Pierre Gasly earns maiden F1 win at Italian GP after Lewis Hamilton penalty

Mercedes driver penalised after pitting illegally following crash at Monza

Pierre Gasly won the Italian Grand Prix for AlphaTauri, scoring an unlikely win at Monza as an incident-packed race proved disastrous for world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton finished in seventh place having led until the halfway point when he was given a penalty for illegally entering the pit lane. Carlos Sainz was second for McLaren with Lance Stroll in third for Racing Point. Lando Norris was fourth for McLaren and Valtteri Bottas fifth for Mercedes.

It is Gasly’s first grand prix win, and the 24-year-old was understandably ecstatic at the finish, the Frenchman having closed out with verve and steel. It was especially poignant coming just over a year after he was demoted from the senior Red Bull team to its sister outfit after the Belgian GP.

His previous best was second at the Brazilian GP last year. It is AlphaTauri's first win as well, the team's only other victory came in their previous guise as Toro Rosso was also here at Monza, when Sebastian Vettel won in 2008. The last French driver to win a grand prix was Olivier Panis at Monaco in 1996.


Ferrari had a home race to forget with Sebastian Vettel retiring with a brake failure and Charles Leclerc crashing out early. While Mercedes are likely to be demanding answers, unhappy at how what had looked like a nailed on win for Hamilton came apart at the seams.

Hamilton was clean away from the start on the drag to the first chicane but Bottas had a shocker, going backwards and beaten by Sainz and then passed by Norris who moved up to third from sixth. The Finn continued to lose places complaining of a puncture and dropping to sixth but he did not pit and it appeared he had just lost his line and was unable to recover swiftly.

With the immediate threat from his team-mate receding from view Hamilton made hay, putting over two seconds on Sainz within four laps. He soon left them comprehensively behind.

But for Ferrari an already dismal weekend only got worse. Vettel suffered a brake failure on lap five, going straight on at the first chicane, he was forced to retire at the end of the lap. “Brake line exploded,” said Vettel after a hugely disappointing weekend in his final race at Monza for Ferrari.

McLaren were looking good with second and third albeit eight seconds off Hamilton by lap 13 but Bottas could not make inroads from sixth against Sergio Pérez and Daniel Ricciardo in fourth and fifth.

What had looked routine for Hamilton turned in a moment however. When Kevin Magnussen retired with a problem on lap 20 the safety car was called and Hamilton dived into the pit for new tyres. Tellingly he was the only one of the leaders to do so. The pit lane entry was still closed at the time as the marshals pushed Magnussen's car toward the pit lane. Hamilton was immediately investigated by the stewards. In contrast AlphaTauri had pitted just before the safety car was deployed and the pit lane was still open, it proved an inspired move that would ultimately put their driver in a race-wining position.

With the pit lane open the remaining leaders pulled in for fresh rubber and racing resumed on lap 23. Only to stop almost immediately as Leclerc had a huge accident going into the wall at Parabolica. A high-speed impact that Leclerc was fortunate to walk away from brought the race to a halt with a red flag as they removed Leclerc’s car and repaired the barrier.

As the cars retuned to the pit lane, Hamilton received a 10-second stop-go penalty and he was furious, going to see the stewards while racing was halted. The flurry of stops and chaos left the race turned on its head. In third when racing resumed Gasly beat Stroll on the restart and when Hamilton took his penalty almost immediately, Gasly took the lead, with Kimi Raikkonen and Sainz on his tail. Bottas was in sixth, seven seconds back.

Team principal Toto Wolff was furious that the pit lane closure had not been clear but the team were at fault for allowing Hamilton to pit. Clearly frustrated and disappointed Hamilton's race was in tatters. He emerged from his penalty in 17th, last place and 30 seconds off the lead with 24 laps remaining.

Sainz, meanwhile, passed Raikkonen brilliantly on lap 34 into turn one and declared his intent of hunting down Gasly. He closed to within two seconds with 10 laps to go and less than a second with two to go. “I want this win,” he said. Yet Gasly showed pluck and nerve to hold his lead against what was clearly a quicker car, earning a hugely creditable win.

Hamilton did his best to come though the field and made it into the points in seventh place, salvaging something from the afternoon. He still leads the championship from Bottas by 164 to 117 points.

Ricciardo was in sixth, and his Renault team-mate Esteban Ocon in eighth. Daniil Kvyat was in ninth for AlphaTauri with Pérez in 10th. – Guardian