Second podium for a great Carlos Sainz, one step away from glory at Monza

Second podium for a great Carlos Sainz, one step away from glory at Monza

Second place for the Spanish, surpassed by Gasly (Alpha Tauri) in a race with two starts and the Mercedes off the podium.

Second podium for a great Carlos Sainz, one step away from glory at Monza

A race like this at Monza, with two starts from the grid, with the Mercedes away from the podium, with the Ferraris and Max Verstappen out of combat, with so much regulatory scramble, is not enjoyed every day. Such a Sunday at Monza is a great success for Carlos Sainz , although he still may not believe it. He was second behind Pierre Gasly , a Frenchman from Alpha Tauri who endured the Spanish's last onslaught with unprecedented poise. The victory for the McLaren leader escaped, only 41 hundredths of the glory, but all the 'Ferraristas' take good note of what awaits in the future.

The first radio message to his engineer, Tom Stallard , was tinged with grief: “I've been so close. I would have needed one more lap.” Later, on the podium, Carlos gathered a bit more calm to digest it better. McLaren still has to wait to reissue its last victory, with Jenson Button in 2012. Sainz could not complete his unbridled pursuit of the last 10 laps, although he did show the world his mettle as a great driver. The second podium of his life, nine months after the 2019 Brazilian GP.

The overtaking of Kimi Raikkonen on lap 34, in the Variante del Rettifilo, should be kept in the anthology of this World Cup. With 19 laps to go and Gasly's rear wing as the last hurdle, victory lay at Sainz's hand. If he escaped, due to the great driving of the Frenchman, driven by the vigor of the Honda engine, there is no need to lament too much. “You go second, you don't have to make mistakes,” they had sung to him on the radio. “Yes, but I want to win,” he replied. Too bad for an electrifying Sunday.

Bottas, nailed to the exit

Everything was shaping up for a routine victory for Hamilton, who started from pole and could only finish seventh. Everything seemed chewed for Mercedes, but from the beginning the matter was cut short. The mystery of what the hell happened in Valtteri Bottas' car remains. “A puncture or something,” lamented the Finn, overwhelmed by events. Its engineers denied the major while its pilot also lost ground to sixth position. “I can't run with this engine configuration. This is a joke,” he later exclaimed, when his deficit was 20 seconds.

In his rear-view mirror he glimpsed Verstappen, the author of yet another terrible start-up. The only options for both were to save energy and tires to extend their relief. That's where we were when a Kevin Magnussen break blew everything up.

The damaged Haas did not seem to hinder anyone, but Michael Masi , race director, recovered his health with the 'safety car'. Mercedes reacted immediately by calling Hamilton. Too fast, too hastily. The 'pit-lane' had been closed for everyone. Including Antonio Giovinazzi , the only one who followed in the footsteps of the hexacampe├│n.

Decisive 'stop and go'

The stewards, after a brief deliberation, sanctioned the Italian Alfa Romeo with a 'stop and go': 10 seconds without moving, about 32 of total punishment. The same penalty for Hamilton, whose chances of winning were completely fading. Mercedes reported everything to her leader just after Charles Leclerc's accident at the Parabolica. With the Ferrari smashed against the barriers, Masi raised the red flag and stopped the race.

All the cars went into the pits, waiting for the operators to repair the guards. Half an hour of tension. Especially for Lance Stroll , the only one who could take advantage of the red flag to change the tires. Also for Hamilton, whose indignation led him on a scooter to ask Masi for an explanation. A scene typical of the most irate Michael Schumacher .

Second podium for a great Carlos Sainz, one step away from glory at Monza

The work for the race director did not end there, who opted for a restart from the grid, instead of the 'pit-lane', the most common solution. Sainz had slipped to sixth place, in the wake of a nerve-racking Stroll. At Turn 4, the Canadian from Racing Point went long, like a rookie. The error forced him to give way and although he wanted to react, Carlos hit him back with astonishing coldness.

Podium for Stroll

Hamilton, when fulfilling his 'stop and go', rolled half a minute from the head. With a hard tire, without space to exploit the power of the Mercedes, he had run out of epic options. It was even worse for Verstappen, who only lasted three laps before getting out of the car in a very bad way. Even Bottas didn't seem in a position to shake off Norris, in a tough fight for the podium with Norris.

The Briton fought with his usual courage, despite that previous maneuver in the pit-lane, in which he had slowed down the entire squad. The podium, to which Stroll climbed, eluded him by 2.6 seconds. In any case they can be more than satisfied in Woking. Sainz, leading for a lap, brushing the glory with his fingers, made them relive old golden moments.

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