By News Team
10th September 2020
With barely time to take a breath following one of Formula One’s most exciting races in many years at Monza last weekend, the circus moves across Italy to Mugello.
Whilst much of the pre-race attention will be on last week’s surprise winner Pierre Gasly and his Alfa Tauri team, Ferrari will also be celebrating their 1000th grand prix start at their home track.
Can we expect more insane Italian action? Or will normal service be resumed? We preview all the action below.
Gasly’s Greatest Day
The first thing we learnt at Monza this weekend is that under the right conditions Formula One can be brilliantly entertaining. It may have taken a Lewis Hamilton penalty for entering a closed pit lane, and a red flag in order to produce it, but Sunday treated us to one of the most enjoyable F1 races in recent memory and re-enforced suggestions that the sport could benefit hugely from a bit of a shake-up in format.
Winner Pierre Gasly, the first Frenchman to win a Grand Prix since 1996, had significant contact with Alex Albon during the first lap and looked to have taken some damage to his Alfa Tauri. However, the team’s decision to pit early paid off and then some when the race was suspended following Charles Leclerc’s heavy crash.
Restarting in third place, Gasly stormed passed Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, who was probably the race favourite at that stage, and took the race lead when Hamilton was forced to take his 10 second stop-and-go penalty. He had to hold off a late charge from Carlos Sainz, but Gasly drove supremely well under pressure to deliver Alfa Tauri’s only second F1 victory. It seems unlikely they can repeat the feat in Tuscany this weekend, with Pierre Gasly currently 100/1 to win the race, but after last week you never know…
With everything the young Frenchman has been through during his short Formula One career, there was barely a dry eye in the house as he sat alone on top of the podium, taking it all in, and simply said: “Wow.”
McLaren Moving Forward
Whilst finishing P2 and P4 is McLaren’s best result since the opening weekend of the 2014 season, there was a twinge of disappointment in missing out on a potential 1-2 finish. They undoubtedly had the second fastest car throughout the weekend, and after the first lap, they had Sainz in second and Lando Norris in third.
Sainz was one of the big losers from the red flag. Without Gasly’s pit stop just before, and the fact that Lance Stroll essentially got a free pit stop by changing his tyres during the delay, Sainz and Norris would likely have been the first two cars home on Sunday.
However, with McLaren’s real battle this season being amongst the midfield runners of Renault and Racing Point, they’ll be acutely aware of their progress towards the front this pack. They’re expecting to be fast in Tuscany too, although it may be difficult for them to keep up with Mercedes this time around.
Ferrari’s Big Day
Whether they like it or not, all eyes will be on Ferrari this weekend as they celebrate 1000 Grand Prix starts in Formula One at their home track. It potentially could not have come at a worse time, with neither car reaching the finish line last weekend at Monza.
Sebastian Vettel suffered an early break failure which forced his retirement, while Charles Leclerc suffered a nasty accident at the Parabolica, as his car stepped out under acceleration. It’s becoming clear that the Scuderia simply don’t have the straight-line speed to even be competitive for points finishes.
Despite the race being hosted at their home base, they’ll struggle to keep cars behind them down the long home straight. They’ll hope they can make Q2 on Saturday and then benefit from anymore crazy Sunday shenanigans should they arise.