F1: ITALIAN GRAND PRIX 2017

Lewis Loves Monza, the Curse of Max Verstappen, The Young Ones & Dani Driver of the Day

Well I am sure if you know me well enough you’ll probably have realized by now that I am not a big fan of Lewis Hamilton. When the chips are down I find his character quite repulsive, thus I just can’t get myself to like him. However I have no problem categorically promoting what a wonderful driver he is. Once again Lewis cruised to victory, this time at Monza, leading from beginning to end, making it look like a Sunday scenic cruise with the family through the country side. Very impressive. If you add this victory to the fact that Saturday’s Qualifying brought with it for Lewis a step into the record books, achieving his 69th pole position surpassing Michael Schumacher to have the most F1 pole positions in the history of the sport, you would have to say the Mr. Hamilton is well on his way to being regarded as one of the the greatest drivers of all time. I think it will be difficult for him to surpass Michael Schumachers overall achievements in the sport, but I can see him cementing his place in the years to come as the second greatest driver to ever live. In saying that if Mercedes can remain dominant and Lewis drives until he is 40 he may have a chance, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

(*As a sub note one must also applaud the efforts of the whole Mercedes team. From top to bottom they manage to get out an extremely impressive package that remains fast and consistent race to race and whilst Ferrari and Red Bull have made strides forward, Mercedes still remain the ones to beat).

Now moving on to the curse of Max Verstappen. Its been somewhat of a baptism of fire since his much publicized entry into Formula 1 in 2015 and his even more publicized moved to the Red Bull team in 2016. Max as a driver is exciting. He is fast, aggressive and highly motivated which makes him overall an extremely attractive package for Formula 1 fans. But there is a problem. He is causing himself a lot of problems with his driving style and today’s Italian Grand Prix was another perfect example of that. Starting from 13th on the grid he pushed up into an amazing 8th place after the first couple of corners, however once again his hard headed determination saw him involved in yet another racing incident which resulted in a puncture that sent him to the back of the field only managing to finish in 10th place, a full lap behind winner Lewis Hamilton. Not a great result and with a pretty quick Red Bull car they would have had much higher expectations at Monza. Some may say that Verstappen has been extremely unlucky this season so far with no less than 6 retirements already, but having seen what we have seen one must surely ask themselves the question, could it be his racing style that is causing all the problems? Even from a mechanical standpoint, does he just push the car to hard? So far I am not convinced that this is the case, and so far I still believe he has a big future ahead with at least a few championship titles on the horizon, but one thing is for sure, he needs to grow up and sooner rather than later.

I find it to be a really large breath of fresh air to see so many young and talented drivers in F1 at the moment and today’s race showcased the abilities of two in particular. Both Canadian Lance Stroll and Frenchman Esteban Ocon had a brilliant day on Saturday, Qualifying in 4th and 5th respectively and with grid penalties to both Red Bull cars, Lance Stroll was promoted to a place on the front row of the grid, with Ocon close behind in 3rd. Both drivers got off to a great start in the race, held their own in the many battles that ensued and both finished the race in front of their more experienced team mates, Ocon finishing 6th with Stroll close behind in 7th. Considering the teams with which they drive that is the absolute best result both could have expected. I have kept a close eye on both drivers this season and I can say with out any doubts that I have been super impressed with both. If you put Ocon’s many run ins with his team mate Sergio Perez aside, you can clearly see an extremely talented driver there. And in Stroll’s case, in the Williams, when the opportunities have come for the team to be competitive, the young Canadian has made the most of it. I will admit in the first few races of the season I was not too impressed with Stroll, but since then he has come on in leaps and bounds, highlighted by impressive drives in Azerbaijan and here at Monza. I will be looking ahead with great anticipation as to what the next few years holds for both of these drivers.

Looking at today’s driver of the day, as voted by the fans on www.formula1.com, I was delighted to see it was my favorite driver and well known man crush, Daniel Ricciardo. How I just love this guy. Dani had a great afternoon overall and drove superbly. Starting from 16th on the grid, he drove like a champion, performed some amazing overtaking, was on a great team strategy and walked away with the fastest lap of the race. Truly amazing from the Australian. Besides being the most likable character in the paddock, he continues to show what a talented driver he is and with the triple header of Singapore, Malaysia and Japan coming up, tracks which heavily favor cars with a greater down force, he will be confident of getting some really good results, maybe even a win. I will be keeping all my bits and pieces crossed that this will be the case.

As one final, perhaps less serious point I would like to address some of the style choices made by some of the drivers at the moment. Now before I jump into this I would like to categorically admit without a shadow of a doubt that I have very little understanding of style. Thankfully I have a wife who takes care of that for me which means I can leave the house most days looking somewhat acceptable to society. Without her I would be doomed to ridicule on an almost daily basis. However, if I was living the life of a F1 superstar, making millions per year and always surrounded by super stylish people I am pretty confident that my situation (and thinking) would be different. That leads me to a couple of current Formula 1 examples of “truly bad style” in the eyes of an amateur like me. Let us begin with Lewis Hamilton and a hair style I like to refer to as ” The Parakeet”. Why oh why won’t someone tell him that its a truly shocking look and he could do much better. The days when the lad sported a cleanly shaven head, nice and neat, those were the days he was looking tip top. At the moment, every time he removes his helmet he is not just having a bad hair day, but the worst hair day ever. It almost looks like someone took a shot gun, blew a small eagle out of the sky and “the remains” landed on his head. Come on Lewis, sort it out. Another example of a style oversight is on the part of Lance Stroll and those humongously thick eyebrows. Now I understand that genetics has a part to play here, and ok they seem to be kind of neat, but surely they are a little (or a lot) too thick no? Has he never heard the words less is more? He is young and he will learn. Fernando Alonso has a similar genetic disposition above the eyes, but whenever I see him on the TV they are always immaculate, almost to the point where he must be spending more time grooming than he does discussing engine capabilities with his team. OUCH.

 

 

We only have a two week wait until the next race in Singapore and with only a 3 point gap now between leader Lewis Hamilton and previous leader Sebastian Vettel, I for one cannot wait. 🙂

2017 Italian Grand Prix Results
Monza, 3 September 2017 

1. Lewis Hamilton (44) – Mercedes – 25
2. Valtteri Bottas (77) Mercedes – 18
3. Sebastian Vettel (5) – Ferrari – 15
4. Daniel Ricciardo (3) – Red Bull Racing Team – 12
5. Kimi Raikkonen (7) – Ferrari -10
6. Esteban Ocon (31) – Force India – 8
7. Lance Stroll (18) – Williams – 6
8. Felipe Massa (19) – Williams – 4
9. Sergio Perez (11) – Force India – 2
10. Max Verstappen (33) – Red Bull Racing Team – 1
11. Kevin Magnussen (20) – Haas – 0
12. Daniil Kvyat (26) – Toro Rosso – 0
13. Nico Hulkenberg (27) – Renault – 0
14. Carlos Sainz Jr (55) – Toro Rosso – 0
15. Romain Grosjean (8) – Haas – 0
16. Pascal Wehrlein (94) – Sauber-Ferrari – 0
17. Fernando Alonso (14) – McLaren – (Retired) – 0
18. Marcus Ericsson (9) – Sauber-Ferrari – (Retired) -0
19. Stoffel Vandoorne (2) – McLaren – (Retired) – 0
20. Jolyon Palmer (30) – Renault – (Retired) -0

 

 

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Discussion

  1. Darren Muscat

    Breaking Schumacher’s record of 7 world championships seems impossible now.. I think the only one who can actually achieve this is Vettel since he already had a championship winning car (basically racing alone) in Red Bull for 4 years.. and Ferrari seem to be on the up again.

    1. davidoziborg

      I think if you look at total race wins, Schumi has more than 90 wins while Hamilton has less than 60. Doubt he will ever catch him. In terms of Championships if Mercedes remain dominant he may have a chance, bit with Ferrari and Red Bull catching up I doubt he will manage.

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