2016 Italy Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Seems we were a bit quick last week on Hamilton's coronation. But hey, it makes it interesting for the fans.
EVENT: Sure, Monza is special. Perhaps, the most special of them all. But that crowd at Spa sure looked a lot larger than Monza's.
TRACK: Lots of speed. Not much passing.
QUALIFYING: Hamilton humiliates Rosberg, Ferrari gives their fans some hope, and Haas finally makes it to Q3 but not with the driver everyone expected.
START: Hamilton plays to the 2016 script going from pole to seventh, Rosberg plays it perfectly, the Ferraris give their fans a cheer, and Verstappen and Gutierrez go backwards.
RACE: Speed doesn't win you races. Lack of mistakes does. And thus, the fight came down to second place.
ROSBERG: Sure, another win was "gifted." But eventually, these gifts could turn into the big prize.
HAMILTON: Lewis' Achilles' heel this year has definitely been the start. Or the clutch. Depends on who you listen to.
MERCEDES: At least they got back to a 1-2 finish.
FERRARI: The Prancing Horse got the better of Red Bull on a track where they should. It gets tougher now for the remaining circuits.
VETTEL: Finally, a drama free race.
RAIKKONEN: Back behind Sebastian when nothing goes wrong.
RICCIARDO: What a pass on Bottas. What a pass!
VERSTAPPEN: A controversial free weekend.
WILLIAMS: No surprise at this track they went back ahead of Force India in the standings.
FORCE INDIA: The fight for fourth in the constructors' championship is going to do down to the wire.
PEREZ: Where oh where is Sergio going to drive in 2017?
GUTIERREZ: Turned a Q3 qualifying position into naught after losing 10 spots at the start and eventually out of the points.
GROSJEAN: A suspect tire strategy.
ALONSO: Wait, what?! The fastest lap by a Mclaren-Honda? On a pure horsepower track? Wait, what?!
KVYAT: The days just keep numbering down...
NASR: Felipe's attempt at a jigsaw puzzle fit with Palmer failed.
VANDOORNE: Another young gun to enter F1 in 2017.
MASSA: Say what you want about Massa, but you will be hard pressed to find a more dignified sportsman like Felipe the way he handled his world championship loss in 2008. And who can forget how the tifosi cheered his name on the 2014 Italian podium after he left Ferrari and was in Williams' colors?
BUTTON: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck ... then it's just like Jenson's "retirement."
GP2: Another thrilling race.
F1: Whether the latest rumored sale goes through or not, one thing you can be sure of -- Bernie Ecclestone will still be in charge.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Start.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 8.5 billion -- The rumored amount of dollars John Malone and Liberty Media is going to buy F1 for.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Before there was Max Verstappen, Jenson Button was one of the first drivers in modern F1 to be pulled from the junior ranks with barely any races under their belts at a very early age. Button was 20 when he signed with Williams in 2000 after 36 car races. Kimi Raikkonen was 21 when he signed with Sauber in 2001 after just 23 car races. They both ended up winning a championship.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne gives the most depressing pep talk in the history of sports, "I don't think there's a doubt in my mind, there's no use putting sweeteners on the stuff. The car isn't there. I think we started well in Australia, I think that we failed in developing the car during the season which is due to a variety of reasons. Post-mortems on this thing have been done ad nauseum now, we're done."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Talk about throwing your driver under the bus. Haas team principal Gunther Steiner on Esteban Gutierrez's poor start, "It was a driver problem, missing the start. I guess the pressure got to him. It's a missed opportunity for us but also for him."
SCHEDULE: Europe is done. Now onto the Malay Peninsula with Singapore and then Malaysia.
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