Victory! Pierre Gasly and Scuderia AlphaTauri make F1 history in Italy
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Pierre Gasly and Scuderia AlphaTauri are now F1 winners after the French driver claims a sensational maiden Grand Prix win at Monza to give his team an historic scalp.
In what proved to be a race of two halves, after proceedings were halted with a red flag following a big crash involving the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, Gasly found himself in the lead and didn't look back to take a brilliant victory on the team's home turf.
"It's amazing, honestly. I'm lost for words," said Gasly after the race. "I've been through so many things in the last 18 months and it is better than anything I expected. Thank you to the team. They gave me my first podium last year in Brazil and this year they gave me my first win, for an Italian team, in Monza."
Back in 2008, Toro Rosso claimed a sensational victory at Monza with Sebastian Vettel and 4,371 days later, renamed Scuderia AlphaTauri, the team did it again with Gasly at the wheel.
In the race, the first real drama occurred on Lap 20, when Kevin Magnussen's Haas ended up stricken on the side of the track, just short of the pit lane entrance. This triggered the Safety Car and race leader Lewis Hamilton elected to make a pit stop with the pit lane closed. When racing resumed, Scuderia AlphaTauri's Gasly emerged in third, until another Safety Car period was enforced due to Leclerc's sizeable crash on the exit of the Parabolica curve.
Leclerc's crash eventually caused a red flag and a stoppage to the race, as the safety barrier was repaired where the Ferrari had smashed into the tyre wall. When racing restarted with a second standing start, Hamilton was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for his pit stop indiscretion and Gasly found himself starting part two of the race in third – seven positions higher up the grid from his race starting position. This put him the position for a great result.
Gasly made an aggressive and rapid restart, and assumed the lead on Lap 29, as Hamilton took his penalty. The Frenchman finding himself at the front of a Grand Prix for the first time ever in his fourth season of F1 competition.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri driver controlled the race superbly from there on out, keeping a calm head and looking after his tyres, but he started to come under pressure from McLaren's Carlos Sainz with five laps remaining. Gasly was forced to withstand a last lap challenge from Sainz and use every single percent of his Honda powerplant to out edge out the McLaren driver.
Gasly crossed the line to become the first new driver to win in F1 since Charles Leclerc's victory at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, the 109th different Grand Prix winner in F1 history and the first French driver to win a Grand Prix since Olivier Panis back in 1996. Gasly's success also gave Scuderia AlphaTauri their first ever F1 win under their new name.
Gasly's team-mate Daniil Kyvat capped an historic weekend for the Scuderia AlphaTauri team and underlined their strong pace over the weekend with a solid ninth place finish and additional Constructors' Championship points.
The race at Monza marks the start of a two-race trip for F1 to Italy, with the series heading to new territory in the shape of the Mugello Circuit in Tuscany. The race will be the first time F1 has featured at the facility. Can Scuderia AlphaTauri now continue their superlative form on home soil as Italy's fastest team in F1?