10/10 Performance for Max Verstappen & Red Bull Racing as the Monza Curse Stands Broken

It’s official: the Monza curse has got nothing on the Flying Dutchman! Or just that the Rosberg curse is stronger. 

For the uninitiated, the Monza Curse is a prophecy where every Monza winner since 2019 has not finished the race at Monza the very next year. 

Meanwhile, the Rosberg Curse is rampant and stronger. Whichever side Nico Rosberg is on (publicly on Instagram and Twitter), you can assume that the team will not have luck on their side that weekend. Don't question the science; it has been proven time and again. 

After the Dutch weekend, where the Tifosi had their hearts broken once again, the Scarlet team seemed to be in a better place than before as they overtook Aston Martin for P3 in the Constructors’ Standings. 

Lights Out

The drama started with an engine failure for Yuki Tsunoda of Alpha Tauri on the formation lap. This resulted in a delayed race start. As this was being taken care of, the drivers were asked to do another Formation Lap, and the lap counter was brought down to 51 from 53. 

When the race eventually started, the starting order was different as Sainz started on pole, followed by Verstappen in P2 and Leclerc in P3. Expectations were that Max would take the lead in the first corner, but that seemingly wasn’t the case as Sainz held him back for 14 laps! This season, it was also the first time that a driver who isn’t Max Verstappen led the race for this long. 

Lap 15 and Sainz’s mistake came together as Max overtook him outside Curva Grande and did not look back. From then on, the real battle was between Sainz, Leclerc and Perez for P2 and 3. Soon after, Leclerc observed that Sainz was struggling with the rears, maybe hoping for team orders to work in his favor. As Ferrari called Sainz in for his pitstop, Albon - or the Monza Minister of Defence - started lighting up the timing screens with his hard tires. 

Track Tactics 

After the first round of pit stops, the battle between the Ferraris and Perez resumed as Hamilton lingered on at the tail-end of points. Perez quickly overtook Leclerc. While this was happening up ahead, Russell was alone and drifting in P5. Albon did all he could to keep Norris away from P6. Further behind, Piastri and Hamilton seemed to be in a battle. 

On Lap 41, Hamilton’s attempted move on Piastri resulted in the pair banging wheels and ending up in the run-off area. Hamilton was awarded a 5-second penalty for this, and it opened up opportunities for Alonso, Bottas and Sargeant, who were in P9, 10 and 11, respectively. 

Come Lap 46, Perez had finally made it past Sainz as the Ferraris battled it out for P3. And battle they did! It only ended when Leclerc locked up in the first chicane on the final lap and gave Sainz room. 

Chequered Flag

By the final lap, the order was almost set. Max, Checo, Sainz, Leclerc, Russell, Hamilton, Albon, Norris, Alonso and Bottas rounding off our top 10. A late battle between Lawson and Piastri over P11 was settled as Piastri picked up a 5-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining advantage. And while the home favorites didn’t get the double podium that the Tifosi dreamt of, it was still one of the Scarlet team’s better performances. 

Max now leads the Drivers’ Championship by 145 points, and Red Bull Racing leads the Constructors’ Standings by 310 points! This weekend was legendary as old records were challenged to make new ones.

Let’s see if the Dutchman can extend it to 11 wins during the Singapore GP weekend. See you then.