The Formula1 World Championship arrives in Monza with Lewis Hamilton leading the standings, followed 17 points behind by Sebastien Vettel. The Silver Arrows have won the Italian GP for the last four years in a row. In this occasion, however, their impressive track record doesn’t seem to do much for their self-confidence.
Vettel’s dominant victory at the Spa-Francorchamps last weekend had everyone finally acknowledging (including Hamilton and Toto Wolff) the superior power of the Ferraris this season. Everyone at Mercedes is visibly worried as this year’s edition of the Prancing Horse has broken the hegemonic reign that the Woking Scuderia has enjoyed since the new V6 turbo-hybrid engines were introduced in 2014. Luckily for us fans…the competition flame has been reignited.
Could Monza be a turning point in the title fight?
Monza, or as it is also known “The Temple of Speed“, is race number 14 of 21 and, in case its nickname left any doubt, it is one of the fastest tracks in the F1 calendar together with Azerbaijan and Mexico. This plays in favour of Ferrari’s raw power. Add to that the high spirits of the Italian team and the advantage of racing at home, cheered on by the passionate red sea of the Tifosi, and the balance is starting to tip in favour of Vettel. It was in Monza that the German driver won his first F1 race and, if he repeats the feat this coming Sunday, it would be the first Ferrari victory at home since that of Fernando Alonso in 2010.
“We know our car best, we have a lot of people onboard telling us how good our car is at which point of the track and at which point of the year,” said Vettel. “We know we have a great car. We have a car that seems to have worked on more or less every track – some better, some worse. We are aware we have a good package but we cannot rest on that. We have to make it happen, Kimi and myself in the car, all the engineering crew at the track, everyone back at Maranello, to try and put everything together.”
Red Bull, for whom Monza is not the greatest of tracks, have decided to upgrade Ricciardo’s vehicle with the new Renault’s ‘spec3’ engine and assume the ensuing grid penalty, so not great expectations there. It might be down to the newly formed Racing Point Force India Drivers, Ocon and Perez, to make headlines again after their very meritorious fifth and sixth positions at the Belgian GP.
By T.C. | Photo: romanzosportivo