F1 Italian GP Preview - Fireworks in Monza?
The dust has settled on the controversy of Spa between Hamilton and Rosberg. Nico has been given his punishment and Hamilton has vowed to continue business as usual. Words in the media won't do much to dispel the anticipation for more fireworks come Sunday. Fans of the sport will be hoping this fierce rivalry has a few more twists to come.
Daniel Ricciardo was, yet again, at hand to capitalise on Mercedes failings. He was strongly fancied in-play after the second lap collision ahead and he produced an exceptional day for the fans of the Aussie. For the third time, he showed how he can snatch an opportunity when it arises. His car management towards the end of the race to prevent Rosberg surpassing him was very impressive.
This weekend will see the drivers returning to Monza. It is a very high speed circuit with average speeds of around 155mph. Over 75% of the lap is at full throttle with tyres reaching temperatures of 130 degrees. As a result, the brakes are put under an extreme amount of pressure.
Monza is not quite as tough as Montreal on the brakes. However, Mercedes won't be looking back fondly on their experience in Canada. Hamilton was forced to retire and Rosberg to surrender the lead. This after both cars had suffered a brake problem.
Monza's Turn 1 results in the car decelerating from 220mph to 40mph, a stat which will bring back to the surface Mercedes reliability issues. Ricciardo, the expert in profiting from Mercedes failings, is 9/1 to win this weekend's race.
Set up in Monza is very different to that of most others on the calendar. Monza is geared towards a low downforce set-up and teams vary their budget for such a race, as James Allen has discussed this week. Some of the teams competing for the lower places in the Constructor's Championship may have gambled on a good performance this weekend.
Williams have had good results on circuits where pure speed is an advantage. The rain in Belgium probably hindered their progress last week, predominantly in qualifying, but a high speed track may play to their strengths this week. Valteri Bottas is 13/8 to finish on the podium this week.
Qualifying last week saw a raft of money on the outsiders as the conditions came into play. The large downpour before Q1 seemingly brought a lot of other drivers into play. However, it seemed to highlight the weaknesses of the trailing pack and Mercedes qualified two seconds clear of their rivals.
Qualifying has been Nico Rosberg's territory of late. His calm displays on a Saturday have forced many mistakes form Hamilton so far this year. Rosberg still sits 11/8 outsider despite out-qualifying Hamilton in the last seven races.
The weather is again looking very changeable so an exciting weekend could be ahead.
The action starts in-play with qualifying at 13:00 BST.