- Advertisement -Much of the narrative of 2020 has been simply that Formula 1 is fast turning into a predictable sport where it’s only one team that dominates. And more often than not, it’s been Mercedes and its star driver Lewis Hamilton. Not much could also be argued against the popular ruling with Mercedes winning five in eight races held so far. But Monza, the home of the Italian Grand Prix withstood none of that rising rancor in giving millions of fans a race that was not only thrilling but hard to forget, apart from also being one that was hard to conceive, panning out in an unprecedented, untellable manner. A 53-lap contest that saw not one but four retirements, including both Ferraris, with an Alpha Tauri winning much to everyone’s surprise (and joy) with both McLarens finishing inside top five, including Sainz’ second career podium, Monza might have begun in the most conventional manner but ended with a result that was as unpredictable as any we’ve seen all season. Not just that, the temple of speed also produced what none could’ve predicted; a red-flagged race, whose eventual conclusion saw the sport’s youngest and perhaps finest talents on the top three steps. Gasly strikes
Great podium for Carlos Sainz Jr. in McLaren 2 and 4One of the brightest talents on the grid and also one of the most consistent young names, Carlos Sainz enjoyed his career-best outing at the home of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in collecting a richly-deserved second. But was it any easy for the Spaniard? Not really as before the session restarted, having been red-flagged due to Leclerc’s accident wherein the Ferrari driver slid away to the gravel trap in a major crash around Turn 11, Sainz was hanging on sixth, followed by Norris, in seventh. But upon re-start, the McLaren driver was a different driver altogether; a man on a mission. He would immediately pass Stroll on the straights, after which, the two Alfa Romeos of Raikkonen and Giovinazzi were on his radar. But when the Italian driver Giovinazzi shunted into the pits to serve his time-penalty, Sainz would benefit and jump up into fourth. Hamilton, pitting soon after to serve exactly the same penalty as the Italian would further boost Sainz’ grid position. But make no mistake; Sainz did well to pass Kimi immediately after, the McLaren much stronger in race-pace versus the struggling Alfa Romeo of the Finn. From thereon in, Sainz got busy in catching Gasly for the lead but had to settle for an incredible second, a result that was richly-deserved by a driver who never gave up.
Brilliant recovery drive for Lewis HamiltonThe man who, weekend after weekend, finishes right on top, it was in a way strange to find Lewis Hamilton not the race-winner at Monza. But one of the talking points from the Italian Grand Prix was the stellar recovery driver that Hamilton demonstrated after he fell further at the back of the grid and yet, managed to collect a respectable seventh in the end. While his teammate was found clearly struggling in the other Mercedes, Bottas failing to pass Lando Norris’ McLaren, Lewis Hamilton spent the latter half of the Monza weekend in exhibiting commanding overtakes from the rear-end of the grid.
No luck yet for KimiKimi Raikkonen, in the latter half of the race, seemed in an ethereally good position from which to score some points and finally get his season off to a start. Upon the re-start, the Alfa Romeo driver down on fourth made a stellar move on his teammate- local favorite- Antonio Giovnazzi to go up into third. Later, with Lewis pitting, it was Raikkonen holding onto second, and thus, only a position away from Pierre Gasly, the race-leader. But Raikkonen holding on P2 was always going to be a bit of a mega-challenge, especially since it would require him to defend vigorously from more superior machines, including the two McLarens of Sainz and Norris, and the rest of the packed midfield.
Poor outing for FerrariThe home race for a true titan of the sport could not have panned out any poorer. With both Ferrari drivers race-retiring, Leclerc having a crash, and Vettel suffering from a brake failure, one of the key talking points from the Italian Grand Prix 2020 saw Ferraris woes exacerbated after a poor qualifying a day earlier. On Saturday, Leclerc managing a P13 and Vettel, P17, made for an awful sight. Not since 1984 had the two Ferraris begun outside of top-10 in their home race. Many saying that it was good fortune for the team with no fans out in attendance, weren’t too off the mark, truth be told. But on race-day, the 53-lap challenge proved to be a bit for exasperating for the home side, even as Leclerc did brilliantly to break into the top ten. Eventually, both cars had to retire- never a pleasing sight if you are a fan of the red. Hopefully, Mugello can see a bit of a recovery.
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