F1 races are like buses – you wait ages, then two come along at once! Following swiftly on Belgium’s heels is the Italian Grand Prix, held at another of Formula 1’s classic venues – Monza.
There’s nowhere on the calendar as fast as Monza. With long straights and mild curves, this is where the engines get to stretch their legs, and the drivers get to put their foot down. With the 2017 regulations producing some of the fastest F1 cars ever designed, we could be in for some supreme displays of speed here. The rundown to the opening chicane has produced high drama in the past, and could well do so on Sunday, given the approach speeds of clusters of F1 cars. A similar approach follows to turns 4 and 5, and the Curve di Lesmo looks slower than it actually is – with the increased downforce of these cars, it may well be taken nearly flat out.
This then takes us down the Curva del Serraglio, one of two DRS zones, so not only is it a fast run toward turns 8, 9 and 10 (itself a nippy sequence), but with DRS open it could prove to be particularly tricky. Getting a good exit is vital here, in order to get hard onto the power down the final straight, before the trickier-than-it-looks Curva Parabolica, which takes us to the start/finish straight. Rinse and repeat.
There is a lot of history here, and Ferrari fans will be out in force. Ferrari’s factory is not far away, so this is very much a home race for them, but in terms of raw engine power, Mercedes still have the edge. The signs from the first practice sessions are that Mercedes are very quick here, with the Silver Arrows appearing to be faster on slower tyres. Hamilton needs to win here, to at the very least tie the score with Vettel, as the next round – Singapore – will favour the Ferraris. It’s very much a crucial race on Sunday.