Fourth Place in the Sprint
As expected, Max Verstappen and Red Bull convincingly won the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. The Milton Keynes-based team also achieved their sixth double podium finish of the season, thanks to Sergio Perez’s comeback from fifth to second place, overtaking both Ferrari drivers, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, on the track. However, the two Maranello drivers put on a thrilling show in the final laps for fans and enthusiasts, literally racing for the third step of the podium. In the end, after a series of exchanges over several laps, it was the Spaniard who crossed the finish line first.
Derby and Enjoyment
Speaking to journalists after the race, Charles Leclerc did not express much regret about missing the podium. Instead, he emphasized how enjoyable and fun the internal Ferrari duel had been. “This is exactly what races should be,” stated #16, who had previously won at Monza in 2019. “In the past, I had similar battles with Max, and today, even with Checo, we pushed each other to the limit. The same goes for Carlos; we pushed to the limit. Inside the car, it was a lot of fun, and we still managed to maximize the points for the team.”
Charles Leclerc wanted to highlight that both he and Carlos Sainz were aware that they shouldn’t push the challenge too far: “We were both on the edge of the rules,” the Monegasque driver emphasized. “He in defense, me in attack. It was crucial for both of us to be on the podium in front of the fans. But at the same time, both of us knew how important it was for them to have a red car on the podium, regardless of which one it was. I had fun. Maybe only the team and the fans had less fun.”
Unbeatable Red Bull
Staying ahead of the two Red Bulls was not possible, Charles Leclerc confirmed. The RB19 was much more performant, allowing not only Max Verstappen to celebrate his 10th consecutive victory but also Perez to climb from fifth to second place. Regarding the perfect season the Austrian team is having this year, Charles Leclerc commented, “Is Verstappen’s domination boring? There has always been some form of domination in this sport; it’s part of Formula 1. Certainly, if a different driver won every race, it would be more spectacular, but that’s how it is. They are doing a great job now, and they deserve to be where they are,” he concluded after the Italian Grand Prix.
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