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Italy Preview- Magnificent Monza

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F1 Fans at Monza

The morning after

Hamilton VS Rosberg

Hamilton VS Rosberg

The dust is now settling after the Belgium Grand Prix, where a can of worms blew open at Mercedes.  What is fact is that Nico Rosberg hit Lewis Hamilton at the beginning of the race and caused him a puncture, the rest is up in the air.

Rosberg, apparently, later admitted it was deliberate but it is more likely something has been lost in translation. The world of sport has now become gripped with this fascinating title battle, and it continues this weekend.

Monza, a historical, emotional and beautiful circuit, means so much to Formula One. The fact that it may not be around for much longer is a travesty and those in control must do all that they can to preserve it. It’s long straights and tight chicanes don’t make for a technical challenge, but it is the fastest track on the calendar. Cars are expected to reach 350km/h this weekend.

This will suit Mercedes perfectly, as it is the ideal setting to shake off Daniel Ricciardo, who has crept up on them in recent races and is now a contender for the championship. Red Bull should struggle, as they often do on circuits like this as their lack of straight line speed hinders them. Rosberg and Hamilton have been given a firm warning not to clash, but in Monza’s tight chicanes that could be a problem.

However much Mercedes try to control these two, it will surely spill over again. There is too much bad blood now. After their spat in Monaco, they were “friends” again. Not anymore.

 

Felipe Massa, Williams FW36

Felipe Massa, Williams FW36

Williams will be hoping that they do run into each other so they can take advantage, like Ricciardo has been doing of late. Their car is built for a track like this and they could be very close to the Mercedes pair. Other Mercedes engine users, McLaren and Force India, should be set for some good points.

The track

Blink and you’ll miss it. 53 laps of Monza takes about an hour and a quarter and is the fastest race of the year. Why they haven’t extended the number of laps is puzzling, because we want to see as much of this great venue as possible.

On Sunday afternoon, this circuit in northern Italy will be a sea of red. Unlike in other countries where we support our home drivers, Italy supports a team. Ferrari.

When Ferrari does well in Italy, the noise and passion is unrivalled anywhere in the world. What the home fans, known as the Tifosi, create is special. Regardless of who you support, we are all secret Ferrari fans when it’s the Italian Grand Prix. A scarlet car crossing the line first in Italy is one of sport’s greatest spectacles. Sadly, the chances of that are, again, slim in 2014.

Monza-CircuitThe old Monza banking can still be seen. It serves as a reminder of the sports yester year. This weekend the future arrives, with power units, DRS zones, turbos and ERS. The racing might not be as pure, but it’s still as exiting.

There are two DRS zones this weekend. The first is on the home straight, with the second coming in the middle of the lap towards the Ascari chicane. The weather is, of course, set to be hot and sunny. What else?

New Driver

Well, it’s so much a new driver, but more of an old one returning. Kamui Kobayashi, who didn’t race in Belgium, is back at Caterham instead of Andre Lotterer. The Japanese driver isn’t happy with how he has been treated and who can blame him? He didn’t compete in the first practice session this weekend, but will be in the car tomorrow and Sunday.

Track Information

Race start- 2PM (Local Time), 1PM (GMT)

Laps- 53

Track Length- 5.739KM

Tyres- Hard (Orange) and Medium (White)

Lap record- 1:21.046s Rubens Barrichello (2004)

Predictions

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

Instead of suggesting Lewis Hamilton will win every race, only to see him crash, spin or find other ways of not winning, I’m going to suggest Valtteri Bottas will win. Williams will be right up there with Mercedes in terms of pace and Bottas has been knocking on the door all summer.

A race win would cap off a memorable season for the Finn, who’s establishing himself as a star of the future. Hamilton looks to have the better of Rosberg around Monza so far, so don’t be surprised to see him come second and Rosberg third. After their inevitable clash of course.

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