Martin Brundle: Max Verstappen unstoppable in title charge

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Lewis Hamilton was less spectacular in his progress but nonetheless finished a fine fifth from 19th on the grid, although he didn't look that impressed as he walked through parc ferme as I waited to interview the top three.

It's just a case now of when Verstappen wins the world title, maybe Japan or Austin I suspect, but mathematically he could even achieve that next time out in Singapore.

That will surely have sealed a seat for him somewhere next year. F1 is such a fickle business, it's generally assumed by some that the current intake in F2 and the likes are not that strong, and some teams are looking to reintroduce more established drivers. 'There's not much choice out there' I often hear in the paddock but there clearly is if you give some of them a chance. De Vries brought his Williams alive.

And so to race day. At least the mystery grid promised some charges through the field and we certainly got that with Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton.

What followed was a catalogue of problems which ruined the end of the race, not that Leclerc was going to catch Verstappen it must be said. Sainz may have had a look at Russell for the final spot on the podium.

An early stop under a virtual safety car deployed to move away Seb Vettel's stricken Aston Martin didn't work for Leclerc and he couldn't respond rapidly enough to Verstappen's relentless speed. He was pretty crestfallen immediately after the race despite his second place.

The best of the action from qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza

Instead, for only the thirteenth time if F1 history a race was ended at low speed behind the safety car. It was not the FIA's finest event. It's such a short race there anyway due to the high average speeds, and the fans would have deserved a thriller at the restart.

I must say though that for me a red flag means a very serious incident or something like a cloud burst and a waterlogged track.

There has been an initiative discussed whereby, in the final five laps of a race, if there's an issue of this kind then throw the red flag and have a standing start re-start. We saw this in Azerbaijan last year and it does make for great anticipation and a thrilling finale to a race.

It was painful to watch. The McLaren was stuck in gear so couldn't be wheeled away after Daniel struggled to find a decent service opening. It's an old school track with poor service road access, and eventually a mobile crane arrived to scoop it up.

The best of the action from the 2022 Italian Grand Prix from Monza

With 24 races next season and either three or six Sprint races, F1 clearly needs to get the regulatory allocation of power units and sporting regulations sorted out. In the multi-billion dollar world of F1 it looks ridiculous that the teams appear to be short of engines, which of course they're not.

This is an unacceptable situation because when the fans turn up trackside or switch on their TV sets to watch qualifying, they should reasonably expect that they're watching the race grid being formed. Instead we waited for several hours for the tortuous and complex process of how penalties were applied.

A mixed up grid can make for an interesting race observing drivers making their way through the field, but better still is when the six cars with a realistic chance of winning the race are wheel to wheel in the correct grid places.

Last Updated: 13/09/22 7:03pm

Max Verstappen very quickly made his way up to second place from seventh and the grid, Sainz would gain 14 places to finish in fourth place.

I remember when I was driving in the '80s and '90s that we had a new motor pretty much every day, and top teams would have 60 engines either in build, in use, in transit or in refurbishment, which of course is not sustainable or acceptable either.

I must say seeing the cars file past a recovery vehicle and a suspended F1 car reversing down the track, albeit at safety car speeds, it would have been easy to justify a red flag stoppage.

With seven cars choosing to, or mostly forced to, take penalties for new power unit components and other misdemeanours, for the second time in three races the grid didn't remotely represent the qualifying order.

Nyck de Vries did an outstanding job stepping in on Saturday at Williams for Alex Albon, who needed his appendix removed in a procedure which ended up with a few complications. Hopefully he'll be fit soon.

De Vries qualified well, started eighth after penalties had been applied, stayed out of trouble, and ran with the likes of Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly all race to seal ninth and two world championship points on his debut. And the fans' driver of the day.

And then on lap 47 of 53 the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo, who was having a better run than of late at a track where he of course won last year, broke down at the side of the track.

Sky F1's Karun Chandhok explains why the Italian Grand Prix ended behind the Safety Car and the options available to the FIA in situations like these

We need solutions here because this is a bad look for F1. The initial concept is necessary to stop teams throwing new power units and ancillaries at their cars. Options might include simply giving each driver more power units per season, applying an in-race penalty such as a pitlane drive through to be taken at some point in the race, or giving the teams commensurate financial and championship points pain rather than the drivers having to carry the burden through no fault of their own.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen wins the Italian Grand Prix as the race ends behind the Safety Car

Max claimed his fifth straight victory with ease. I'm not sure Ferrari could have done anything to stop him but once again it appeared that the team relied heavily on their drivers' views on tyre strategies.

The Ferraris and their drivers and crew looked resplendent with heavy yellow accents all around. And they looked fast too in taking pole position.

The red flag can be used as a tool to neutralise a race along with yellow flags, and one of two safety car options. But when the safety car picked up third place George Russell's Mercedes rather than comfortable race leader Max Verstappen, with a bunch of back markers in between, then it really did fall apart.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto was unhappy with the FIA's implementation of the Safety Car regulations in the final stages of the race

Christian Horner admits they would have preferred Max Verstappen to win the race under normal racing regulations, rather than behind the Safety Car


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