Leclerc holds off Mercedes to take victory at Monza

Leclerc holds off Mercedes to take victory at Monza

08/09/2019

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc won a thrilling Italian Grand Prix where he held off the challenges from Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton hustled Leclerc during a remarkable spell of wheel-to-wheel action at Monza - but the world champion was kept at bay.

The 21-year-old registered his second win in as many weeks and Ferrari's first on home soil in nine years.

With 11 laps remaining, Hamilton then made a mistake at the first corner in his pursuit of Leclerc, falling off the road and allowing Bottas to take second.

On fresher tyres, Bottas took over from Hamilton in his pursuit of Leclerc but crossed the line just eight-tenths shy of the Ferrari star.

In contrast to Leclerc's heroics at the Cathedral of Speed, Sebastian Vettel endured yet another torrid afternoon in the sister Ferrari.

The four-time world champion took the chequered flag a dismal 13th and one lap down after a spin at the Ascari chicane on lap six.

Vettel had to stop for a new front wing after he clumsily collided with Lance Stroll in his attempt to rejoin the track following his mistake. He was hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for his part in the incident.

Hamilton's late error allowed Bottas to reduce the championship deficit to 63 points with seven rounds left.

"What a race," said Leclerc. "I have never been so tired. I made a few mistakes, but in the end I finished first so I am very happy."

"Charles did a great job," said Hamilton. "He came under a lot of pressure from Valtteri and I.

"I did the best I could, but following so closely for so many laps, the tyres just went off the cliff. It was not our day."

Leclerc's credentials were tested to the absolute limit as Hamilton hunted the 21-year-old around the high-speed Monza track.

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