After returning from F1’s summer break this past weekend with the Belgian GP we quickly move on and look forward to the Italian GP coming our way this weekend.
The Italian GP takes place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, which is located within the Royal Villa of Monza park approximately 20km (12.5 miles) North of Milan.
A mainstay on the F1 calendar since 1950 it is one of only 4 tracks currently on the F1 calendar to have hosted more than 50 races, sharing that accolade with Monaco, Silverstone and last week’s host Spa Francorchamps.
Monza is a fast, flowing circuit made up of a series of long straights and chicanes with fast corners such as Lesmo and Parabolica.
The 5.79 km (3.6 mile) circuit has an average speed of 242 KPH (150.8 MPH) it is the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar and with top speeds in excess of 340 KPH (211 MPH) it is most certainly a power orientated circuit often affording it the nickname of F1’s oval race. With this in mind teams like McLaren-Honda, Renault and Red Bull may struggle with overall pace.
The lap record at this circuit is a 1:21.046 set by Rubens Barrichello in the 2004 Ferrari but, as has been the case most of this year, with the updates to this year’s cars expect that time to be beaten.
You can also expect the Mercedes pair to do well here, not only has at least 1 Merc finished on the podium for the last 3 years but Hamilton has had 2 wins and a 2nd place finish in that timeframe.
Another man who seems consistent around Monza as of late is Sergio Perez having had points finishes in each of the last three grand prix and with him doing a decent job this season you wouldn’t bet against him on making it four in a row. Provided he doesn’t have yet another tangle with his teammate Estoban Ocon.
And let’s not forget that this is Ferrari’s home grand prix and they will definitely have a lot of support from the local fans or ‘Tifosi’
We could be in for a bit of mixed grid due to weather forecasts saying that there may be scattered showers on Saturday but hopefully will ease and the track should be dry by race time Sunday
So whether we have another episode of the Hamilton – Vettel saga unfold or a Flying Fin throw a spanner in the works or even a few surprise performances thrown in for good measure. Let’s hope for another thrilling, high octane and blisteringly quick Italian Grand Prix.
Here are the key times for the weekend
Practice 1 – Friday @ 09:00
Practice 2 – Friday @ 13:00
Practice 3 – Saturday @ 10:00
Qualifying – Saturday @ 13::00
Race – Sunday @ 13:00
All sessions are live on Sky Sports F1 with highlight shows available on Channel 4