Too close for comfort

Charles LeClerc seized victory at the Italian Grand Prix 2019 ahead of the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. However, it was worth noting that when Hamilton launched attacks against LeClerc, the latter’s defence was fairly robust.

At one point during the race, Lewis Hamilton was forced off the circuit by Leclerc. Following an investigation, a black and white flag was waved for the Monegasque driver. Hamilton was understandably miffed that the Ferrari man did not receive a 5 second time penalty.

Speaking after the race, he said, “There was a rule put in place, and then it wasn’t abided by today. They used different consequences for the rule today. I don’t know why that was the case. I guess the stewards woke up on a different side of the bed today. It seems like the new generation get away with much more in that area compared to the older drivers”

The 21-year-old certainly skirted the limits on driving conduct to hold off Lewis Hamilton. Even Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was furious at the fact that LeClerc got away scot free. Then, after Hamilton faded off, Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes took up the cudgels. There was certainly a lot of pressure on the youngster in the closing laps after a couple of mistakes.

Charles LeClerc

“He didn’t leave me a car’s width,” said Hamilton on the radio. “He pushed me off. There is some dangerous driving going on”.

Leclerc’s victory was his second in a row, following his maiden win in Belgium a week ago It was also Ferrari’s first at their home race since Fernando Alonso did it in 2010. The ecstatic Leclerc screamed with delight into his radio as he crossed the line. Fans and pundits can be sure that the victory further establishes his status as a rising star in F1.

“I have never been so tired,” Leclerc said, before switching to Italian and saying: “It was the hardest race” and describing the win as “a dream”.

Meanwhile, in the other Ferrari camp, things were not so rosy for Sebastian Vettel. The 4-time World Champion spun off and tagged Lance Stroll while rejoining. As a result of that mishap, he was slapped with a 10-second stop and go penalty.