ITALIAN GRAND PRIX: Back to back weekends will keep that motorsport hunger quelled after the lengthy summer break and it’s a double treat this week as the formula one circus returns to one of the most iconic tracks on the calendar, the temple of speed, Monza.
Playing host to more races than any other track in the history of the sport, the north Italian circuit is often considered to be in a class of its own. Its simple layout and short track result in some of the shortest lap times, yet it also features some of the highest speeds. This can cause unexpected headaches for teams as the demands placed on the car are unlike any other track. Too much downforce will lose a lot of speed on the straights, yet too little and the car will struggle to slow down and get around the few corners adequately. Moreover, although there are fewer braking zones than at other tracks, they are very heavy and can quickly cause overheating.
The front runners
Mercedes have the better power unit so one would think they are favourites at this track. While that is a big advantage, the match up between them and Ferrari is quite nuanced at this track. The Merc is very sensitive to changing conditions and Monza can be sweltering, lashing or anywhere in between. Changing conditions will certainly hurt their set up and put them on the back foot.
Ferrari are slightly lacking in power compared to Mercedes, a feature which will be magnified at Monza. However, the car is much more adaptable to changing conditions and the prancing horse will be driving at their home grand prix. Given Italian motorsport fervour and Ferrari’s lack of success in recent years, a good result would not only help both championships but also rally their fans. If race day goes from hot to cold, wet to dry or some combination thereof, expect Ferrari to look very strong.
Further down the grid
Red Bull Racing are sometimes spoken of as a competitor in that front running pack but this track has never been a strong one for them. The Renault deficit is going to be too great to achieve a podium unless there is rain or a big incident. This will hold true for the Renault works team and Toro Rosso.
Ferrari and Mercedes powered teams should stand to gain at a track like this. Force India certainly are poised to do so, having over achieved in many peoples eyes this season. Expect a very strong showing from them. Williams should be geared up to also capitalise but their chassis has underwhelmed, especially as the season has gone on. Haas look like they could do very well in the midfield here but for their brakes. Despite switching to the more commonly used Brembo brakes, they have still been plagued with overheating and failures making them unlikely to grab more than a couple of points.
Ferrari have historically been by far the most successful team at Monza but interestingly, both Vettel and Hamilton have three wins apiece here. On the whole, this track looks to be Hamilton favoured with their current machinery, but there is not much value to be had at better than odds on. Vettel, while a small dog at this track, is much better value currently at 4.3 on the exchange.
“Pretty in Pink” is the big tip for this race. Force India really have the whole package for a track like this and if they can get lucky and overtake the Red Bulls, and of course not crash into each other, they are a great shout to get a big finish. Though still a tough ask, a price of 7.0 makes this an attractive bet. For those looking for a safer bet, “Sharp End of the Grid” is always a likely proposition. Finally, if you’re a true Hamilton or Vettel supporter, you can back either of them to pull off the treble of pole, fastest lap and a win at a price of 5.0 (Hamilton) or 20.0 (Vettel).
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