The Force Is With Charles Leclerc As He Leads Ferrari To Victory In Italy

2019 Italian Grand Prix Leclerc dailycarblog.com

There are those whose destiny is already written, however, the story is only completed when it begins. Charles Leclerc is such an individual who is writing his own destiny, his win at the 2019 Italian Grand Prix will go down in Ferrari history as one of the great drives. And yet his story within Formula One is only at the beginning. Driving for Ferrari is pressure and expectation for a seasoned veteran Formula One driver never mind a 21-year-old kid.

But at the 2019 Italian Grand Prix not only did Charles Leclerc secure pole position in front of the Tifosi he also converted pole into victory on Sunday, where it matters most. And he did so under constant pressure from Lewis Hamilton, for most of the Grand Prix.


Hamilton hounded Leclerc as best he could, the Mercedes is better through the corners, but the Ferrari has the more powerful engine. The Ferrari power helped keep Hamilton at bay. The Mercedes driver was able to close up at the last corner but Leclerc was always able to open up a gap on the main straight.

2019 Italian Grand Prix dailycarblog.com

And even though Hamilton was within DRS range the Ferrari pulled away enough to make an overtake into the first corner just too risky. But Hamilton was undeterred, and the eventual pressure he applied lap after lap pitched Leclerc into a mistake into the first corner on lap 23

Leclerc braked too late and decided to cut the corner rather than try to make the apex. If he had done so Hamilton would have had an easy run into the next corner. But Leclerc used the momentum of cutting the corner to retain position but he wasn’t able to fend off Hamilton’s advances.

As both Hamilton and Leclerc headed towards the next tight second gear left-right Rogia Chicane, Hamilton was side by side with Leclerc. As the two approached the corner, Hamilton was on the outside line. There was no way Hamilton could mount an overtake, he was anticipating Leclerc would be compromised or make a mistake.

Because Leclerc was on the inside and slightly ahead his corner entry was slightly compromised, so he would have to slow down to make the apex, which would mean a slower exit. However, Leclerc effectively forced Hamilton off the track by squeezing him as much as possible. Hamilton was given no other option than to use the escape route.

2019 Italian Grand Prix Ham vs Lec dailycarblog.com

Leclerc should have received a 5 second penalty for forcing a driver off the circuit. But his is Italy, this is Ferrari and a black and white flag was raised instead, which is a warning to Leclerc that he is being watched. Hamilton closed the gap but still, there was no way past. A change of tyres to the faster Mediums had the same effect, even though Leclerc changed to the slower Hard compound tyres.

Eventually, Hamilton’s medium tyres began to run out of life and he had to pit for fresh rubber. His teammate who stayed out longer before pitting now had a run at Leclerc. On fresher tyres Valterri Bottas looked, on paper, to have an advantage. Just like Hamilton he closed up on Leclerc but could find no way past initially.

2019 Italian Grand Prix Chmpagne dailycarblog.com

Lap 51 of 53 presented Bottas with a possible opportunity to take the lead, but he locked up going into the first corner and Leclerc had the race victory all but secured. Bottas did close to under a second but Leclerc used the Ferrari power advantage to take him over the finishing line.

If either Hamilton or Bottas managed to overtake Leclerc they would have won the race. But Leclerc soaked up the pressure, and though he stumbled and fought the rules to the limit he showed he has the skill and appetite to fight until the end.

2019 Italian Grand Prix Vettel dailycarblog.com

Leclerc’s victory was in stark contrast to Ferrari’s number 1 driver, Sebastian Vettel. He made a mistake on lap 4 and caused mayhem as he attempted to re-join the track. As a result he was handed a 10 second penalty. Vettel finished outside of the points and was eventually lapped by Leclerc.

As Vettel’s downfall continues Leclerc’s stature grows, for his destiny within F1 is written. Ferrari will have to re-write Leclerc’s contract and offer him more money after winning two races in a row.

2019 Italian Grand Prix Results

Pos

No

Driver

Car

Laps

Time/Retired

PTS

1

16

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

53

1:15:26.665

25

2

77

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

53

+0.835s

18

3

44

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

53

+35.199s

16

4

3

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault

53

+45.515s

12

5

27

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

53

+58.165s

10

6

23

Alexander Albon

Red Bull Racing Honda

53

+59.315s

8

7

11

Sergio Perez

Racing Point BWT Mercedes

53

+73.802s

6

8

33

Max Verstappen

Red Bull Racing Honda

53

+74.492s

4

9

99

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari

52

+1 lap

2

10

4

Lando Norris

McLaren Renault

52

+1 lap

1

11

10

Pierre Gasly

Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda

52

+1 lap

0

12

18

Lance Stroll

Racing Point BWT Mercedes

52

+1 lap

0

13

5

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

52

+1 lap

0

14

63

George Russell

Williams Mercedes

52

+1 lap

0

15

7

Kimi Räikkönen

Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari

52

+1 lap

0

16

8

Romain Grosjean

Haas Ferrari

52

+1 lap

0

17

88

Robert Kubica

Williams Mercedes

51

+2 laps

0

NC

20

Kevin Magnussen

Haas Ferrari

43

DNF

0

NC

26

Daniil Kvyat

Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda

29

DNF

0

NC

55

Carlos Sainz

McLaren Renault

27

DNF

0

Note – Hamilton scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.

 


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