F1: Another Perspective – Speed to be key in Monza Mayhem
In the aftermath of the Hungarian Grand Prix, there was an unusual wealth of topics to discuss after Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both failed to reach the podium.
The summer break came and went, and the Belgian Grand Prix ensured that normal service was resumed. From the very moment Hamilton flew off the grid, bucking a recent (and inexplicable) trend of poor starts from pole, there was only going to be one winner.
Monza is a track which still has an uncertain future in F1, as a proposed share with Sanmarinese circuit Imola was forcibly rejected by Italian officials.
Need for Speed
Monza is famous for high speeds, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has boldly predicted that speeds of up to 365 km/h could easily be achieved during the weekend’s proceedings.
Back in 2005, Jacques Villeneuve reached a sound barrier-busting 375 during a test drive – a record which stands to this day. With Mercedes boasting unrivalled hardware, Villeneuve’s ten-year old record is set to be sternly tested.
Another Mercedes 1-2 is the only foreseeable outcome yet again. Even if Mercedes’ grid start hoodoo was to resurface, there is ample opportunity for both Hamilton and Rosberg to recover and dominate proceedings for the greater part of Sunday.
In the Red
As the closest contender to Mercedes, Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have shown the ability to challenge the leading duo, but only to a finite extent.
The technical team also has much to ponder, having mismanaged Vettel’s output during the Belgian Grand Prix to such an extent that his tyre burst during the closing lap of the race. This turn of events not only denied the four-time champion a podium finish, but also endangered his life.
Having experienced such an ignominious and life-threatening end to the Spa race, Vettel will have little choice but to re-employ his undying shrewdness as a driver if a speed-focused race is out of the question. Vettel’s only hope lies with his ability to exploit any mistake made by Hamilton or Rosberg, but with Hamilton apparently back to championship form this appears to be a moot point.
In Formula One, the end always justifies the means and maybe, ahead of this race, Max Verstappen’s most venomous critics will have the good sense to project their scorn elsewhere.
Such is the 17-year old’s determination to rack up an impressive tally of points in his debut season, he saw fit to overtake Felipe Nasr on the outside at Blanchimont to move into the points-scoring zone. This was an unprecedented maneouvre which served to boost his fortunes at Spa.
All eyes will again be on Verstappen at Monza – a circuit at which he should certainly thrive and pick up more points in what is becoming a revelatory season for the young rookie.
For live updates of the Italian Grand Prix, visit Motorsport24.com – race begins at 12pm UTC on Sunday, September 6.