Formula 1: Leclerc wins in Italy after 'dangerous' defending on Hamilton

Formula 1: Leclerc wins in Italy after 'dangerous' defending on Hamilton
Source: BBC
Date: 08-09-2019 Time: 04:09:57:pm

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc just held on under intense pressure from both Mercedes drivers to win a nail-biting, incident-filled and controversial Italian Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old pushed the rules on driving conduct to hold off Lewis Hamilton through the middle of the race before Valtteri Bottas took up the challenge in the closing laps after a mistake from the world champion.

And there were fresh concerns surrounding Sebastian Vettel after yet another driving error in a long sequence dating back to the middle of last year.

Leclerc's victory was his second in a row, following his maiden win in Belgium a week ago, and Ferrari's first at their home race since Fernando Alonso triumphed in 2010.

Leclerc screamed with delight into his radio as he crossed the line, after a victory that further underlines his status as a major new force in F1.

The 1978 world champion Mario Andretti, who drove for Ferrari at the start of his career and at the end of the 1982 season, said: "Fab win for Charles Leclerc, under pressure all the way. Future world champion for sure."

Eight days after the loss of his friend Anthoine Hubert in a Formula 2 crash in Spa, Leclerc was overcome with intense emotions after the race.

"I have never been so tired," Leclerc said, before switching to Italian and saying: "It was the hardest race" and describing the win as "a dream".