In one word, the 2023 Italian Grand Prix was simply ‘extraordinary’, and there is no denying Monza yet again lived up to its massive expectations, producing one of the best races of this season. Of course, there were a lot of DRS trains forming across the grid, which initially seemed to be hampering the excitement that was in store. However, then arrived the diabolical duel between the two Ferrari drivers, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.
Despite finding himself trapped behind his teammate, Leclerc engaged in what was arguably the best battle for a podium this season. As the cars inched their way towards the chequered flag, the battle for P3 began heating up and almost exploded on the very final lap of the race when Leclerc nearly rear-ended his teammate, going into the first corner, braking from a top speed of over 215 mph.
The incident happened barely seconds after the Monegasque’s race engineer advised against racing his teammate, and instead working on bringing his car home in one piece. Of course, competing at the home of Ferrari, Leclerc was never going to fall for such team orders and instead went after the big prize.
The cooldown room: Monza edition 🇮🇹
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 5, 2023
In the hopes of snatching the P3 from Sainz, Leclerc ended up smoking his tires completely, as the two drivers strolled their way to the chequered flag with absolutely no rubber left on the tire. Then arrived the criticisms, as many accused Leclerc of nearly taking the two Ferrari drivers out of the race. However, here’s something interesting! It was actually Sainz who almost became the antagonist.
Bizarre last-lap move on Charles Leclerc leaves a stain on Carlos Sainz’s hard-earned podium
While it seemed like Leclerc misjudged the braking point and ended up locking his tires, it turns out the lock-up happened because of Sainz, who quite evidently moved under braking. Replays caught the Spaniard moving from side to side under braking which left Leclerc quite bewildered, as the pair almost ended up recreating the infamous Baku incident between then-Red Bull teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
— Charles Leclerc 16 Fan page 🇲🇨 (@Cl16__FanpageFr) September 4, 2023
Upon seeing the unseen footage, quite a lot of fans were displeased with the FIA for ignoring what was a blatant break of rules. One fan wrote, “Give Sainz a penalty for moving under breaking I’m so mad this guy is a joke.” Thankfully, both drivers orchestrated an afternoon of hardcore but clean racing. However, let’s hear from you – Does Sainz deserve a penalty?