It was Verstappen’s fifth straight win and his first at the Italian Grand Prix – much to the chagrin of Ferrari fans who packed Monza and were hoping for a Leclerc win.

The Dutchman now leads the driver standings with 116 points and could mathematically wrap up the title at the next race in Singapore.

Boos rang out around Monza as Sunday’s race ended behind a safety car after Daniel Ricciardo came to a halt on the track with five laps remaining.

It meant Leclerc, who was trailing Verstappen after making an extra pit stop, was unable to challenge his rival in the closing stages.

Throughout the race, however, it became apparent that Verstappen had the top gear after climbing from seventh on the grid.

“It was just to control the gap at the end when the safety car came out,” Verstappen said in his post-race interview. “Unfortunately we didn’t have a restart, but overall we had a really good day again.”

The Red Bull driver had to serve a five-place grid penalty after taking on a new powertrain component, but he quickly made light work of the drivers between himself and pole-sitter Leclerc.

He had moved into second place ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell on lap five, then moved into the lead as Leclerc pitted when a virtual safety car was deployed on lap 12.

Dutch GP: Max Verstappen strengthens his grip on the Formula 1 title with home victory

Verstappen himself swapped tires on lap 26 to restore the lead to Leclerc, who pitted for the second time seven laps later. This gave Verstappen a lead of around 20 seconds, and his victory was finally confirmed when the race ended behind the safety car.

“The start was very good, I had a clean chicane,” added Verstappen. ‚ÄúThen I was able to quickly find my rhythm and move up to second.

“It was really good on the tyres, it was really nice to drive today even though it was quite hot there. A great day for us.”

A solid run for Russell saw him complete the podium behind Leclerc, while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, both of whom started from the back of the grid following powertrain penalties, surged through the field to finish fourth and fifth.

Despite his bold performances, Hamilton is now mathematically incapable of winning the F1 title as he sits an unassailable 167 points behind Verstappen in the standings.

Williams’s Nyck de Vries, a late replacement for Alexander Albon who is undergoing treatment for appendicitis, finished ninth on his F1 debut and received the Driver of the Day award.

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