It was an exciting Grand Prix. After the boring Belgian Grand Prix and Spanish Grand Prix. It was the best F1 race since… well, I don’t know. It’s hard to tell. But Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was absolutely right when he called it “a loss for Mercedes, and a loss for the other big teams, but a victory for the sport”.
(F1 ITALIAN GP RACE) – On the one hand, there were no overtakes for the lead and dirty air was clearly an issue. On the other hand, absolutely not a single soul minded that at the chequered flag, and even before the race was transformed by the Hamilton penalty it was thoroughly enjoyable virtually from the start.
F1’s not had anywhere vintage year in terms of on-track action, and the Italian Grand Prix does not change the fact that there is no title battle to speak of (more on this below). But it has missed underdog wins, was starved of them, amid the relentless competence of Mercedes, the less-relentless-but-still considerable competence of Red Bull and the pre-2019 competence of Ferrari.
Monza finally allowed F1 audiences to feel that Leicester 2015/16 Premier League title buzz, if only for one race. From 2022 onwards, with the new technical regulations, you’d hope that moments like these become more frequent. The understandable, and fully acceptable, trade-off is that they will not feel as special as this was.
Red Bull’s junior team has sometimes struggled to find its place in F1, but this was a glorious day for the former Minardi team – it’s second ‘day of days’ if you like after Sebastian Vettel’s Monza win in 2008.
Having aligned itself a little more closely with the Red Bull team by maximising the 2019-specification non-listed parts it has taken, it has emerged as a more consistent midfield performer and once it was given this shot at the front, it managed it perfectly.
This is a team that still remembers its days struggling to survive as Minardi, so to take another victory on home soil is a wonderful achievement. Yes, fortune favoured it, but both driver and pitwall nailed it once they had the chance.
When Pierre Gasly got shuffled out of Red Bull’s line-up and back into Toro Rosso last year, he must’ve wondered whether his chance to ever stand on the F1 podium had gone.
But a few months later Interlagos gave him the opportunity to secure a top-three finish, and he took it. Now, Monza has thrown up a chance at a shock win, and he took that, too.
Gasly has not been faultless this season, and the undeniable gap between himself and team-mate Daniil Kvyat in qualifying trim tended to shrink significantly (if not occasionally turn into a Kvyat advantage) when it came to race pace.
But for all the races in which he got into Q3 and was effectively punished by the rule that mandated he had to start on the used soft tyre… well, he built enough credit across all those weekends to have earned this.
F1 ITALIAN GP – INTERNET IS HAPPY – IT WAS THE BEST F1 RACE SINCE F1 ITALIAN GP – INTERNET IS HAPPY – IT WAS THE BEST F1 RACE SINCE
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F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|Russia ||27 Sep|
|10h00 - 11h30||Free practice 1|
|14h00 - 15h30||Free practice 2|
|11h00 - 12h00||Free practice 3|
|14h00 - 15h00||Qualification|
|14h10 - 16h10||Race|