For motor racing fanatics who are all about raw speed, there are few more exciting weekends on the calendar than when Formula One heads to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.
The iconic circuit is renowned for its scintillating straights, which often give rise to some thrilling action. Lewis Hamilton is the man who’ll be hoping to capitalise on what is a venue primed for the faster teams, with the Mercedes man looking to build on his win at Spa last time out and extend his lead in the individual standings.
But a circuit dubbed the “Cathedral of Speed” is a venue that has sprung many a shock down the years, and the tifosi will be desperate to see a strong performance from the Ferrari pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Here’s all the key viewing details ahead of the race and a preview of the action to come.
|Italian Grand Prix: Schedule|
|Friday, Sept. 4||9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.||Free Practice 1|
|Friday, Sept. 4||1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.||Free Practice 2|
|Saturday, Sept. 5||10 a.m. - 11 a.m.||Free Practice 3|
|Saturday, Sept. 5||1 p.m. - 3 p.m.||Qualifying|
|Sunday, Sept. 6||1 p.m.||Race|
|Team||Driver 1||Driver 2|
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg|
|Red Bull||Daniel Ricciardo||Daniil Kvyat|
|Ferrari||Sebastian Vettel||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Lotus||Pastor Maldonado||Romain Grosjean|
|McLaren||Fernando Alonso||Jenson Button|
|Force India||Nico Hulkenberg||Sergio Perez|
|Sauber||Marcus Ericsson||Felipe Nasr|
|Toro Rosso||Max Verstappen||Carlos Sainz Jr.|
|Williams||Valtteri Bottas||Felipe Massa|
|Marussia||Will Stevens||Roberto Merhi|
Action is live on NBC (US) and Sky Sports F1 (UK)
Hamilton Chasing Seventh Win of the Season
The reigning world champion was serene all weekend in Belgium last time out and coasted to an easy victory on race day ahead of team-mate and nearest challenger Nico Rosberg.
Recent memories from Monza will be positive for the Brit. After all, a win here 12 months ago was key to Hamilton going on and winning the world title. Andrew Benson of BBC Sport touched upon some potentially positive omens ahead of the weekend’s racing getting under way too:
The Mercedes man has won here on two occasions previously and revealed that the trip to Italy is one of the highlights of the season, per the Formula One website:
It’s an awesome track - so fast and with some of the most passionate fans you’ll see anywhere in the world. ... Fast, but really technical at the same time with some heavy braking and big kerbs to ride for the best line. Racing in Italy brings back a lot of good memories for me and I’d love to add to those this weekend, so that’s the aim.
Chasing him down is likely to be Rosberg, who needs something to get back into the title race. It’s not quite happened for the German as of yet this year, with only glimpses of his potential coming to the fore. But a win here would set up a thrilling run to the line in terms of the world championship.
He became a father in the build-up to this race, too, as he revealed to his Twitter followers. Perhaps that’ll push him on to great things:
The Italian fans will be hoping to see a Ferrari star on top of the podium, and Vettel is their best chance of a home winner. The German was set for an easy third place in Belgium last time out, but his tyre burst two laps from home, handing the final spot on the rostrum to Lotus' Romain Grosjean.
Vettel, a four-time world champion, will need a bit more luck to secure first position on Sunday at a venue where he notched his maiden win in Formula One. In the past, the German has been on the end of some jibes from the tifosi, but he is hopeful that donning the iconic Ferrari red will change the opinions of the home crowd, per GrandPrix247.com:
I was never very popular at Monza. Hopefully this weekend I will resolve those issues. When I won again with Red Bull I was just as happy but then I was booed.
It was then I realised what a big difference this track is when it comes to what car you take to victory at Monza. So I am happy now that the Tifosi are supporting me.
Two men very unlikely to be sampling victory are McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. A rotten season for the team looks set to continue at Monza, with both drivers to start from the back due to engine penalties, per Benson of BBC Sport.
They actually have a pretty prestigious record here, too, as noted by the Formula One Twitter account:
Mercedes will surely add to their haul of Monza wins this weekend. Granted, this is a circuit that is prime for overtaking and can churn out surprise results, but in the main, the cars with the most impressive raw speed come out on top. It’s Hamilton and Rosberg who’ll be in the cockpit of those.
The reigning world champion looks a bit too good for the rest at the moment and, barring incident, should race to victory ahead of his team-mate. Vettel is comfortably the third-best in the field at this juncture, and if his tyres stay intact, he’ll get on the podium too.
Prediction: 1. Hamilton, 2. Rosberg, 3. Vettel