The Formula 1 is back in Monza today for the Italian GP and there are plenty emotions flying around in the Camp of the defending champion, Lewis Hamilton, after setting a new F1 qualifying record Yesterday to go past Micheal Schumacher.
Championship leader, Sébastien Vettel, endured a very difficult time in the heavy rain but got a positive lift at the end ahead of the race after being promoted to start on sixth due to penalties that effectively demoted Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
It’s the Ferrari’s home grid in Italy but the Mercedes team and Force India have had the better tests and qualifying. Lewis Hamilton knows he will be top of the driver’s championship for the first time this season if he can get one over his Ferrari rival and he absolutely needs to take this chance.
More pointedly for Mercedes, the race in Monza is the last high-speed track F1 will be visiting this season and with the subsequent lineup of more intricate grids, that naturally do not favour the Three Arrow till the end of the season, it is a very big chance for Lewis to get the advantage and even he knows it.
“If the race is dry, and I heard that it is, it’s definitely going to help,” Hamilton said. “You’ve got the Force India and Williams that both should be quick on the straight with the Mercedes engines, and obviously Valtteri.
“So hopefully it will make it a bit of a harder day for the Ferraris. But I’ve just got to look forwards and keep my foot down and just go for it.
“I have no idea how it’s going to go but I’m going to try to make sure it’s one of the best days ever.”
Although Mercedes and Ferrari have gone toe-to-toe throughout this season, the contrasting characteristics of their cars have brought about clear advantages for the respective cars in different circuits – Ferrari in Hungary and Monaco with Mercedes absolutely dominating at Silverstone.
Singapore is next up with its tight and twisty circuit which almost certainly favours the Ferrari and Red Bull cars so the onus right now is on Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton especially to make the race in Monza, which obviously is their last clear circuit advantage, count.
Provisional starting grid for the Italian GP
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2) Lance Stroll, Williams
3) Esteban Ocon, Force India
4) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
5) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
6) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
7) Felipe Massa, Williams
8) Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren
9) Sergio Perez, Force India
10) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso
11) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
12) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
13) Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber
14) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
15) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault
16) Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso
17) Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
18) Jolyon Palmer, Renault
19) Fernando Alonso, McLaren
20) Romain Grosjean, Haas