All might be forgiven if Ferrari wins at Monza. It’s been a season to overlook for the tifosi, because the staff from Maranello has elevated snatching defeat from the jaws of victory to an artwork kind. If there’s a single path to redemption for the Scuderia, it runs by way of Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
The Italian Grad Prix is exclusive and historic and distinctive amongst Formulation One races. It’s successfully the Ferrari Grand Prix, however it will be awkward to call a race after a constructor. Whereas Monza can also be thought of a house race for Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri, the previous is definitely a Swiss staff (Sauber), and the latter is extra Austrian (Crimson Bull) than Italian. No, Ferrari lays sole declare to the Italian Grand Prix, and that’s what you see all through the stands: a sea of rosso corsa (racing crimson).
Personally, that is the race I most need to attend as each journalist and fan. I’m not an F1 partisan. Whereas there are groups and drivers for which I’m an even bigger fan than others, I’m extra a fan of the game. In the case of the fabled Temple of Pace, although, I’m a diehard Ferrari fan. Subsequent to profitable the championship, there’s nothing higher than a Ferrari win at Monza, as Charles Leclerc did in 2019. Coincidentally, I take a look at drove the unimaginable Ferrari Superfast the day after that historic victory, and it was the identical yellow as this 12 months’s hearth fits. If I ever get the possibility to expertise the Italian Grand Prix, I’ll be sporting a Ferrari jersey and hoping to storm the monitor when the house staff takes the checkered flag in victory.
Alas, does Ferrari look poised to ship this 12 months and redeem its 2022 marketing campaign?
We head into the Italian Grand Prix in a lot the identical manner we entered Spa…with a bevy of grid penalties, triggered by new energy items and the like, that can shake up the order. There are 9 in all together with Verstappen, Perez, Sainz and Hamilton. That is splitting up the highest three groups on the grid, which might be fairly the conundrum for staff strategists.
Shortly earlier than qualifying, Alex Albon was identified with appendicitis. The Dutchman Nyck De Vries was tapped to drive for Williams in his place simply hours earlier than the beginning of quali. Regardless of my hopes, it seems as if Riccardo will take a season off and probably be a part of Mercedes as a reserve driver. De Vries was a front-runner to take Latifi’s seat for 2023, assuming it didn’t put Williams an excessive amount of into the crimson (financially). Given F1’s surge in recognition, one would assume the staff may appeal to professional sponsors (versus these shopping for a seat) to make the staff worthwhile. Why not promote the naming rights? Why is the staff nonetheless known as Williams when it’s owned by an American PE agency? At any fee, De Vries handily out-qualified Latifi, incomes a spot in Q2. And he’ll begin from P8 after the entire penalties.
It wasn’t wanting good for Ferrari in FP3, when Verstappen topped the time sheets, after which the championship chief put within the quickest Q1 time with Leclerc and Sainz trailing by three and 4 tenths, respectively. Haas and Aston Martin had been eradicated in Q1, and Bottas barely made the reduce in 14th. He was three tenths off of his teammate, however he’s additionally taking a grid penalty for a brand new energy unit.
Sainz got here out in Q2 and set the quickest time on lap one. The tifosi went nuts. He was almost 4 tenths away from Verstappen and eight tenths away from Mercedes. Leclerc then went second on his following lap, placing Ferrari one and two as we acquired prepared for Q3. Bottas, De Vries, Zhou, Tsunoda, and Ocon had been eradicated. The shock efficiency got here from Danny Ric with a lap time simply hundredths off his teammate, which earned a spot in Q3. The McLarens are wanting aggressive, and neither has a grid penalty.
Workforce ways got here into play for the ultimate lap of Q3, as Sainz set as much as give Leclerc a tow, and Hamilton did the identical for Russell. After the primary lap, Sainz and Leclerc led Verstappen, Perez, Russell, Norris, Hamilton, Riccardo, Gasly and Alonso. Yep, the tifosi went nuts, as Sainz was on provisional pole. Beginning the ultimate lap, the 2 Ferraris had been main the procession with inexperienced and purple sectors. Verstappen was proper behind them doing the identical. It appeared Leclerc had the sting with a slipstream from Sainz. Leclerc’s time put him on provisional pole forward of Sainz. Will Verstappen greatest it? No! However he did break up the Ferraris with a 0.145 hole to Leclerc. Yep, the tifosi went nuts! You might really feel it by way of the tv, as Ferrari secured its twenty second pole place at Monza.
What may this portend for Sunday’s race? Leclerc and Russell begin on the entrance row with Norris and Riccardo proper behind them. Verstappen begins seventh alongside De Vries within the first race of his F1 profession. They’ve Alonso and Gasly on the row forward of them. Sainz and Hamilton are 18th and nineteenth respectively. Verstappen’s first lap at Spa was one thing to behold. His passing was spectacular however extra so the way in which he stayed out of bother. The primary chicane at Monza is infamous for contact, because it’s maybe probably the most difficult braking zone on the F1 calendar, and the vehicles are stuffed with gasoline on chilly tires. For Verstappen, it’s about overtaking Gasly and Alonso whereas avoiding contact from Latifi and Zhou behind him. This must be spicy.
Within the entrance two rows, Russell will need to problem Leclerc into flip one. The 2 McLarens will problem each other, as Riccardo has nothing to lose, and so they’ll every need to make the most of a gradual begin from both Leclerc or Russell. Will there be contact into flip one? I’d say the percentages are higher than even. Will Ferrari take the win? These odds are in all probability lower than even, although it’s the end result most the F1 universe might be rooting for. And the tifosi will go nuts.