Leader again after his brand-new home win, the Dutch Max (Red Bull) arrives at the Italian Grand Prix without ever having been on the podium at Monza, unlike Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who this weekend will seek his sixth win on the historic track, 100th in Formula 1.
Only three points. Before the 14th round of the World Cup (out of 22), the difference between the two great favorites for the title is minimal. Verstappen has 224.5 points and Hamilton 221.5.
The dynamics are in favor of the Dutch, with consecutive victories in Belgium and the Netherlands, but the historical one is of the Briton, who has won five times at Monza.
Overtaken in the World Cup standings by his rival last Sunday, Hamilton will once again seek his 100th victory. After winning at Silverstone, the 36-year-old has added three podiums, but without climbing the highest step.
“I hope Monza adapts better to the Mercedes, it has not been my best circuit in recent years (best place, fifth). Although we are more competitive this year, Mercedes could have a top speed advantage over us, ”explained Verstappen.
In what is known as ‘the Temple of Speed’, Formula 1 will test the new sprint race format as qualifying on Saturday.
As at Silverstone in July, it will change all weekend: the classification, advanced to Friday, will allow defining the starting grid for the sprint event. And in the latter, which will last 30 minutes (18 laps of 5,793 kilometers), pole position and the rest of the positions on the starting grid will be defined.
The winner will also receive three points, two for the second and one for the third.
– Ferrari to regain glory –
Monza will again be the opportunity for some ‘covered’ to achieve glory, like last year, with the first victory in the elite of French Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri).
And Ferrari will try to win its first race since 2019. That year the Monegasque Charles Leclerc caused the madness at home against the Scuderia tifosi.
The race comes after the latest market movements. It is now official that George Russell (Williams) will replace Valtteri Bottas in 2022 at Mercedes.
The latter will replace his Finnish compatriot Kimi Räikkönnen at Alfa Romeo, who will retire at the end of this season.
Räikkönnen will not be in Monza, nor was he in the Netherlands, for having tested positive for covid-19.
Another signing, announced Wednesday, is the arrival in Williams of former Red Bull driver Alex Albon, replacing Russell. AFP (HN)