Haas F1 Team nearly came away with a point-paying finish Sunday in the Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza as Kevin Magnussen finished 11th, one spot shy of the points. Magnussen was running 10th until lap 47 when Max Verstappen in his hard-charging Red Bull angled his way inside Magnussen entering the turn-four chicane. This forced Magnussen wide and off the corner, whereupon Verstappen took 10th and the accompanying point.
Magnussen’s teammate, Romain Grosjean, rallied from last in the 20-car field to finish 15th. A crash during an extremely wet qualifying session on Saturday sent Grosjean to the back of the grid. He employed a two-stop strategy, pitting on lap three and again on lap 34. Grosjean swapped the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires he started the race with for Yellow softs on lap three and also donned a new front wing after contact with the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo damaged the right-front endplate. When Grosjean pitted again on lap 34, he bolted on a new set of Red supersofts that took him to the finish.
Magnussen started the 53-lap race around the 5.793-kilometer (3.6-mile), 11-turn circuit in ninth but fell to 10th as the Force India of Sergio Perez got by on the first corner. But amid the wheel banging that is typical of the first turn of a race’s first lap, Verstappen sustained a flat right-front tire on lap three after a scrape with the Williams of Felipe Massa. With Verstappen forced to pit, Magnussen regained ninth. But Verstappen’s teammate, Ricciardo, was also fast, and he grabbed ninth from Magnussen on lap seven.
Solidly in 10th, Magnussen made his only stop of the race on lap 11, exchanging his Red supersofts for a new set of Yellow softs. He emerged from the pits in 16th, but as the race wore on and pit stops cycled through, Magnussen was back in 10th by lap 33.
He ran strong, deftly holding off and eventually outdistancing the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg and later, the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. All the while, Verstappen was tenaciously regaining lost ground, and he caught Magnussen in the short chute between turns three and four. Once Verstappen was past Magnussen in the chicane, he checked out, leaving Magnussen a safe 11th with a substantial gap over 12th-place Kvyat.
Winning the Italian Grand Prix from the pole was three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver scored his 59th career Formula One victory, his sixth of the season and second in a row. It was his fourth Italian Grand Prix win, second only to Michael Schumacher’s five. Hamilton’s margin of victory was 4.471 seconds over his teammate, Valtteri Bottas. The triumph also allowed Hamilton to take over the championship point lead. He came into Monza trailing previous leader and Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel by seven points, but he now holds a three-point advantage over Vettel.
Thirteen rounds into the 20-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team remains seventh in the constructors standings with 35 points, one point ahead of eighth-place Renault and five points behind sixth-place Toro Rosso and 20 points back of fifth-place Williams. Grosjean and Magnussen are 13th and 14th, respectively, in the championship driver standings. Grosjean has 24 points and Magnussen has 11 points.
Seven races remain in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship, with the next event coming Sept. 15-17 with the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit.
“Stuff happened in the race today, but it didn’t affect me because both Red Bulls got in front anyway. We were just not quick enough this weekend. P11 is probably the best result we could’ve scored. It’s still annoying when you’re running in the points the whole race and then you get done at the end. Max (Verstappen) was a lot faster than me. I didn’t have a great chance of holding onto that point. Nonetheless, there’s no reason not to try. We tried hard the whole race.”