall, we scored four points here, which is positive as we have closed the gap to Haas in the Championship, so we now need to keep this momentum, from Singapore in a few weeks, until the end of the season".
Excellent performance by De Vries on his first Formula 1 race. He started eighth and held that position in the opening stages. He then switched to the medium tyre rather than the hard and from there ran to cross the line P9 and was elected Driver of the Day:
"I'm feeling really good about today and think it was crucial to get the start right and a clean run into lap one. I got into a DRS train which helped to stick with the pack, however I think the pace was really good and we made a good call on strategy and tyre management. Driver of the day makes me so happy and I'm very pleased and thankful that I got given the opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands. It was a great day for the team and whilst grid penalties played in our favour, ultimately, we did a great race so I'm very happy for everyone in the team and for myself. Hopefully I will get a shot next year, but this is definitely a dream come true and I'm very impressed with what we've done in short notice, so I'll go enjoy it now".
Tough race for Nicholas Latifi who at the start was sandwiched between a few cars and had then a slow pit-stop:
"A very tough race. I was compromised at the start being sandwiched between a few cars and trying to avoid damage. A lot of cars cut the first corner without any penalties. Unfortunately, we had a slow pit-stop which left us with very little to play for in the race. The aim was to maintain the position we started in and we had a fighting chance, but it wasn't meant to be. We were fast in a straight line, but we struggled with braking and carrying speed through the corners. We'll look to bounce back in Singapore in a few weeks".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, described the team’s performance:
"Nyck drove an excellent race today and was able to defend when required as well as keeping constant pressure on the cars ahead. We gave him an ambitious strategy which would push his Soft and Medium tyres to the limit. The late safety car offered some protection in the final laps and also helped him manage a hot front brake disc. However, he got himself into that position by driving extremely well, managing the start and the pit stop expertly and by fighting hard using a car and setup that he had only driven for 34 laps yesterday. He did no high fuel running prior to the laps to the grid and had never driven a full stint on these tyres in racing conditions. The work that he and his team put in overnight was excellent and he deserved this result. Nicholas had a tricky start to the race, losing out at the first chicane before mounting a good recovery showing decent pace on the Hard tyre to get back into the fight with Stroll and Tsunoda, Schumacher and Bottas. Unfortunately, he couldn’t recover all the loss from the opening laps and finished in 15th. It was good to complete this triple header with another points finish and we can now enjoy some rest before we head to Singapore for the first of the flyaway races that will end the 2022 season".
Zhou finished tenth to gain his first point since Canada:
"I am really happy with today’s result and with the work that has been done in the past few weeks; it’s been a tough journey since Montreal, because we were very strong at the beginning of the season and then our performances had a dip; but being back in the points today is an amazing feeling, a great result both for the team and for Alfa Romeo. We knew we had a chance today, our pace was good and it allowed us to be in the fight with the other teams. We have a couple of weeks off now, which will give us time to rest after the triple-header and, above all, to analyze what worked this weekend and what went wrong in the previous races, to come prepared and motivated ahead of the next ones. I am looking forward to the Asian double-header, as the races will be closer to home and there will be several fans coming to support me".
Valtteri Bottas started down the back after grid penalties and did not managed to recover in order to score points and ended thirteen:
"We had good pace today, so it’s disappointing not to be in the points: in the end, my race was compromised at turn one when I was hit from behind and I hit the car ahead. I had damage to the front wing, having lost the endplate, and then the car went into antistall: before I could get back going, I had lost a lot of ground and I was last. The car was clearly good, as I was able to make a decent recovery, but the damage still made it quite tricky: at least, the team got a point with Zhou so we have something to show for today. I’m looking forward to the mini-break ahead of us now, before we go full push for the end of the season. We know we can score points and I really want to finish the year in a stronger place than we are now".
Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, describes this weekend as positive for the team:
"We had a positive weekend as a team, and the point we brought home with Zhou is a good reward. We had pace from Friday onwards, including in Q1 where Zhou was in P6, but we still had to get the job done today. We fought well in the midfield, even though overtaking was hard, and didn’t really do mistakes with Zhou so we could maximise our returns from the race. Unfortunately, Valtteri’s day was compromised by the damage he suffered at the start, but the key takeaway here is our performance: if we carry it over to the next rounds, we can aim to bring home more points to our name".
Alpine did not go as expected. Ocon started outside the points and never managed to progress:
"It was a tricky race today and obviously it’s disappointing to finish just one position away from the points in the end. The car was performing well, and we had good race pace, which we weren’t able to show with traffic ahead. We’ll refocus and maximise everything for the remaining races from Singapore and onwards. I’m looking forward to a little break to recover from the triple header and fully prepare for the flyaway races where we’ll look to get both cars back into the points in our fight for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship".
Alonso lose out to Hamilton and Norris. Then, a water pressure issue forced him to retire:
"It was a challenging race today and we seemed to be finding it difficult to keep up with the cars ahead of us on the straights. We then had to retire the car with a suspected water pressure issue, but we still need to investigate why this happened. We were fighting inside the top ten and I was hoping we could see the chequered flag inside the points, but it wasn’t the case today. It’s been a long three weeks; the team has worked very hard and deserves a short break. The good news is that we are still ahead in the fight with McLaren for fourth, so we go to Singapore with the aim to be in the top ten again".
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer is disappointed for not having scored points for the first time after five straight races where the team had both cars in the top 10:
"We’re certainly disappointed not to have scored points at today’s Italian Grand Prix with Esteban narrowly missing out in eleventh and Fernando retiring from the race while in a competitive position. It looks like we lost water pressure on his car, which meant he had to stop, and we’ll do our normal investigations to find out the cause and the solution for the future. On Esteban’s side, he put himself into a strong position during his second stint - lapping one-second a lap quicker than those ahead - and would have been in contention for points before the final Safety Car at the end. It’s a pity the race did not end under a green flag, and I’m sure we can find better ways to improve the spectacle of racing in these kinds of scenarios. As a team, we should reflect on the positives and, if we look across the triple header, we’ve come away with 26 points, which is a good effort and very valuable for the championship. We’ll come back stronger for Singapore at the end of the month where we have further upgrades coming to the car".
Schumacher was initially behind his team mate and then had an entertaining fight with Latifi and managed to pass Tsunoda:
"Considering I haven’t really driven much this weekend and had a difficult qualifying, to then actually be close to the points - I think mentally already being in the points - it was a strong recovery. The Williams was super quick on the straights, even pulling away in the DRS so I had to get the move done somehow, and it was a decent one. Overall, we’re really happy about the performance we’ve shown, and we really were on a good course as everybody else was struggling on their tires and we were on a very good tire".
Kevin Magnussen suffered with car damage after a first lap moment with Bottas:
"I had contact at the beginning of the race in Turn 1 - I got hit from behind and the diffuser got damaged - and then from there we were slow. The damage was too much, and I don’t know exactly the impact it would’ve had, but nonetheless it wasn’t a great day. You always hope that the next race is going to be better. Singapore looks more suitable for our car so I’m looking forward to it".
Guenther Steiner knows that Monza was definitely not a track to suit Haas’ cars and he is not surprised that the team did not score any points:
"The thing about this race is basically we got done by the officials. Kevin had an incident at the start where he got shoved off and his diffuser was damaged. He got a penalty because he couldn’t stay on the racing line but with the rear wheels up it’s difficult to stay on the racing line - I don’t think the penalty is appropriate. I don’t think I need to discuss the end of the race because what happened, happened and it wasn’t handled how it should’ve been. Elsewhere, Mick did a fantastic job to get P12 considering his lack of time on track this weekend and our expected pace at this circuit".
Thanks to the grid penalties, the Aston Martin drivers had reasonable starting slots and ran in the points in the early stages. Then, Vettel retired with an ERS issue:
"Unfortunately, we had an issue with the ERS and we had to stop the car. I noticed a drop in power beforehand, and then I was told to pull off the circuit. Overall, this was just a tough weekend for us. I was hopeful for a decent race, but we struggled for pace and then had the problem that forced our retirement. The atmosphere was fantastic, however, so a huge thank you to the fans for their support this weekend".
Also Stroll was called to the pits later on to retire. It was the team’s first double DNF of the season:
"We had some issues with the car, so we decided to retire to look after the engine. It is a shame that we were not able to be more in the mix this weekend, but that is sometimes how it is in F1. We have to look at why it was so tricky for us on this track, and see what we can learn from that. I think we will be more competitive in Singapore, which is a completely different circuit to here, in a couple of weekends".
Mike Krack, Aston Martin’s Team Principal, concludes:
"Lance battled hard in the early laps, running as high as tenth, but we did not quite have the pace on this track layout and, as the race progressed, it became clear that points were out of reach. With 14 laps to go, we retired Lance’s car as a precaution to save engine mileage. Sebastian’s race was relatively short when he was forced to retire on lap 11 with a suspected ERS issue. He was losing power before smoke appeared and we asked him to stop the car. The focus now moves to Singapore at the end of this month - a circuit where we expect a more completive showing".
Marco Tronchetti Provera, Pirelli Chief Executive officier and vice chairman, talks about the part played by Pirelli in their home race and in motorsport in general:
"A celebration of Italian automotive technology and know-how. We are proud to play a prominent part in this celebration of Italian automotive technology and know-how at our home grand prix, on the occasion of Monza’s centenary and Pirelli’s 150 years. As well as also producing motorsport tyres at the cutting edge of technology for nearly 250 championships worldwide, we sustain culture and support the arts through Pirelli HangarBicocca in particular, so Pirelli wanted to mark this occasion with a unique trophy that has a direct relevance to the pinnacle of world motorsport. Many thanks to Patrick Tuttofuoco and Pirelli HangarBicocca for making it happen through an iconic artwork that perfectly links past and present".
Formula 1 will return in the first weekend of October with the Singapore Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Marina Bay, Singapore.