Ferrari's Charles Leclerc does an impressive Italian job
Ferrari driver fends off Mercedes' challenge to secure second straight win
Charles Leclerc secured Ferrari's first victory at their home Italian Grand Prix since 2010 yesterday, when he resisted race-long pressure from both Mercedes rivals to claim his second successive Formula One victory.
The 21-year-old Monegasque, who dedicated his maiden win the previous Sunday to the memory of his late friend Anthoine Hubert, who was killed in an F2 race a day earlier, was exultant as a vast army of "tifosi" in an estimated crowd of more than 150,000 celebrated deliriously.
"What a race!" said an exhausted Leclerc. "I have never felt so tired in a race. It was so difficult. For me, it is a dream to win here like this in front of the 'tifosi' (fans) - thanks to everyone!"
Leclerc came home narrowly ahead of second-placed Valtteri Bottas and his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who pursued the victor for most of the race until his tyres let him down.
After a late pit stop, Hamilton then claimed the fastest lap of the race.
VETTEL'S UPHILL BATTLE
Leclerc's Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel endured a torrid and disappointing day, finishing 13th after spinning off and taking a penalty for rejoining in a dangerous fashion.
Hamilton apologised to Mercedes and said his tyres "had gone off the cliff". He added: "I'm sorry I wasn't able to pull it off."
The defending five-time champion now leads his Mercedes teammate Bottas by 63 points in the drivers' championship.
Daniel Ricciardo came home fourth ahead of his Renault teammate Nico Huelkenberg, Red Bull new boy Alex Albon, Sergio Perez of Force India and Max Verstappen, who finished eighth after starting from 19th in the second Red Bull.
Local hero Antonio Giovinazzi came home ninth for Alfa Romeo ahead of Lando Norris of McLaren, who continued his impressive rookie season.
The next race will be the Sept 20-22 Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Circuit. - AFP
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX (Top 5)
1 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1hr 15min 26.665sec
2 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.835s
3 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +35.199s
4 Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +45.515s
5 Nico Huelkenberg (Renault) +58.165s
DRIVERS STANDINGS (Top 5)
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 284 points
2 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 221 pts
3 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 185 pts
4 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 182 pts
5 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 169 pts
CONSTRUCTORS (Top 5)
1 Mercedes 505 points
2 Ferrari 351 pts
3 Red Bull 266 pts
4 McLaren 83 pts
5 Renault 65 pts