Nico Rosberg wins the Belgian GP ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton. Force India, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams all managed to score points in the last race.
Heading into the weekend, it was announced that Kevin Magnussen was cleared to race at the Italian GP following his accident at Spa last week. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/magnussen-cleared-to-race-in-monza/.
Also it was announced on Thursday morning that Felipe Massa will be retiring from Formula One at the end of the season. If you wish to read more about this, then please read my article here:-https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/massa-to-retire-from-f1-at-the-end-of-the-2016-season/.
The Autodromo di Monza circuit is one of the most historic motor racing circuits in the world. It is located near the town of Monza, not far from the Italian city Milano. With special trains, buses and shuttles allow visitors to reach the area easily and quickly.
The track is full of history and the atmosphere here is very nice and with the grandstands are always packed; the fans create a wonderful atmosphere over the Grand Prix weekend. The Ferrari fans, the Tifosi, call the track La Pista Magica – The magic race track.
Monza is a high-speed circuit with a top speed of 340 km/h and an average speed of around 250 km/h. It consists of very long straights and tight chicanes, therefore it is hard on the engine and brakes. Engines are run flat out for nearly 75 percent of the lap, in usually very hot conditions. The circuit is one of the toughest on the cars, as the drivers run the lowest downforce of the season and reach the highest speeds. A car using Monza wings will generate about 25 percent less downforce than the same car with Monaco wings on.
The circuit was officially opened in September 1922 with a road course and a paved oval, Monza was only the third purpose-built motor racing circuit to be constructed after Brooklands and Indianapolis. It was financed by the Milan Automobile Club and was built in only three months by 3,500 workers.
The length of the original Grand Prix track was 10 kilometers, its current configuration is 5.79 kilometers. The Italian Grand Prix will remain at Monza at least until 2016 after a deal between Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the track’s managers was struck last season.
Practices 1, 2 and 3
The main headline from the Practice sessions is that Mercedes and Ferrari look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.
Practice 1 saw Nico Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.22.959 followed closely by Lewis Hamilton with a gap of 0.203 seconds behind, Kimi Raikkonen was in third with a gap of 1.088 seconds behind, Sebastian Vettel in fourth with a gap of 1.348 seconds behind and Sergio Perez in fifth with a gap of 1.691 seconds behind Rosberg.
Romain Grosjean is sixth with a gap of 1.804 seconds behind, Valtteri Bottas is seventh with a gap of 1.826 seconds behind, Max Verstappen is eighth with a gap of 2.023 seconds behind, Esteban Gutierrez is ninth with a gap of 2.154 seconds behind and Daniel Ricciardo is tenth with a gap of 2.161 seconds behind Rosberg.
Practice 2 saw Hamilton tops the timesheet with a time of 1.22.801 followed closely by Rosberg with a gap of 0.193 seconds behind, Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.453 seconds behind, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.626 seconds behind and Verstappen in fifth with a gap of 0.931 seconds behind Hamilton.
Ricciardo is sixth with a gap of 1.202 seconds behind, Alonso is seventh with a gap of 1.458 seconds behind, Bottas is eighth with a gap of 1.498 seconds behind, Grosjean is ninth with a gap of 1.715 seconds behind and Button is tenth with a gap of 1.755 seconds behind Hamilton.
Fifty minutes into FP2, Manor Racing driver Esteban Ocon stopped by the first Lesmo corner with suspected problems with his Mercedes power unit or his electrics. This then brought out the Virtual Safety Car in order for the marshals to recover the car as safely as possible.
Practice 3 saw Hamilton tops the timesheet with a time of 1.22.008 followed closely by Rosberg with a gap of 0.393 seconds behind, Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.938 seconds behind, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 1.141 seconds behind and Bottas in fifth with a gap of 1.492 seconds behind Hamilton.
Massa is sixth with a gap of 1.639 seconds behind, Ricciardo is seventh with a gap of 1.701 seconds behind, Verstappen is eighth with a gap of 1.732 seconds behind, Perez is ninth with a gap of 2.154 seconds behind and Gutierrez is tenth with a gap of 2.026 seconds behind Hamilton.
Within FP3, Romain Grosjean went off the circuit at the Ascari chicane after spinning and his car was in the gravel beeched. This then brought out the Virtual Safety car in order to recover the Haas from the track.
At the end of the session, Jolyon Palmer went off the circuit at the Parabolica corner but was lucky not to hit the barriers.
You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez, or Hulkenberg also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.
However, I think that Williams, McLaren and Force India have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…