Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly has won a sensational and chaotic Italian Grand Prix, which was marked by controversial penalties and a full-race restart halfway through.
French driver Gasly, who began the 2019 season with Red Bull but was demoted mid-year, claimed his first F1 victory ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll.
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Championship leader Lewis Hamilton started the race on pole, but an illegal pitstop as the safety car was being called out when Haas driver Kevin Magnussen retired with engine troubles.
Hamilton was handed a ten second stop-go penalty as a result, but the biggest twist was yet to come.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had a nasty accident on the final corner, embedding his car deep in the tyre barrier and causing the race to be red-flagged.
The race was restarted from the grid and once Hamilton stopped for his penalty, the battle was on between Gasly and Sainz.
Gasly was predictably elated after he crossed the line in first, his best finish since his surprise second place at the Brazilian Grand Prix last year.
““Oh my god, what did we just do?” Gasly screamed over the radio.
“Oh my god guys, we did it again. Oh my god, yes.”
The 24-year-old Frenchman was still on a high after he got out of the car.
“Honestly it’s unbelievable,” Gasly said after the race.
“It was such a crazy race and we capitalised on it. I’ve been through so much in 18 months, I struggle to realise this.
“I’ve got no words. This team has done so much for me, now they’re giving me my first win.
“It’s an amazing day. It’s been so long since another French winner. I never expected but this, I’m so happy.”
Daniel Ricciardo’s incredible start in wild grand prix
After qualifying in 7th, Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo launched off the line, sending his Renault past former teammate Max Verstappen and also Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who was slow off the line.
The early running looked good for Ricciardo, but after the safety car and restart sorted itself out, he found himself behind Bottas and was unable to get past the Finnish wheelman, ultimately finishing 6th.
Ricciardo was quick to congratulate Gasly after the race.
“Congrats to Pierre, I was just saying while the circumstances were in his favour today with the restarts and red flags it’s not easy,” Ricciardo said.
“You’ve built up all this adrenaline, you try to cool yourself and then you get kind of jacked up again.
“Mentally it’s really hard. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, I like it, but I think for him to maintain that for his first win around a track that’s an overtake-able circuit, congrats to him, he deserves it.”