The Day After: A Home Hero

Fending off two hard-charging Mercedes to earn Ferrari’s first home win since 2010, Charles Leclerc further cemented his superstar status at Monza on Sunday.

And thus the meteoric rise of Charles Leclerc continues.

A week after winning his first formula 1 race at Spa, the Monegasque followed it up with his second at Monza, and what a win it was.

To hold off two Silver Arrows on faster tyres, both well-within DRS range at a track where passing is entirely possible, is a momentous feat, even if it wasn’t the cleanest of drives.

Yes, you can make the case Lewis Hamilton in particular was a little hard done by when Leclerc was only shown a black-and-white flag for forcing him off at the della Roggia chicane, but as FIA race director Michael Masi said afterwards on Sky, that slap-on-the-wrist was a direct result of the “let them race” philosophy the entire paddock had lobbied for.

More importantly, it will be fascinating to see how this win affects the ongoing number-one driver drama at the Scuderia. With Seb Vettel still ahead of Leclerc in the driver’s standings (correction – Leclerc leads by 13 points) and eight seven races to go in the season, I don’t want to go proclaiming a changing of the guard too early, but boy does Sunday make that hard. If you were a complete ignoramus watching that race and saw their contrasting performances, you certainly wouldn’t pick Vettel as deserving of ‘most favoured’ status, let alone a four-time world champion.

Making things worse for the German, Leclerc’s drive is one of those standout memories we at home, the tifosi in the stands, and indeed all the bigwigs in the Ferrari garage won’t forget any time soon. Unless Vettel reels off a 2010-’13-esque late-season charge, this is going to be the most important result of Ferrari’s season – it’s hard to overlook the driver who earned it.

Quick Hits

Interesting to see Nico Rosberg offer to tone-down his criticism in the wake of Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s comments. Personally I think it’s a disappointing move, which suggests he either can’t handle the backlash, or lacked conviction is his comments to begin with.

I love that Kimi Raikkonen’s post-race comments begin with: “Well that was a shit weekend.” Seriously though, how do you start with the wrong tyres? Someone get them a rulebook.

Not such a good follow-up performance for Alex Albon after his strong showing in Spa last weekend. Starting P8 and only gaining two places while still stuck behind the Renaults is, dare I say it? A bit Gasly-esque…

Driver of the Day: Sergio Perez

Came from 18th on the grid to P7, while holding off Max Verstappen in the process. Undoubtedly the Mexican’s best drive so far this season.

Worst of the Day: Sebastian Vettel

Spun entirely of his own accord at the Ascari chicane, then compounded his mistake by clipping Lance Stroll as he re-joined the track. Exactly what you don’t want from a number one driver.

Quote of the Day:

“It seems like the new generation get away with a lot more in that ‘space’ of how they manoeuvre their car compared to the more experienced drivers. But it’s good knowledge – now I know, and yeah… [I] look forward to the next one.” – Lewis Hamilton. The gloves are now off, it seems.