The race had almost everything with crashes, penalties and some of the best racing of the season. Oh, and also a podium without Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.
Gasly finished first, 0.415 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, while Racing Point’s Lance Stroll rounded out the podium.
The 24-year-old Frenchman took full advantage of a 10 second drive through penalty for Lewis Hamilton and a red flag after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had a huge crash. Luckily Leclerc walked away from the incident.
While the early stages of the race saw Hamilton race out to a big lead, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen struggled to get going.
But at the halfway point of the race, the race was flipped upside down with crashes and penalties wreaking havoc on the grid.
Sebastian Vettel’s race was over very early as he plowed through a series of signs. He soon called in to his team and said “No more brake pedal, brake line exploded” before limping back to the pits.
It ended a sad weekend for him, but it was just the start of the drama.
Soon after Kevin Magnussen broke down, pulling off just before the pit lane.
His proximity to the pits meant that pit lane was closed with two red X’s flashing and a safety car deployed.
As per usual, Hamilton appeared to be peerless in the race, and had a healthy lead, but looked to pit under the safety car.
The flashing lights were in Hamilton’s field of vision, footage from the cockpit revealed, and he – as well as Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi – pitted while the pit lane was closed.
While the stewards were deliberating their penalties, Ferrari’s nightmare at Monza continued with Leclerc slamming hard into the barriers in a crash Sky Sports’ David Croft said was “horrific”.
The race was soon red flagged. And then Hamilton and Giovinazzi were were handed 10 second drive through penalties, meaning the drivers needed to go through the pit stop process and stop for 10 seconds.
Hamilton was leading as the race was red flagged but when the race returned, he quickly took his penalty and had to come from the back of the field.
Verstappen also retired from the race after an engine issue and with Bottas struggling with pace from the outset, the battle for the win was between AlfaTauri’s Gasly and McLaren’s Sainz.
But while Sainz pushed, Gasly pulled it off, scoring AlphaTauri’s second ever win by just four tenths of a second.
The last time the team won was coincidentally at the Italian Grand Prix in 2008, when Vettel won before he had won his world championships.
For Gasly it was extra sweet to claim his first ever race win after being promoted to the top Red Bull seat before being replaced in mid-2019 by Alexander Albon.
But he also had to deal with the death of his best friend and fellow driver Anthoine Hubert, who was killed at age 22 in a crash at Spa last year.
“Oh my god, what did we just do?” a clearly excited Gasly screamed over team radio. “Oh my god guys, we did it again. Oh my god, yes.”
“Honestly it’s unbelievable,” Gasly said in the post-race interview. “It was such a crazy race and we capitalised on it. I’ve been through so much in 18 months, I struggle to realise this.
“I’ve got no words. This team has done so much for me, now they’re giving me my first win.
“It’s an amazing day. It’s been so long since another French winner. I never expected but this, I’m so happy.”
The F1 world was quick to react to the victory as well.
Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle summed it up perfectly: “David beats Goliath”. He also added that “F1 needs a result like this”.
But while Gasly celebrated wildly with his team, Sainz cut a somewhat disappointed figure.
Despite coming second – his best ever finish – as he said late in the race, “I want this win”.
“I was so close but yet so far,” Sainz said at the end of the race. “I needed one more lap.”
In his post-race interview, he was still downcast.
“It’s incredible I’m disappointed with P2,” he said.”We were very very close. It’s what we deserved. We had a bit of bad luck with the red flag but we’ve been super quick all weekend so I’m happy.
“Especially getting back from P6 to P2, we need to be proud of that, and proud of the pace with the car.”