Verstappen and Leclerc battle for the lead at the Italian Grand Prix: F1 – live!

Yes, I ought to have listed these below, so please forgive me. We need something to be done about this because it makes no sense to have qualifying and for things to change so much thereafter – anyone got any ideas? Anyhow:

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Verstappen – Five-place grid penalty for power-unit component change
Ocon – Five-place grid penalty for power-unit component change
Perez – 10-place grid penalty for power-unit component change
Bottas – 15-place grid penalty due to multiple power-unit component changes
Magnussen – 15-place grid penalty due to multiple power-unit component changes
Schumacher – 15-place grid penalty due to power-unit component and gearbox changes
Hamilton – Start at back of grid due to multiple power-unit component changes
Sainz Jr – Start at back of grid due to multiple power-unit component changes (incurred twice), 10-place grid penalty for gearbox component changes
Tsunoda – Start at back of grid due to multiple power unit component changes, 10-place grid penalty for collecting five reprimands, three-place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags

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1 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

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2 George Russell (Mercedes)

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3 Lando Norris (McLaren-Mercedes)

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4 Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren-Mercedes)

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5 Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri-Red Bull)

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6 Fernando Alonso (Alpine-Renault)

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7 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

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8 Nyck de Vries (Williams-Mercedes)

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9 Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo-Ferrari)

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10 Nicholas Latifi (Williams-Mercedes)

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11 Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin-Mercedes)

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12 Lance Stroll (Aston martin-Mercedes)

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13 Sergio Pérez (Red Bull)

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14 Esteban Ocon (Alpine-Renault)

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15 Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo-Ferrari)

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16 Kevin Magnussen (Haas-Ferrari)

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17 Mick Schumacher (Haas-Ferrari)

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18 Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari)

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19 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

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20 Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri-Red Bull)

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After all the chicanery and controversy of last’s season’s denouement, things have quietened down this season – but the outcome looks like being the same: Max Verstappen winning the world championship. He leads the driver standings by 109 points from Sergio Pérez and, though he begins today from seventh on the grid following a penalty for a power-unit change, has won our last two races from 10th and 14th; good luck everyone else.

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The question, then, is whether Verstappen can go on to dominate, and though we won’t find that out any time soon, there’s plenty to entertain us in the meantime. Lewis Hamilton, still trying to sort his Mercedes, starts from the back row after multiple power-unit component changes, and has, in a sense, already started next season while, at the front, Charles Leclerc is under pressure to deliver for Ferrari and the tifosi and, behind him, George Russell is in the process of establishing himself as a serious force, likewise Lando Norris.

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So, we’ve plenty to go on – of course we have – and the special Monza atmosphere, Il Canto degli Italiani and all, will be an absolute treat. Siiiiiiiiii!

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Lights out: 3pm local, 2pm BST

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Key events

Round 42/53 A double DNF for Aston Martin, Stroll, the only qualified finisher in every race this season, has to retire and join Vettel in the garage. Hamilton, sixth, is closing in on Pérez, fifth, but the gap, 15.934 seconds, is too great to close in the remaining 11 laps.

Turn 41/53 Sainz, fourth, closes in on Russell, third; Russell is nowhere near Leclerc, in second place.

1 Verstappen

2 Leclerc

3 Russell

4 Sanz

5 Perez

6 Hamilton

Turn 40/53 Sometimes you see a player or team, in any sport, get a break or a win and use it, which is exactly what has happened with Verstappen. He shouldn’t have won the title last year, but he did, and he’s gained confidence and improved. He is now the best in the world, ahead of Hamilton not only because he has a better car.

Turn 38/53 Verstappen’s advantage is reduced slightly, Leclerc’s soft tires reduce the gap, but unless something major happens, he has no chance of getting within striking distance.

Turn 37/53 Those extra couple of seconds in the pits really cost Lando Nozza – it wasn’t much, time-wise, but now he’s got Ricciardo and Hamilton ahead and there’s not much chance of catching them up. Meanwhile, Leclerc sets the fastest lap, reducing Verstappen’s lead to 19.505.

Track marshals watch as Ferrari's Charles Leclerc steers his car.
Track marshals watch as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc steers his car. Photograph: Andrej Isaković/AFP/Getty Images

Turn 36/53 Verstappen is 0.4s faster than Leclerc and on new, soft tyres, his lead now at 20.078s; Norris enters and his chest is slow, so when he exits again he has dropped from sixth to seventh position, between Ricciardo and Gasly; Gasly passes him, then Hamilton passes them both.

McLaren's Lando Norris during a pit stop.
McLaren’s Lando Norris during a pit stop. Photograph: Ciro de Luca/Reuters

Turn 35/53 Verstappen leads Leclerc by 19,693; Will it be enough to hold off the soft tires and Ferrari engine?

1 Verstappen

2 Lcelcerc

3 Russell

4 Norris

5 Sanz

6 Perez

7 Boots

8 Ricciardo

9 gases

10 De Vries

Turn 34/53 Verstappen takes the lead again as Leclerc takes second, giving up around 18 seconds and on soft tyres; Hamilton puts and does the same, leaving 12th after three seconds stopped. He’s got a lot of traffic to get through if he wants to end up somewhere decent this afternoon.

Turn 33/53 Norris is now fourth but will have to pit again so is likely to finish lower rather than higher. Russell, meanwhile, has been told by his team that he should finish five seconds ahead of Sainz, while Leclerc will pit for a second time to try and hold off Verstappen. And, as I write this, Sainz passes Perez.

Round 32/53 Leclerc now leads by 6.287s, and will be listening to the music of Jaws in his earworm. From behind, Hamilton passes Pérez to take fifth, but Alonso, who has finished in the points for 10 consecutive races, is out of this one.

Return 31/53 Sainz is called and will take soft; Russell moves back up to third and has a good chance to hang on. Sainz starts in seventh position, Pérez pulling the gas because he can’t take sixth, but I’m sure it won’t stay like that.

Return 30/53 Behind Verstappen, Sinz has cooled down a bit and is chasing him by 15.706; will presumably switch to soft at some point.

Return 29/53 Leclerc now leads Verstappen by 7.947 if an overtaking looks like a matter of time. Except it could happen a bit between now and when the champion is close enough, so Ferrari still has hope.

Return 28/53 Russell doesn’t like the hard tire he’s been given, although it doesn’t seem to matter what Verstappen has – he’s average, but the basic pace of his car is such that he’d probably do well on anything.

1 Leclerc

2 Versatappen

3 Sanz

4 Russell

5 Norris

6 Hamilton

7 Alonso

8 Perez

Return 27/53 Still to enter, Hamilton is seventh… and overtakes Alonso on the straight. At the front, Verstappen has cut Leclerc’s lead to 9.253, and has plenty of time to eradicate it completely.

Return 26/53 Ferrari gained 10 seconds with the virtual safety car out; The question now is whether Leclerc’s tires will be fresh enough to make it to the end.

Return 25/53 Sainz wants a soft tire; although who knows if it is possible to do it with a single strategy? He sits third when Verstappen enters and now Leclerc leads; Verstappen comes in second at 10.276 seconds.

Turn 24/53 Hamilton gets the better of Alonso, but isn’t ready to clear him, while Verstappen continues to extend his lead over Leclerc; now it’s over 14 seconds, but a stop is coming…

Return 23/53 Pérez made it to the podium from 19th on the grid last season, and there’s a good chance Sainz will do it from 18th as well/ He’s fourth, while just behind them Hamilton attacks Alonso.

1 Verstappen

2 Leclerc

3 Russell

4 Sanz

5 Norris

6 Alonso

7 Hamilton

8 Schumacher

Return 22/53 Leclerc is in the car, but behind him, Sainz is slowing down, the gap almost to the lead of Verstappen is now more than 10 seconds, while Hamilton has moved up to seventh, but still not stopped.

Return 21/53 Verstappen continues to extend a lead he barely had to fight for, 8.870s ahead, and if he stays there the drivers’ championship is more or less settled, even more than now.

Return 20/53 Enter Gasly and Ricciardo, Ocon and De Vries too. Ricciardo still goes ahead of Gasly but is now 13th.

Return 19/53 Leclerc is driving very well, doing another fastest lap as we see Hugh Grant, in a beige syoot. wow

Return 18/53 Leclerc sets the fastest lap time and Norris overtakes Alonso, while Magnussen is serving an off-track penalty to gain the lead. Meanwhile, Verstappen must be laughing, leading Russell by 7.474 and increasing the gap all the time.

Return 17/53 Ferrari’s medium tires don’t help them massively here, and Versatappen’s lead is such that they’ll probably need another safety car to catch him. Russell follows in second, quietly driving another impressive run, albeit 6.4 seconds off the lead.

Return 16/53 Hamilton is making slow but steady progress, passing Ocon for twelfth, and he should absolutely kill it this season.

Hamilton in action.
Hamilton in action. Photograph: Florent Gooden/DPPI/REX/Shutterstock

Return 15/53 Leclerc will have to do six extra laps in his media because it was so early that he was brought in, taking advantage of the opportunity offered by the virtual safety car. Looks good, 17 seconds and change of lead; he will hope to go to the front when Verstappen stops.

Return 14/53 Verstappen still leads…

1 Verstappen

2 Russell

3 Leclerc

4 Sanz

5 Ricciardo

6 Fizzy

7 Alonso

8 Norris

9 From Vreis

10 Ocon

Return 13/53 Verstappen leads Russell by 4,769 if Leclerc by 12,725 more; Sainz races past Ricciardo in fourth, and the crowd enjoys the granny.

Return 12/53 Ferrari decide to take advantage of the situation, bringing their drivers into the pits, then the virtual safety car goes off and Leclerc takes third after making a cheap stop.

Return 11/53 Sainz nails Gasly, but Vettel has to retire with a mechanical problem and we get a virtual safety car. Leclerc won’t be happy, but he leads with 2,039, which isn’t bad at all.

#Verstappen #Leclerc #battle #lead #Italian #Grand #Prix #live

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