Polesitter Carlos Sainz secured a podium for the home-favourite team Scuderia Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix after a hard-fought battle with Red Bull Racing and a bold display of defence.
Sainz got off the line well from pole position and was quick to cover off second-placed Max Verstappen to take the lead. This sparked lap after lap of impressive defence from Sainz, holding off the reigning World Champion until a lock-up saw him lose out on the lead on lap fifteen.
Sergio Pérez challenged the second and third-placed Ferraris later in the race for position, and ended up pulling ahead to fill the second podium position. This left Sainz to battle wheel-to-wheel with team-mate Charles Leclerc for the final podium spot in Monza. After a nail-biting battle between the team-mates and instances of near-incidents, Sainz secured third place.
Sainz said that achieving a podium amongst a sea of supportive Tifosi was a special moment for him, and that it was the “icing on the cake” after a strong weekend for the team.
“It was a great weekend all along and to be able to celebrate a podium with the tifosi is the perfect icing on the cake! I really want to thank every single one of them for their endless support. They are very special!”
Though he couldn’t convert pole position to a win, Sainz felt that he maximised what he could and enjoyed battling with the Red Bulls and his team-mate to earn his spot on the podium.
“Today I did everything I could to try to keep both Red Bulls behind, using my tyres to the limit and pushing for the entire race. Unfortunately, they still have the edge over us on race day and P3 was the maximum today. We had good battles on track with them and with Charles and I hope people enjoyed it as much as I did. Now we have some time to regroup and start preparing for Singapore as soon as possible.”
“It has been a while since I had that much fun in a race!” – Charles Leclerc
Leclerc finished fourth place in Monza after an intense race to the finish, and said that he had lots of “fun” in the various battles he was involved in throughout the Grand Prix.
Having started in third, he was on par with Sainz for the entire race and was well in the running for a podium finish. The Monegasque driver thanked all the Tifosi that showed up to cheer on the Scuderia, and said that he hopes to have more exciting races such as this one in the coming weeks.
“It has been a while since I had that much fun in a race! The battles we had throughout were great, and Checo (Perez), Carlos and I were really close towards the end, which made for an exciting handful of closing laps. We had some free space behind us, so I just enjoyed it and pushed to the maximum.”
“I hope that the tifosi enjoyed it as much as I did and a big thanks to them for all the support this weekend. I hope that we will see more races like this to come and look forward to being back on track in Singapore.”