Max Verstappen has rewritten the history books by accomplishing a new record: 10 consecutive victories in Formula 1 racing.
The initial stages of the race saw Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz enjoy an early lead, with Verstappen hot on his tracks from lap six. This chase heated up until Verstappen finally secured a superior position on lap 15 when Sainz had a lock-up at Rettifilo and lost out on the exit, offering Verstappen the opportunity to surge ahead on the path to Roggia.
With Sainz out of the picture, Verstappen was free to pull ahead, leaving an intense battle for second place between Sainz and Sergio Perez, another representative of the Red Bull team. The event saw Perez secure the silver position in the closing five laps, while Sainz was left scrambling to shut out team-mate Charles Leclerc in a thrilling race to cross the finish line.
The 2023 Italian Grand Prix did not commence without its share of challenges, with a delayed start due to Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri experiencing a breakdown during the warm-up lap. As the curtailed race started, pole winner Sainz led the way, followed by Verstappen and Leclerc at Turn 1. George Russell from Mercedes launched a robust challenge against Leclerc but failed to unseat him from third place at the Roggia chicane.
Alex Albon from Williams manoeuvred a spot up to sixth at Roggia during the second lap. Another subplot saw Lewis Hamilton on the defensive early on, as his decision to start on hard tyres while the majority opted for medium tyres resulted in him losing a spot at the start, setting him behind McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Verstappen made an impressive push for the lead on lap six but was stonewalled by Sainz, while Perez attempted to thwart Russell’s defences for fourth place on lap eight. Both Perez and Russell overstepped at Rettifilo by lap 14, and despite Perez gaining a lead, he gave up his position promptly.
In an eventful lap 15, a wheel-lock up and a poor exit at Rettifilo put Sainz behind, allowing Verstappen to overtake him on the outside — a mistake that cost Sainz the lead. Meanwhile, Perez managed to sideline Russell at Rettifilo a lap later to firmly establish his claim on fourth place.
Hamilton’s decision to maintain a rubber strategy with hard tyres held him at bay until lap 25. His insistence on this tyre strategy held him in the race for a significant period, even allowing him to lead for a handful of laps till Verstappen swept past him.
Lap 32 saw a wheel-to-wheel combat between Leclerc and Perez at Roggia that resulted in Sainz secluding himself from the Ferrari pair. Meanwhile, an altercation between Norris and Albon at Rettifilo on lap 39 resulted in Norris losing his spot, albeit temporarily. An intriguing clash between Hamilton and Piastri at Roggia led to Piastri seeking out a new wing and Hamilton receiving a 5-second penalty.
Verstappen’s lead extended as the race entered its last 20 laps with Sainz struggling to maintain the gap between him, Leclerc, and Perez. Despite relentless attempts from Perez, it was not until the last five laps that he managed to overtake Sainz, capitalising on the Rettifilo braking zone.
The 2023 Italian Grand Prix also saw Oscar Piastri of McLaren/Mercedes clock the fastest lap, followed closely by Verstappen and Sainz. Amid fast-paced dynamics and a whirlwind of tactical manoeuvres, the 2023 Italian Grand Prix left spectators on the edge of their seats, only reaffirming the exhilarating character of F1 racing.