The Critic's Corner.
    Points of Note in this article... Both McLaren drivers used the same medium to hard strategy that was adopted by the majority of the field, but Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes also showed what was possible with the opposite strategy.
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    ¤ McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo won a dramatic Italian Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Lando Norris, in a race that was characterised by a collision between title contenders Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) on lap 26, which brought out a lengthy safety car.
    ¤ Both McLarens used the same P Zero Yellow medium C3 to P Zero White hard C2 strategy, stopping only once. This was the most popular strategy used during the race.
    ¤ The highest-placed driver to use an alternative strategy was Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who started from the back following an engine change (despite claiming pole in Friday's qualifying) and ran an opening stint on the hard tyre before switching to the faster medium at the end of the race. As the only driver in the top 10 to be running the medium tyre in the closing stages of the race, he was able to make the speed advantage count, eventually finishing third. Hamilton was on a similar strategy, prior to his retirement.
    ¤ The sprint qualifying format in Italy meant that all drivers had a free choice of tyres at the race start. All the drivers chose the medium C3, apart from Mercedes, Alfa Romeo's Robert Kubica, and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, who decided to start on the hard C2.
    ¤ The weather was warm throughout the 53-lap Italian Grand Prix, with ambient temperatures of around 30 degrees centigrade and track temperatures in excess of 40 degrees, practically right up to the end of the race.



    ¤ HARD C2: This compound was a key ingredient to the race, with the vast majority of drivers using it for the final stint. One notable exception was Bottas, who used it at the start of the race to eventually climb to third by the finish. The warm temperatures today helped to favour this compound, which allowed drivers to push to the maximum with almost no degradation. Ricciardo also claimed the extra championship point for fastest lap on this compound, on the final tour.
    ¤ MEDIUM C3: Another essential tyre to the race, used mostly in the first stint. This compound showed a very good balance between degradation and performance.
    ¤ SOFT C4: The only driver to run this compound during the race was Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, who made three pit stops. Conditions were generally too warm to make the most of this tyre.



    Prema driver Oscar Piastri won the feature race from pole, which contains a compulsory pit stop, after a 30-lap encounter that was characterised by multiple safety cars. This was also a reason why tyre wear and degradation were not really a factor. Most drivers started on the P Zero Red soft tyres and then switched to the P Zero Yellow medium on lap eight, taking advantage of a 'free' pit stop during the second safety car. Carlin's Dan Ticktum gambled on the exact opposite strategy: taking a long 22-lap initial stint on the medium and then switching to the soft, hoping for a late safety car. He got his wish with eight laps to go and was able to convert eighth on the grid into third at the finish, having overtaken eight cars after making the most of the extra speed of the fresh soft rubber. The race ended under a fourth and final safety car, with second place for UNI-Virtuosi's Guanyu Zhou (from third on the grid) meaning that he trails Piastri by 15 points in the title race.



    "Both McLaren drivers used the same medium to hard strategy that was adopted by the majority of the field, but Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes also showed what was possible with the opposite strategy. The performance of the hard tyre here was underlined by the fact that Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest lap on the final lap, having managed the race perfectly since the restart. Today's warm weather certainly favoured the hard and medium compounds, which both showed minimal degradation, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, it was a bit too warm for the soft to show its speed advantage.

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