Events

Pressure Is On The Red Corner At Monza.

With Charles Leclerc and Ferrari braking through at Spa last weekend, Ferrari has plenty of pressure on them to back up and win at this weekend’s Italian F1 GP. Naturally, expectations are on the home team winning, however the weather forecast for Sunday afternoon locally is for rain. Rain is the great equaliser in motorsport, and should the rain come mid race, leads are negated and strategies are tossed out of the window.

Sebastian Vettel had to play the straight man to a clearly quicker Leclerc, and it’s something the former champ seems to be ok with should the need arise again this weekend. “…I think it serves Charles and I if we push in the same direction, because I believe one day we will have that car and then we can fight it out. From a team point of view, I think the most important thing is that we work together, not against each other. Otherwise it would be a bit of a waste of energy.”

Certainly Leclerc would be happy to have Vettel’s assistance again if he’s to challenge the dominance of Mercedes, and Vettel in turn would look to have he younger driver back him up. Also in favour for Leclerc is his wish to win and be able to celebrate properly for that fact, rather than the tragic circumstance of Spa.

Ferrari was also mentioned this week in the same breath as Lewis Hamilton. The reigning champion is one for loyalty, and he’s well aware of his standing inside the halls of Mercedes. He’s been asked about where he may wish to see out his racing career, and with a contract expiring in the early 2020s, it’s already been mooted tyhat he’ll swap across to Ferrari for his final chapter. However, the man himself says of the chance: “I don’t know if that is at the moment.” Irrespective of which, Hamilton will focus on this weekend and look to extend the current 145 point lead the Silver Arrows have over the Prancing Horse.

What is a certainty is Red Bull working with Max Verstappen to fix his off the line starts. That was evident last weekend, with his Red Bull spinning the tires from the line, and in a desperate try to make up room, Verstappen would hit veteran Kimi Raikkonen. Verstappen wouldn’t disclose what has been worked on, however he hinted at work being done in how the engine engages the clutches in the transmission. Red Bull have also fitted a new engine from Honda, meaning the Dutchman will start from rear of grid.

Verstappen will line up for the second time with Alexander Albon. He impressed in his first run with the senior team, however there was one person relatively unimpressed. Oddly enough it was his former Toro Rosso team mate, Daniil Kvyat. The Russian said: ““He spent 36 laps behind me in a Red Bull Racing car, and he started in front of me as well. I don’t know, maybe in the future he will do better.”

Monza is a circuit that anyone with a love of F1 must visit. With its first F1 race held back in 1950, it’s well regarded as a high speed circuit, thanks to a largely simple layout of straights with just 11 corners. Race distance is 53 laps of the 5.793 kilometer circuit, for a total distance of 306.72 kilometres. The race lap record was set in 2004 by Rubens Barrichello, at 1:21.046.

This weekend’s Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken D’Italia starts with practice at 11:00 local time on Friday September 6. Qualifying commences at 15:00 local on Saturday, with the race scheduled for a 15:10 start on Sunday, September 8.

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David Conole

Dave Conole is the former long-term circuit commentator for Sydney Motorsport Park, has worked trackside at the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne and is self-employed as an automotive content producer.

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