Pierre took an astonishing maiden Formula 1 victory in a dramatic Italian Grand Prix, leading the second half of the race and withstanding incredible pressure at Monza. Icing on the cake came from the fact this is the team’s home race and also its fiftieth Grand Prix in partnership with Honda.
The win is also very significant as it is the first time that victory has gone to a team outside what is considered the “top three” since the start of the hybrid era of Formula 1 in 2014.
Another interesting stat is that, thanks to the four wins Honda has taken over the past two years with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, Honda is therefore also the only PU manufacturer to have powered two different teams to victory in the hybrid era.
The race got off to a relatively normal start, with Max slotting into seventh after a fight with Lance Stroll in the opening laps and putting pressure on Valtteri Bottas ahead. Further back, Pierre ran tenth and Daniil 11th, while Alex was unfortunate after light contact with Pierre at Turn 1 saw him run wide and drop back in the field.
Daniil had started on hard tyres compared to softs for the other three cars and was well placed in 11th early on, as the opening laps saw Alex overtake Charles Leclerc when he started his fightback.
Scuderia AlphaTauri then pulled off an excellent bit of anticipation strategy by bringing Pierre in for hard tyres when Kevin Magnussen stopped on track, pitting and rejoining before a Safety Car period that saw the pit lane closed for a spell due to the position of the Haas. That move promoted Pierre to third on the road once the rest of the field was able to stop – including Max, Daniil and Alex – but the race was soon halted altogether and turned completely on its head.
Leclerc had a big crash at the halfway point, thankfully emerging uninjured from his Ferrari but with the incident causing a red flag as the barrier at the final corner needed repairing. Teams were allowed to change tyres at this point, with Pierre in third switching to new medium tyres on what was officially lap 26, while Max and Daniil took used mediums and Alex went for hards.
The race was restarted with a standing start and Pierre immediately jumped Stroll off the line to take second place, which became the lead as Lewis Hamilton came into the pits to take a penalty – for pitting when the pit lane was closed – at the end of that lap.
With 26 laps remaining, Pierre pulled away at the front while Max sadly had to retire as we spotted an issue on the power unit. With Alex carrying damage, he was caught in traffic and unable to make progress back into the points, but Daniil was fighting in the top ten.
At the front, Pierre had pulled out a gap but saw Carlos Sainz closing in over the final 15 laps, eventually getting into DRS range. But Pierre judged his race perfectly, making no mistakes under immense pressure and crossing the line 0.4s clear to take an emotional first F1 victory, and our first with AlphaTauri.
Daniil continued his battling drive to the flag and finished ninth to add another two points to his total, while Alex was limited to 15th at the back of a queue of cars as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing estimated he was losing a second per lap in performance due to damage.