Gasly surprise Italian GP winner as Hamilton given penalty

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AlfaTauri driver Pierre Gasly of France celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One Grand Prix at the Monza racetrack in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept.6 , 2020. (Jennifer Lorenzini, Pool via AP)

MONZA – AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly claimed an unlikely victory at the Italian Grand Prix after a chaotic race which saw world champion Lewis Hamilton receive a 10-second stop-go penalty and both Ferraris fail to finish at their home circuit on Sunday.

It was Gasly's first-ever win in Formula One. The 24-year-old Frenchman finished 0.415 seconds ahead of McLaren driver Carlos Sainz and 3.358 ahead of Racing Point's Lance Stroll on an entirely unexpected podium. All three drivers had never won a race and each had only one top-three finish to their name.

“This is a loss for Mercedes and the big teams, but it’s a victory for the sport. That was great entertainment today and it was fantastic to see the young guys fighting out front,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said.

Hamilton appeared on course for a comfortable victory from pole position but he was given the penalty for entering the pit lane after it closed to allow crews to clear Kevin Magnussen’s stricken car that had come to a stop nearby

Hamilton, however, kept his championship lead of 47 points, with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas moving into second despite only finishing fifth after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had to retire with a mechanical problem. Verstappen is now 54 points behind Hamilton, who remains favorite to win a seventh title to tie Michael Schumacher’s record.

Hamilton finished seventh, 17.245 behind Gasly, who was emotional as he crossed the line to become the first French winner at any GP since Olivier Panis in 1996.

“It was such a crazy race. The car was fast, and to go through so much in the space of 18 months. First podium last year (in Brazil), now first victory in Monza. I have no words,” said Gasly, who was dropped by Red Bull last year.

Gasly celebrated wildly with his team but then, after the trophy presentation, was seen sitting down on the top spot of the podium alone. He had a moment to reflect on his achievement, as he took a swig of champagne surrounded by ticker-tape.