Max Verstappen’s winning streak rolled on at the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix on Sunday as the dominant driver picked up his fifth consecutive win and his sixth straight podium.
Verstappen is now within striking distance of his second consecutive F1 points title with six races remaining. He holds a 116-point lead over Charles Leclerc, who finished second after another questionable strategy decision during the race. Verstappen could clinch the title next month in Singapore.
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The win at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza was Verstappen’s first podium of his career at the iconic track. His previous highest finish was fifth in 2018. He started the race in seventh but multiple grid penalties to drivers in front of him made it easy to work his way up and by the fifth lap he was leading.
In Lap 12, the Virtual Safety Car came out when Sebastian Vettel dealt with a power issue.
Leclerc was brought into the pits for a tire change, which allowed Verstappen to gain the lead. Seven laps later, Leclerc was back in the pits after had taken the lead from Verstappen. He rejoined the race in third place and moved his way up to second – where he would finish.
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“The end was frustrating, I wish we could have had a bit of a race,” Leclerc said after the race, via Reuters. “It’s a shame, but I gave it all today. I wish I could have won in front of the amazing Tifosi (fans) but I just couldn’t today.”
The race came to an anticlimactic end when Daniel Riccardo’s car stalled out on Lap 47.
A safety car came out and a final lap for the victory never came to fruition. Verstappen would finish first under caution with Leclerc in second and George Russell in third.
Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.