Tens of thousands of Tifosi would’ve come to Monza to expect their main man- Charles Leclerc clinch the win. The Monegasque also had the best possible opportunity to do so and the race pace along with it; a pole position meant that Leclerc was leading and out in the clear at the start.
Though in the end, even that super qualifying result and hence, a great start for Sunday’s racing fiesta couldn’t help Ferrari. It’s not that Monza was all bitter from a fan perspective; newcomer Nyck de Vries, the very talented driver and the stand-in driver at Williams (for Alex Albon) scored points on his F1 debut. But what other talking points from the Italian Grand Prix of 2022 defined the Monza action? SportsTiger has it all covered for you!
1. Heartbreak for Vettel
Sebastian Vettel was holding on well to his tenth place position on the grid, which is when his car ran into a technical issue as a result of which the former four-time world champion (with Red Bull) had to park his Aston Martin at the side of the track and retire from the race.
Among the sadder but dramatic talking points from the 2022 Italian Grand Prix was the fact that in DNF’ing at Monza, the great German driver failed to collect any points.
This was particularly sad in that the former Ferrari driver, who used to be a darling of the Tifosi here couldn’t score a spectacular finish in what had been a successful venue for the Heppenheim-born driver.
Interestingly, it was here in Monza back in 2008 where Vettel, then with Scuderia Toro Rosso, picked up a maiden Formula 1 victory. And it’s here at Monza that Vettel recorded a DNF in his final race on Italian soil.
O, the changing vagaries of sport!
2. Alonso with a race to forget
For a driver who seemed certain to outperform Esteban Ocon and was even involved in a close fight with nine other than the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, Alonso retired from the Monza action.
In what became one of the more dramatic talking points from the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso’s engine problems played foul play with the veteran’s race; the Spaniard had begun from sixth on the grid at Monza.
Moreover, in battling for eighth and later, seventh on the grid, Alonso was doing really well. He kept a master of the grid in Hamilton behind before the seven-time world champion found a way past the former Renault driver.
In the end, Fernando Alonso was done in by an unpredictable issue that none saw coming; not in the least his very team.
A drop in water pressure is what consumed his Alpine in the end.
What’s sad is that the Monza run also brought to an end what had been a consistent point-scoring spree by the icon that lasted for ten races.
3. Ferrari didn’t get the strategy spectacularly wrong- did they?
Ferrari had to be different today at the Italian Grand Prix of 2022. That’s not only because they’d been under enormous pressure of late; Leclerc last bringing up a victory for the Italian stable way back at the Austrian GP.
But that was also down to the fact that the side had been heavily critiqued for binning what had been several winning opportunities.
So when Leclerc was brought in behind the first safety car, thanks to the first car retirement, it wasn’t thought of as a terrible decision.
Interestingly, upon the deployment of the second safety car, Leclerc did pit again for another set of sorts.
That was with four laps remaining and the gap between race leader Verstappen and the driver on P2, i.e., Leclerc being 22 seconds.
Ferrari did try everything they had on the strategy department, it ought to be remembered, as they did undercut Red Bull by putting Leclerc much earlier than Verstappen; the Milton Keynes driver putting not before lap 34 with only 19 left to play.
But the context of the race changed completely in the final four laps.
As the top four on the grid- Verstappen, Leclerc, Russell and Sainz- were all on a set of softs, the dying stages of Monza did become a level-playing field.
Except that the scope of hardcore or pure racing was rendered defunct as several laps were lost due to the safety car.
In the end, the result was what it was: Verstappen, super quick and super efficient in tyre management leading the pack and becoming the first to cross the checkered flag.
In so doing, Charles, who gave it absolutely everything, could only get a second. It’s not an atrocious result by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s all that the Prancing Horse could do.
4. Spare a thought for Carlos Sainz
For a driver who began the 53-lap run from eighteenth on the grid (thanks to severe penalties), Sainz’s P4, in the end, was an awesome result.
It was just the kind of performance that lifted the spirits of the Tifosi whose expectations of seeing Leclerc win the Grand Prix were cruelly taken away with the race finishing behind the safety car thanks to Daniel Ricciardo’s race retirement.
While one couldn’t say “Forza Ferrari” in the end, one did see a strong performance from the Scuderia stable, the likes of which should motivate Sainz and Leclerc to go for it again in Singapore.