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Italian GP: Max Verstappen denies Charles Leclerc in Monza for fifth straight victory

Max Verstappen started from seventh after a grid penalty but was up to second after just five laps; Charles Leclerc was on pole but was unable to match Verstappen's pace; the Dutchman's fifth straight victory tightens his grip on the world championship

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen takes victory at the Italian GP as the race ends behind a safety car.

Max Verstappen produced a dominant performance at the Italian Grand Prix to deny Charles Leclerc victory in Monza and secure a fifth successive win.

Verstappen started from seventh after a grid penalty, but was up to second after just five laps and clearly held a pace advantage over pole-sitter Leclerc.

Ferrari, seeking a win at its home race, pitted Leclerc after 11 laps under a Virtual Safety Car as the Italian team sought to find any sort of advantage over Verstappen, but the move was in vain as the medium tyres fitted to the Monegasque's car failed to provide the durability or speed to mount a challenge.

With Leclerc forced to make a second stop, Verstappen held a near 20-second lead in the closing stages, before a technical failure for Daniel Ricciardo saw the McLaren stop out on track with five laps remaining, and the race end behind a Safety Car.

While Leclerc complained over radio and there were boos from Ferrari fans at the decision to finish the race behind the Safety Car, there was little doubt that Verstappen and Red Bull deserved the victory.

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The best of the action from the 2022 Italian Grand Prix from Monza.

George Russell, who started second, continued his remarkably consistent debut season for Mercedes by finishing third.

Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton, who both started from the rear of the grid having been among nine drivers taking penalties, produced superb comeback drives to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.

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Nyck de Vries, making his Formula 1 race debut after stepping in for the unwell Alex Albon at Williams, produced a brilliant performance to score points in ninth.

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Lewis Hamilton passes both Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly to move up to seventh at the Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen's first victory at Monza stretches his world championship lead over Leclerc to 116 points with six races remaining and means he could secure a second successive title when the season's final stretch begins in Singapore in three weeks' time.

"We had a great race," Verstappen said. "On every compound we were good. Unfortunately we didn't get a restart at the end but overall we had a really good day.

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Max Verstappen insists he not yet thinking about when he is likely to win the drivers championship and successfully defend his title.

"It was really enjoyable to drive today. A great day for us.

"It took a bit of time to be on a great podium like this."

The sport continued to pay its respects to Queen Elizabeth II, with a minute's silence impeccably observed before the race, along with several cars carrying visual tributes.

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An impeccably observed minute's silence was followed by a round of applause for Queen Elizabeth II from both on the grid and in the grandstands at the Italian GP.

Italian GP Final Result, Top 10
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
3) George Russell, Mercedes
4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
9) Nyck de Vries, Williams
10) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo

Unstoppable Verstappen overcomes penalty

After almost four hours of confusion following qualifying, it was finally confirmed late on Saturday evening that Verstappen would be made to serve his full five-place grid penalty and start seventh on the grid.

There had been speculation in the paddock that he would be able to start fourth, with mystery over how the FIA would choose to implement penalties for a total of nine drivers.

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Christian Horner admits they would have preferred Max Verstappen to win the race under normal racing regulations, rather than behind the Safety Car.

Ultimately, the Dutchman made their decision irrelevant, gaining two places at the start before overtaking Pierre Gasly and Ricciardo to end the opening lap in third.

By lap five he had passed Russell for second, and then began to apply pressure to Leclerc, whose soft tyres were wearing at an alarming rate.

When a VSC was triggered by Vettel stopping on lap 11, Ferrari brought Leclerc in, while Verstappen stayed out. Although Leclerc gained about 10 seconds from stopping at that point, the face he needed to complete 42 more laps on a set of medium tyres left many immediately wondering if the Italian team had pulled the trigger too quickly.

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Max Verstappen climbed two places at the start of the Italian GP.

That proved to be the case as Verstappen was able to maintain a similar pace on his ageing soft tyres, while it became clear that Leclerc's mediums would not be capable of taking him to the end.

Leclerc retook the lead when Verstappen pitted after 25 laps, but was forced to give it back nine laps later as he made his second stop, emerging almost 20 seconds behind Verstappen, who was now on mediums.

The gap closed only marginally and Verstappen appeared to be cruising to victory, until Ricciardo stopped on track with five laps remaining, this time triggering a full Safety Car.

The top four, with significant gaps between them, stopped for fresh tyres as they prepared for a possible grandstand finish, but ultimately the removal of Ricciardo's car took too long to allow the race to resume,

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Sky F1's Karun Chandhok explains why the Italian Grand Prix ended behind the Safety Car and the options available to the FIA in situations like these.

While there were possible grievances over whether the Safety Car period was extended by the fact that it picked up third-placed Russell rather than leader Verstappen, the end result of the Dutchman coasting over the finish line was the same as it had looked set to be all along.

"The end was frustrating, I wish we could have had a bit of a race," Leclerc said. "Unfortunately we were second because of what happened before.

"It's a shame, but I gave it all today. I wish I could have won in front of the amazing tifosi but I just couldn't today."

Sainz, Hamilton make strong recoveries | De Vries stars on debut

Starting from 18th and 19th respectively, the races of Sainz and Hamilton promised to provide an entertaining sideshow to the battle at the front.

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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton says he was 'grateful' to finish fifth after starting from the back of the grid at the Italian Grand Prix.

Sainz made extremely swift progress and was up to fifth before Vettel triggered the VSC on lap 11. The Spaniard moved up to fourth shortly after, but ultimately was just short of the pace required to reel in Russell for a podium.

Hamilton had to be more patient, with steady progress leaving him in 10th after 20 laps. The seven-time world champion continued to advance and passed Fernando Alonso, who later retired with a suspected water pressure issue, for sixth, before pitting and emerging in 12th, but with fresh soft tyres to take him to the end.

His charge back through the field was aided by an opportunistic double overtake on Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly, before he passed Ricciardo for sixth.

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Nyck de Vries says it felt like a 'dream' to finish ninth on his Formula 1 debut after stepping in for Alex Albon in the Williams.

That left Hamilton behind Sergio Perez, who had started 13th after receiving a 10-place grid penalty. The Mexican had been forced to pit on lap seven with his brakes over-heating, and was ultimately forced to stop again as his hard tyres ran out of grid, leaving the Mercedes to move up to fifth.

Norris and Gasly scored solid points in seventh and eighth, respectively, but it was the ninth-placed De Vries who earned the fan-voted driver of the day award for his brilliant debut.

The 27-year-old Dutchman made it through to Q2 on his qualifying debut on Saturday and was bumped up to eighth on the grid as a result of the penalty chaos.

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Max Verstappen and George Russell offer some advice to Nyck de Vries following his impressive Formula One debut at the Italian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes reserve driver further enhanced his credentials for a permanent seat next season with a faultless drive, in which he comprehensively outperformed team-mate Nicholas Latifi, who finished 15th.

Elsewhere, there was further disappointment for Aston Martin, as Sebastian Vettel retired with an Energy Recovery System issue, before Lance Stroll's race was cut short to save engine mileage, leaving the team with a double DNF.

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