Italian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen booed by Ferrari fans after beating Charles Leclerc under Safety Car

·34 min read
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates on the podium after winning the Italian Grand Prix race at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022 - AP
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates on the podium after winning the Italian Grand Prix race at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022 - AP

From the moment the speakers failed during Andrea Bocelli’s rendition of the Italian national anthem on the Monza grid, leaving the Tifosi unable to hear a thing, the omens for a Ferrari win on home soil were not good. Sure enough, Red Bull’s runaway championship leader Max Verstappen came stomping through the field to claim his fifth win on the bounce, his 11th of the season, and thus take another giant leap towards the world title.

Verstappen is very nearly there now. He could feasibly do it as early as the next race in Singapore. It is unlikely. Verstappen would need not only to win but for Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez and George Russell all to finish well down the field. He will likely have to wait until the following race in Japan. But it hardly matters any more. The air has long since seeped out of this championship.

Sunday’s deflating Italian Grand Prix was a case in point. The atmosphere pre-race was great, with Leclerc on pole thanks to a brilliant qualifying session on Saturday, and Verstappen back in seventh thanks to his five-place grid penalty for taking a new engine. The packed grandstands at Monza were bouncing, albeit the minute’s silence, observed in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, was impeccably observed.

Perhaps the fact that speakers did not work for the Italian national anthem was an omen. Maybe it was Ferrari’s yellow livery, part of the Scuderia’s ongoing celebrations to commemorate 75 years since the company's foundation.

Whatever it was, the mood fell decidedly flat as Leclerc’s tyre strategy - trying for a two-stop when most drivers went for a one-stop - backfired. A thoroughly anti-climactic day was completed when the race controversially finished behind a safety car, which came out on lap 47 of 53 after Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren broke down on track and could not be removed in time.

That finale created a fair bit of controversy, with differing views on how the race director should have handled it and even questions as to whether it might have got going again but for an error from the safety car, picking up Mercedes’ George Russell in third rather than Verstappen in first.

Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen crosses the finish line ahead of Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc and wins the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale circuit in Monza on September 11, 2022 - AFP
Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen crosses the finish line ahead of Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc and wins the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale circuit in Monza on September 11, 2022 - AFP

Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto - a man who looked as if he had aged 10 years in two hours under the watchful eye of Italian president Sergio Mattarella and Ferrari chairman John Elkann - was fuming by the finish.

But the truth is Verstappen would have won anyway. After all the nonsense over grid penalties, with nine drivers penalised and the FIA taking nearly four hours to work out the grid order following qualifying on Saturday, the race was actually pretty straightforward.

Verstappen, starting seventh, wasted no time in scything his way through the field. By the end of the first lap he was already up to fourth and right behind Mclaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in third. Verstappen swept past his former teammate on the straight.

From there it took the world champion just three more laps to catch Mercedes’ George Russell, who put up little to no resistance heading into the first chicane.

Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren, George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes and the rest of the field stand for a minutes silence in tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who died at Balmoral Castle on September 8, 2022, during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. - Getty Images
Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren, George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes and the rest of the field stand for a minutes silence in tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who died at Balmoral Castle on September 8, 2022, during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. - Getty Images

Only Leclerc was left ahead of him but fans were denied the chance to see any wheel-to-wheel action when, on lap 11, Sebastian Vettel swung over to the side of the track with smoke billowing out of his Aston Martin, and a virtual safety car was deployed.

Ferrari took the decision to switch Leclerc to a two-stopper, Leclerc diving into the pits for fresh rubber, when conventional wisdom states that Monza works best as a one-stopper.

That was what Verstappen did, making his tyres last until lap 26, and coming out 10 seconds or so behind Leclerc who could only last another seven laps before stopping for a second time.

When the Ferrari driver emerged from his stop, he was 18 seconds behind Verstappen with 19 laps left to run and praying for a safety car. It duly arrived. Unfortunately, it never left.

Elsewhere, Mercedes battled well, with George Russell finishing third and Lewis Hamilton going from 19th to finish fifth, just behind the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. But Verstappen was in a class of his own. The coronation is not far away now.

Italian Grand Prix, as it happened

04:05 PM

Excellent scenes on the podium, whether they booed or not

A general view of the podium as Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Third placed George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes celebrate during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy - Mark Thompson/Getty Images
A general view of the podium as Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Third placed George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes celebrate during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy - Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Thanks for joining me today. Stay tuned for more over the next couple of days from Tom Cary in Monza and myself.

03:59 PM

Toto Wolff speaks to Sky Sports F1

I think you see that on the tracks that don't suit us we are clearly third on the road, so third and fifth is the maximum. Once the tyres came together he [Lewis] was very quick. I think it's all to play for, we are 25 points behind [Ferrari, in second] with six races left. We just need to do the best every single weekend. It would maybe a bit [soften the blow] but there are more blows when we are ending up 30 seconds behind the leader.

The race direction is going to be under [criticism] but in this time they followed the rules.

03:58 PM

Lewis Hamilton speaks after the race

It was a good race. The guys were saying that anywhere between sixth and fourth was possible. I had fun, I struggled at the beginning with the tyres heavy... tried to avoid a collision at the first corner but ended up stuck behind an AlphaTauri. At the end the two cars behind had fresher tyres so kind of glad [it finished how it did].

Don't think he could have got much more than fifth, which seems like a decent result.

03:48 PM

Christian Horner thinks it was not a good look to finish like that

There was enough time to get the race going. They picked up the wrong car. We had the faster car, we would have liked to have won the race on the track not behind the SC.  I'd just like to see the race play out. it was all set for a grandstand finish that we didn't get to see.. it goes against the principles we've discussed.

The biggest losers today were the fans. I think they had more than enough time to get that going. They picked up the wrong car and then they had to let all those cars catch up again. For me there was more than enough time to get that race going again.

03:46 PM

Was that an unsatisfactory finish?

Yes, in some ways. They could have red flagged it and then had a standing restart. But would that have been "right" or along the lines of the "wrong" that was done in Abu Dhabi?

03:44 PM

Updated constructor standings

Not as good a day for McLaren as it could have been. Norris only seventh as Alpine fail to score.

03:36 PM

Updated driver standings

That gap just grows and grows. Verstappen can win the title in Singapore in three weeks' time.  He will do it, by my calculations, if he outscores Leclerc by 14 points in Singapore. So that's a Verstappen win with Leclerc in fifth or fourth, if Verstappen gets a fastest lap bonus point.

03:34 PM

George Russell reacts to another podium

I said on the radio to the team, it doesn't matter if we're fast or slow we keep getting these podiums. We can look back on these races... two podiums and P4, we've got to be happy with that. I'm pleased that we tried something.

03:33 PM

Charles Leclerc reacts to a disappointing second

The end was frustrating... unfortunately we were second at that place because of what happened before. I wish I could have won in front of the amazing tifosi we have here but I couldn't today. We didn't know what [RB] were going to do, so we took that choice [for a second stop]. I think the pace was quite strong today. We will have to look into it but I think we were quite strong.

Didn't sound like there was many cheers for him.

03:32 PM

Verstappen reacts to his win

We had a great race. On every compound we were quickest. We had a great race car. Overall we had a really good day. Start was very good, I had a clean chicane and I could quickly get into my rhythm. It was really enjoyable to drive today... great day for us.

A few boos which then turn to cheers.

03:30 PM

Perez gets the fastest lap bonus point

But he finished down in sixth. Not a brilliant result, but he had that brake issue earlier in the day and an early pit stop.

03:30 PM

Well done Nyck de Vries

Only found out about an hour before FP3 that he'd be driving for Williams after Albon's absence. He qualified 14th and finishes ninth and wins driver of the day. A fantastic debut for the Dutchman. Two Dutch drivers in the points for the first time since... I have no idea.

Formula One F1 - Italian Grand Prix - Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy - September 11, 2022 Williams' Nyck de Vries during the race - REUTERS
Formula One F1 - Italian Grand Prix - Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy - September 11, 2022 Williams' Nyck de Vries during the race - REUTERS

03:27 PM

Italian Grand Prix - Classification

  1. VER

  2. LEC

  3. RUS

  4. SAI

  5. HAM

  6. PER

  7. NOR

  8. GAS

  9. DEV

  10. ZHO

  11. OCO

  12. MSC

  13. BOT

  14. TSU

  15. LAT

  16. MAG

OUT: RIC, STR, ALO, VET

03:26 PM

MAX VERSTAPPEN WINS THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX

That Red Bull is a rocket ship at the moment. Leclerc drive an excellent race but did not have the car beneath him to really compete - hence Ferrari's contra-strategies.

03:25 PM

FINAL LAP

No jeopardy in the end, then. But a deserved victory for Verstappen. Was it ever in doubt? Maybe for half a lap.

03:24 PM

Tom Cary from Monza

Tell a lie. There was a bit of booing just then as Leclerc was told the race would finish behind a SC.

03:23 PM

RACE TO FINISH BEHIND SC

"Come on. It's clear... come on," Leclerc says when informed of this. Probably sums up the race, really.

03:21 PM

Lap 52 of 53 - Tom Cary on the situation at Monza

What an anti-climax. The main grandstand opposite the media centre is packed full of Ferrari fans but it is almost completely silent.

A bit of a shame but, really, Verstappen was winning the race comfortably.

03:20 PM

Lap 51 of 53 - Russell overtakes the SC

As do a few other drivers. Not really sure how this is going to pan out... it will probably finish under the Safety Car. Verstappen now the lead car behind the SC. I think this will be it.

03:18 PM

Lap 50 of 53 - Current 10 top under SC

  1. VER

  2. LEC

  3. RUS

  4. SAI

  5. HAM

  6. PER

  7. NOR

  8. GAS

  9. DEV

  10. ZHO

Verstappen still has not caught the SC.  And he won't. Russell is behind the SC, but is obviously 80 seconds behind Verstappen. Verstappen has all of the field but Bottas, Tsunoda, Latifi, Leclerc and Mick Schumacher between himself and the SC.

03:16 PM

Lap 49 of 53 - McLaren of Ricciardo looking difficult to budge

Possibly stuck in gear... that does not bode well for a racing restart. Only four laps left after this one.

03:14 PM

Lap 48 of 53 - Verstappen has not yet caught the SC

So that means he will not really lose any time in stopping. So it won't give George Russell or Charles Leclerc track position. It might add some jeopardy with a potential restart, but that's if they can get any racing laps in. That is not guaranteed. In comes Leclerc too.

03:13 PM

Lap 47 of 53 - Could this change the complexion of the race?

It might do... but it might not.

03:13 PM

Lap 46 of 53 - YELLOW FLAGS

Ricciardo is out! "I've lost the engine," he says. That will surely be a full safety car...

Mechanics out in the pit lane. Verstappen carries on. What does Leclerc do? It's just yellow flags at the moment, so no real time to be gained.

Now it is the SC.

Russell is far enough behind to come in, and in he comes! Sainz also comes in. 

03:11 PM

Lap 46 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. VER

  2. LEC +16.8

  3. RUS +30.7

  4. SAI +39.4

  5. HAM +64.3

  6. NOR +68.3

  7. PER +73.0

  8. RIC +84.7

  9. GAS  +1 LAP

  10. DEV +1 LAP

03:09 PM

Lap 45 of 53 - Verstappen leads Leclerc by 17.0s

He laps De Vries at Ascari and that sequence has given De Vries a bit of breathing room for the next lap or so. Leclerc currently holds the fastest lap bonus point... but Perez might now be favourite for it.

03:08 PM

Lap 44 of 53 - De Vries now under big pressure from Zhou for 10th

He's lost time to Gasly ahead, now 1.7s. Zhou gets DRs on the Williams but he will soon have to let Verstappen through to lap him.

03:07 PM

Lap 43 of 53 - Verstappen cruising to victory here

The VSC stop worked out well for Ferrari but the main issue was the pace in the Red Bull. Ferrari did give up track position in stopping twice but it would have been a tremendous ask for Leclerc to hold Verstappen off.

03:06 PM

Lap 42 of 53 - Red Bull cars out for a pit stop

Is it for Perez? Yes.

03:04 PM

Lap 41 of 53 - Stroll pulls into the pit stops and retires

A double DNF for Aston Martin after a relatively encouraging run after the summer break.

Verstappen leads Leclerc by 18.5s. The Ferrari has made a bit of time up. But nothing remotely significant.  De Vries, who is closing in on Gasly for ninth, has Zhou behind him within DRS range.

03:02 PM

Lap 40 of 53 - Full order

  1. VER

  2. LEC

  3. RUS

  4. SAI

  5. PER

  6. HAM

  7. NOR

  8. RIC

  9. GAS

  10. DEV

  11. ZHO

  12. OCO

  13. TSU

  14. LAT

  15. MSC

  16. BOT

  17. STR

  18. MAG

OUT: ALO, VET

03:01 PM

Lap 39 of 53 - This doesn't bode well for the remainder of the season

Even with grid penalties, the Red Bull is favourite. That may change at some of the other tracks, but significantly enough? I doubt it.

03:00 PM

Lap 38 of 53 - Verstappen leads Leclerc by 19.3s

Leclerc set the fastest lap of the race but it was only two-tenths faster than Verstappen...

02:59 PM

Lap 37 of 53 - This has not been a Monza classic

You didn't expect it to be, though, did you? Russell driving very well to a podium here. Sainz 17 seconds behind him and with better pace but I can't see him catching the Mercedes, let alone passing him.

02:58 PM

Lap 36 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. VER

  2. LEC +19.9

  3. RUS +24.1

  4. SAI +42.4

  5. PER +46.0

  6. RIC +65.4

  7. HAM +65.8

  8. GAS +67.6

  9. NOR +67.7

  10. DEV  +68.6

Leclerc not making any significant inroads into Verstappen. Pretty much where he was when he came out of the pits.

02:56 PM

Lap 35 of 53 - Slow stop from Norris

5.3s. Has lost him a couple of seconds and means it loses places to Gasly and Hamilton in the pit exit. With a quicker stop he might have even been out ahead of team-mate Ricciardo.

02:54 PM

Lap 34 of 53 - Leclerc gets out ahead of Russell and in second

So, that leaves him 19.1s behind Verstappen in the lead. He needs to find around a second a lap, now. Hamilton stops from seventh and comes out in 12th. De Vries now unto the points. A mixture of tyres out there now.

  1. VER - M

  2. LEC - S

  3. RUS - H

  4. NOR - M

  5. SAI - S

  6. PER - H

  7. BOT - M

  8. RIC - H

  9. GAS - H

  10. DE - M

  11. ZHO - H

02:52 PM

Lap 33 of 53 - Top six 10 and gaps

  1. LEC

  2. VER +5.5

  3. RUS +25.5

  4. NOR +36.2

  5. HAM +41.7

  6. PER +45.5

  7. SAI +46.0

  8. MSC +57.1

  9. BOT +60.9

  10. RIC +62.3

Plan C for Leclerc, which seems to suggest he will be pitting and going onto the softs. In he comes...

02:51 PM

Lap 32 of 53 - Alonso pits for the first time

It's not for a pit stop, though. He's out of the race and that ends his 10-race-long points-scoring run. Never mind. Gives De Vries, in 12th, a better chance of scoring points on his F1 debut.

02:48 PM

Lap 31 of 53 - Verstappen predicted to be in striking distance in 10 laps

The gap now just 7.1s. Sainz comes into the pits and will surely go onto the soft tyres. Will they have them all ready this time? He locks up on the pit entry... Russell assumes third place. A fresh set of soft tyres goes on that should last him until the end of the race.

02:47 PM

Lap 30 of 53 - Verstappen with another fastest lap

Hmmmm.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands steers his car during the Italian Grand Prix race at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022 - AP
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands steers his car during the Italian Grand Prix race at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022 - AP

02:46 PM

Lap 29 of 53 - Verstappen with a significant tyre advantage

Both cars on mediums, but Verstappen's 13 laps fresher. He also has a pace advantage: half a second faster the last time around.

02:44 PM

Lap 28 of 53 - Verstappen with the fastest lap

The gap to Leclerc in the lead closes down to nine seconds. He was a whole second faster that last lap. Russell not too happy with the hard tyres.

02:43 PM

Lap 27 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. LEC

  2. VER +10.1

  3. SAI +18.9

  4. RUS +24.1

  5. NOR +28.9

  6. ALO +34.2

  7. HAM +34.3

  8. PER +43.3

  9. MSC +47.4

  10. BOT +49.5

02:41 PM

Lap 26 of 53 - Leclerc resumes the lead with Verstappen's stop

When it all shakes out he leads the Dutchman by around 10 seconds, a little under. At the half-way stage, Verstappen should be able to make those mediums last the remainder of the race.

02:40 PM

Lap 25 of 53 - Red Bell readying for a pit stop for Verstappen?

Sainz said he wants to go onto the soft tyre. Verstappen has made those tyres last 25 laps and is still lapping in the 1.25.8s.

In comes Verstappen. 

02:39 PM

Lap 24 of 53 - Verstappen leads Leclerc by 13.8s

Sainz a further 16 seconds behind.

02:38 PM

Lap 23 of 53 - Verstappen has won the last four races

Looks very likely to make it five in a row here. Still a fair way to go, though. Alonso wonders whether he has a problem with his deployment. He is said it is all fine. "Wow," he replies. The Alpine not very good on the straights.

Russell into the pits from second, comes out on the hard tyres and behind Sainz and ahead of Lando Norris.

02:37 PM

Lap 22 of 53 - Perez up into ninth with a move on Bottas

Verstappen still lapping quite well, 0.8s quicker than Russell and around two or three off Leclerc. Assuming he will go straight onto the mediums after his stop.

02:36 PM

Lap 21 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. VER

  2. RUS +9.6

  3. LEC* +14.7

  4. SAI +27.3

  5. NOR +35.7

  6. ALO +37.6

  7. HAM +40.0

  8. MSC +50.6

  9. BOT* +51.9

  10. PER +51.9

*Has stopped

02:34 PM

Lap 20 of 53 - A flurry of pit stops just beyond the third of the race mark

Cannot see how Leclerc wins this from here now. Needs a bit slice of luck. Can't see him getting to the end on these tyres and Verstappen's pace on these soft tyres is still very good 20 laps in.

02:33 PM

Lap 19 of 53 - Bit of a DRS train behind Norris now

In come Gasly, Zhou and Stroll. It's not entirely clear if Leclerc is on a one or two-stop penalty. De Vries shown black and white flag for track limits. Hamilton now into the points with that handful of pit stops.

We are entering the window for the one-stoppers from the mediums. Verstappen and Russell still on their softs, though. Verstappen still lapping pretty well. And Russell a fair bit slower, but not atrociously.

02:30 PM

Lap 18 of 53 - Top 15

  1. VER

  2. RUS

  3. LEC

  4. SAI

  5. RIC

  6. GAS

  7. NOR

  8. ALO

  9. DEV

  10. ZHO

  11. HAM

  12. STR

  13. OCO

  14. TSU

  15. MSC

02:29 PM

Lap 17 of 53 - Leclerc with another fastest lap

That was 0.7s quicker than Verstappen. Is he going to be able to get these mediums until the end of the grand prix?

02:28 PM

Lap 16 of 53 - Verstappen leads Russell by 6.6s

He sets the fastest final sector of anyone and is now only 16.6s behind leader Verstappen. That cheap(er) stop under the VSC has worked.

Hamilton now into 11th with a move on Stroll. Quiet-ish afternoon for him so far.

02:27 PM

Lap 15 of 53 - Russell now six seconds behind Verstappen

Leclerc was the fastest man on track. Leclerc is told not to short shift in corner exit. He says "I can't, make the sure engine is right". Yeah.... one of those days again is it Ferrari?

02:24 PM

Lap 14 of 54 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. VER

  2. RUS +5.5

  3. LEC +17.6

  4. SAI +19.9

  5. GAS +21.5

  6. RIC +21.5

  7. ALO +22.1

  8. NOR +23.6

  9. DEV +24.1

  10. ZHO +24.6

02:23 PM

Lap 13 of 53 - Where does Leclerc come out?

Russell also stays out and the VSC ends as Leclerc comes out ahead of Ricciardo and in third.  He manages to keep it. He has gone onto the mediums... will they last until the end of the race? 40 laps on those is a fair ask.

Sainz then scythes his way through Ricciardo at Ascari to move into fourth.

02:22 PM

Lap 12 of 53 - VSC called

That makes sense for now. They may well need to bring out a full SC. Everybody has gone past the pit lane, so nobody can chance a quicker stop. Vettel has parked relatively near a recovery point/gap in the barriers... but people will try to stop.

Ferrari are going to try and double stack... in comes Leclerc but Verstappen stays out... he takes the lead.

02:20 PM

Lap 11 of 53 - Leclerc leads verstappen by 1.4s

Sainz now up to sixth with a move on Lando Norris. Some smoke out of the rear of the Aston Martin of Vettel... but he continues... but not for much longer.

He is told to stop the car and he does so after the second Lesmo. That is yellow flags and I think that will be at least a VSC and possibly a full Safety Car.

02:19 PM

Lap 10 of 53 - Tom Cary reports from Monza

Max Verstappen on the charge in Monza. He does have Sylvester Stallone in his corner, to be fair. The actor was in Red Bull's garage earlier giving the world champion a pep talk. No Newey in Italy, though. Red Bull's comms team rueing the fact they missed an "Adriaaaan" PR opp.

02:18 PM

Lap 9 of 53 - Leclerc leads Verstappen by 1.6s

Verstappen has a pace advantage over Leclerc. It's not enormous but we are only nine laps in... Perez manages to continue. His problem doesn't appear to have worsened but you would expect it to over the course of the race.

Hamilton is now up to 15th, though that is mostly by virtue of Perez pitting. Sainz now up into seventh with am ove on Alonso.

02:16 PM

Lap 8 of 53 - Top 10

  1. LEC

  2. VER

  3. RUS

  4. RIC

  5. GAS

  6. NOR

  7. ALO

  8. SAI

  9. DEV

  10. ZHO

02:16 PM

Lap 7 of 53 - Verstappen with another fastest lap

Only a couple of tenths faster than Leclerc, though. He is now well outside of DRS range of Russell behind.

Perez pits already, which is interesting. He has the hard tyres on but his brakes, I think, are smoking quite badly on the way out. There will be some cooling as he gets up to speed but at low speed it is visible. Could this be a brake fire? I think so, it's the front-right. I am not sure he will be able to make it around to the pits again... he might, though. And he still has to stop the car into some heavy braking zones. Not so much Ascari and Parabolica, though.

02:13 PM

Lap 6 of 53 - Sainz up to 10th now

Perez in 13th. Hamilton still only in 18th. Verstappen around 2.2s away from leclerc but was 0.4s quicker the last time around. He isn't yet more than a second away from Russell in third behind, which is interesting.

Leclerc the quicker man on lap six.

02:11 PM

Lap 5 of 63 - Verstappen into second...

With DRS, he gets a tow too and then launches one into the first chicane. Russell doesn't really fight it too much on the outside, and nor should he. He said yesterday they hurt themselves when they fought with faster cars and he's just going to try for a podium today.

02:10 PM

Lap 4 of 53 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. LEC

  2. RUS +1.5

  3. VER +2.2

  4. RIC +6.1

  5. GAS +6.9

  6. NOR +7.6

  7. ALO +8.7

  8. DEV +9.3

  9. ZHO +10.4

  10. STR +11.8

Russell has his work cut out keeping Verstappen behind for another lap. The Dutchman gets a superb exit out of the Parabolica...

02:08 PM

Lap 3 of 53 - Verstappen closing in on Russell now - 0.8s the gap

I lie about contact. A Haas jumped up in the air, possible contact with Bottas.

02:08 PM

Lap 2 of 53 - Verstappen now into third

It's a move on Ricciardo, without DRS at this stage, on the pit straight and it's a simple one on his old team-mate. It was a relatively clean start, I don't think there was any significant contact...

Hamilton went through the escape road, hence his position at the back. He's now up into 18th, though.

"He just pushed me wide," Russell said after his attempt at Leclerc at turn one.

02:06 PM

THE 2022 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX IS GO!

Decent start by Russell but Leclerc just has the edge heading into the first corner... Russell tries a move around the outside but has to back out and goes across the chicane... he keeps second place and Leclerc keeps the lead.

Poor start from Norris who drops back to sixth... Hamilton is still at the very back and Verstappen is already up into fourth place by Ascari... I think he could be in the lead in the next five laps... Ricciardo is the next man up the road.

02:03 PM

Could be a long wait on the grid for the front row

Wonder if we might end up with a McLaren 1-2 again at some point, given the tyre strategies.

02:01 PM

The formation lap is go

Everyone away cleanly. The sun is shining at Monza and the temperatures are warm.

02:01 PM

Tyre choices in the top 10

Leclerc and Russell both on softs, then everyone down to Verstappen in the mediums. Then Verstappen and De Vries on the softs, Zhou and Latifi on mediums.  Everyone in the bottom 10 then on the mediums but Ocon.

01:58 PM

My colleague Tom Cary has just returned from the grid at Monza

Minute's silence impeccably observed. It then stayed a bit too quiet. Not sure what came through on TV but the speakers weren't on for the national anthem which was a bit of a shame for the crowd. They couldn't hear a thing.

It was the same on TV, which was a big shame for an anthem as rousing as Italy's.

01:57 PM

Just under five minutes to go

Predictions? I think Verstappen may take some stopping. It will probably depend on how his first few laps go and how quickly he can  make his way through those ahead of him.

01:53 PM

Max Verstappen speaks to Sky Sports F1

I think Ferrari this weekend is quite competitive. Realistically P2 is possible but I hope that the wing we chose will pay off in the race. I don't think it's going to be very straightforward. I will be happy if I can finish second. We don't need to win any more but we want to win.

Max Verstappen of Netherlands waves the tiffosis during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 10, 2022 in Monza, Italy - Eric Alonso/Getty Images
Max Verstappen of Netherlands waves the tiffosis during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 10, 2022 in Monza, Italy - Eric Alonso/Getty Images

01:49 PM

Toto Wolff speaks to Sky Sports F1

"It hasn't been our weekend so far, we are lacking real pace. With George P2 it is a matter of the penalties but I think we have a good opportunity from there. We love Nyck he's been part of the family for a long time. He has his own wings now... I hope he can continue to show great performance like he did yesterday."

[On their chances of winning with Russell]

"For the first time this year we weren't really good in the long runs on Friday which makes us think we can't compete with Leclerc and Verstappen, but it can be very different today. "

01:45 PM

F1 observes an impeccable minute's silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II

And then comes the Italian national anthem soon after.

01:44 PM

Will the red cars be able to deliver for the Tifosi today?

 Ferrari fans show their support prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
Ferrari fans show their support prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Making the most of their car has not been a specialism of theirs this year.

01:39 PM

Here is the final starting grid

Quite different to how qualifying ended.

1. LEC 2. RUS
3. NOR 4. RIC
5. GAS 6. ALO
7. VER 8. DEV
9. ZHO 10. LAT
11. VET 12. STR
13. PER 14. OCO 
15. BOT 16. MAG
17. MSC 18. SAI
18. HAM 20. TSU

So, in the top eight you have four drivers who have won at Monza and one who has finished second. Verstappen has never finished on the podium, De Vries has never raced in F1, Zhou is in his debut season and Latifi has not exactly been a raging success. It's often a bit of a frantic and clumsy first couple of corners. Leclerc will want to stay out of trouble... but also really needs to keep the lead if he is to win.

Verstappen should have his car optimised for the race and should also be difficult to stop.

01:34 PM

Hamilton also complaining of issues on the radio

"Experiencing some drops in power."

With 25 minutes until lights out I think he's probably going to be okay. Doesn't sound like an enormous problem and it is also one they often get in races. Not ideal, no, but unlikely to be terminal.

01:33 PM

The pit lane is open

Leclerc complains of his car bottoming on the straights more than yesterday.

Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving (16) the Ferrari F1-75 on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 10, 2022 in Monza, Italy. - Anadolu
Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving (16) the Ferrari F1-75 on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 10, 2022 in Monza, Italy. - Anadolu

01:29 PM

Here is what Pirelli thinks will be the optimum strategy today

With the high speeds on the pit straight you lose a lot of time pitting. Of course, we've had safety cars, red flags and VSCs in the past which changes things. I wouldn't say nobody will try a two-stop, but one-stop is definitely the way to go.

A chart showing the best F1 strategies for the Italian GP - fastest is soft to hard tyres, second fastest is medium to hard tyres and an alternative is soft to medium tyres - Pirelli Motorsport
A chart showing the best F1 strategies for the Italian GP - fastest is soft to hard tyres, second fastest is medium to hard tyres and an alternative is soft to medium tyres - Pirelli Motorsport

01:26 PM

Always good to see a JPS Lotus on track anywhere

Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy - September 11, 2022 Former F1 driver Emerson Fitipaldi drives a Classic Lotus ca - REUTERS
Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy - September 11, 2022 Former F1 driver Emerson Fitipaldi drives a Classic Lotus ca - REUTERS

01:18 PM

Qualifying head-to-heads after Italian GP

01:10 PM

There will be another minute's silence on the grid

The teams, drivers and race officials also did that on Friday before first practice.

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes, Stefano Domenicali, CEO of the Formula One Group, and Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA President, are pictured as Formula 1 holds a minutes silence in mourning of Queen Elizabeth II prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 09, 2022 in Monza, Italy - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes, Stefano Domenicali, CEO of the Formula One Group, and Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA President, are pictured as Formula 1 holds a minutes silence in mourning of Queen Elizabeth II prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 09, 2022 in Monza, Italy - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

12:57 PM

Current constructor standings

  1. Red Bull, 511pts

  2. Ferrari, 376pts

  3. Mercedes, 346pts

  4. Alpine, 125pts

  5. McLaren, 101pts

  6. Alfa Romeo, 51pts

  7. Haas, 34pts

  8. AlphaTauri, 29pts

  9. Aston Martin, 25pts

  10. Williams, 4pts

12:54 PM

Current driver standings: Top 10

  1. Max Verstappen, 310pts

  2. Charles Leclerc, 201pts

  3. Sergio Perez, 201pts

  4. George Russell, 188pts

  5. Carlos Sainz 175pts

  6. Lewis Hamilton 158pts

  7. Lando Norris 82pts

  8. Esteban Ocon 66pts

  9. Fernando Alonso 59pts

  10. Valtteri Bottas 46pts

That is quite the fight for second place. 26pts between four drivers. Shame Verstappen is so far ahead.

12:50 PM

Is it time, then, to change the way F1 applies penalties for engines/parts?

My colleague Tom Cary took a look at the frankly farcical situation at Monza yesterday.

The problem is, however you do it it will in some way be imperfect. It should not affect qualifying in quite the way it does. But then what do you do instead? Add time on after the race? That's hard to understand. Add time on in qualifying? Yes, but at which point of qualifying? Or take penalty points from the team in the championship? Well, Red Bull would just continue to keep changing engines as their points advantage is so large, if a similar situation occurred with the standings as they are.

12:44 PM

The final starting grid will look quite different to that list of times below

A total of nine drivers with various penalties. It should make the start of the race - and hopefully a bit more than that - more interesting than it otherwise would have been, though. Still, I am not sure that should be the main benefit of the grid penalty system.

12:40 PM

Times after qualifying

  1. Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1min 20.161secs

  2. Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:20.306

  3. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spa) Ferrari 1:20.429

  4. Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1:21.206

  5. Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:21.524

  6. George Russell (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:21.542

  7. Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:21.584

  8. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:21.925

  9. Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:22.648

  10. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:21.829

  11. Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:22.130

  12. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:22.235

  13. Nyck de Vries (Ned) Williams 1:22.471

  14. Guanyu Zhou (Chn) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:22.577

  15. Yuki Tsunoda (Jpn) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:22.020

  16. Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:22.587

  17. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin 1:22.636

  18. Lance Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:22.748

  19. Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:22.908

  20. Mick Schumacher (Ger) Haas F1 1:23.005

12:33 PM

Good afternoon F1 fans

Welcome to our coverage for the 2022 Italian Grand Prix from Monza. Yesterday's qualifying session was certainly an intriguing one given the form book for the races since the summer break, but perhaps one not entirely out of sync with how the season has played out throughout the year.

In the end it was Charles Leclerc who nailed his final qualifying lap around Monza to finish quicker than Max Verstappen by about a tenth-and-a-half, but before the end of Q2, it looked very much like the Dutchman had the upper hand yet again.

It is encouraging, in some ways, that Leclerc finished on pole as, with Verstappen's penalty, it gives him a half-decent chance of fighting for the race victory. The issue is how exactly today's race pans out. All season Ferrari have had the edge over one lap before fading in the race. After Verstappen was quickest on Saturday at Spa and then Zandvoort last week, that trend changed.

What is the most likely outcome today? Verstappen starts seventh, and although it is harder to overtake at Monza than it was at Spa - where he charged from 14th on the grid to a dominant victory - the Red Bull driver should still be the favourite.

Why? Because, generally the Red Bull has been faster on Sundays (and recently by some margin) and also because Verstappen has specifically optimised his set-up for race day. Yes, he may find it hard to overtake with a higher downforce set-up but I cannot see it being too much of a problem.

Our best hope is that it gives us a competitive race today but for that to be the case Ferrari probably need to maximise their car's potential with no driver or operational errors and pace to compete with Red Bull. That has not been a feat they have managed many times in 2022.

The past five editions of the race have been well worth watching, but they have largely depending on having two closely-matched cars at the front, or some other unusual factor (the chaos of Pierre Gasly's 2020 win or the unusual set of factors in Daniel Ricciardo's 2021 victory). They are not out of the question this afternoon. The raft of grid penalties throughout the field (more on that shortly) means the opening few laps could at least be interesting.

The race begins at 2pm BST and I will be here for all the build-up, live updates and reaction from Monza.