2018 Italy Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: If we didn't know any better, we would doubt Sebastian Vettel ever won a world championship, never mind four of them. With the number of mistakes he makes, especially under pressure, and the amount of points he has lost out on in the past two years, it is a wonder he was ever able to put it all together at one time in his career.
TRACK: Lots of passing opportunities this year even without DRS.
EVENT: The tifosi is something special. But, we've said this before. Are the tifosi racing fans or Ferrari fans? The stream of tifosi leaving the race before it's over is your answer.
QUALIFYING: Ferrari doesn't let their fans down, but Kimi surprises Vettel, Stroll quiets some critics, Alonso and Magnussen become unwitting dance partners, and Racing Point makes their first serious mistake pulling in Perez too early.
RACE: A fantastic race. Now, will the F1 Internet complainers just go away?
START: Raikkonen ignores what's behind him, Vettel forgets the long view, Hamilton stays on the track, and Hartley once again exits early.
HAMILTON: We seem to say this every few races. One of Lewis' best drives of his career.
BOTTAS: The perfect teammate providing perhaps the greatest assist in F1 history.
MERCEDES: A perfect example of a team win.
RAIKKONEN: Kimi is usually the one who is so good at preserving tires. But, he, too, seemed to fold under pressure.
VETTEL: He has a lot to answer to the tifosi.
FERRARI: Were they fooled by Mercedes' "dummy?" Knowing Ferrari's history of strategic blunders, probably. In any case, they pitted Raikkonen too early, and his older tires were no match for Hamilton. Another opportunity blown. Again.
VERSTAPPEN: Once again, Max was 100% wrong. Once again, the petulant child doesn't get it. Most likely, he never will.
RICCIARDO: Not exactly wrapping up his Red Bull career in style, through no fault of his own.
GROSJEAN: A great finish ... until it wasn't.
HAAS: From the information we are reading, Haas doesn't have a leg to stand on for their appeal.
OCON: Esteban could be left standing when the music stops. In the meantime, he put in another great drive.
PEREZ: Fantastic recovery from a terrible qualifying.
RACING POINT: They have now sailed past Sauber and Toro Rosso in just their "second" race. Next in their sights is McLaren.
SAINZ: Enjoy these "decent" finishes now before heading off to McLaren.
STROLL: Will he or won't he finish the season with Williams?
SIROTKIN: Just missed getting his first point of his career. But, wait! Grosjean is disqualified. Sergey gets a point! Sergey gets a point! He'll remember this moment forever. He'll be telling his grandchildren about it...
WILLIAMS: A Mercedes engine, trim out the aero, and just worry about going fast in a straight line makes Monza their best track of the season.
LECLERC: All the rumors point to Charles being in a Ferrari next year.
MCLAREN: So Zak Brown has finally admitted it "appears" McLaren has gone backwards. Appears?! And just now he realizes that? McLaren has definitely being going backwards for years.
HARTLEY: You only have so many chances to prove yourself in F1. It doesn't matter why you lose an opportunity, bad luck or not. In the harsh world of F1, it's simply an opportunity lost. Brendon is rapidly running out of opportunities.
VANDOORNE: So much promise unfulfilled. And now out of McLaren at the end of the season.
TORO ROSSO: They are still looking for drivers, and really have no one in their own junior pipeline. Vandoorne could be the perfect answer.
NORRIS: He's won at every level, but he's only won one F2 race. Now, he's got the McLaren ride in 2019. Is Lando the next Vandoorne or Leclerc?
F2: If you think the F1 championship battle is entertaining, check out the F2 championship fight where George Russell and Lando Norris are putting on a duel for the ages.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Racing room.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 30 -- The number of points Vettel is now trailing Hamilton instead of potentially only being 10 (or even seven) points behind.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Sky Sports kept talking about how the Italian GP has always been held at Monza (albeit in different configurations) except for one year (1980 in Imola won by Nelson Piquet in a Brabham-Ford). However, that only refers to the F1 championship era. There were four other times the Italian GP was not held at Monza. The first Italian GP in 1921 at Brescia (won by Jules Goux in a Ballot), 1937 at Livorno (won by Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz), 1947 on a street course in Milan (won by Carlo Felice Trossi in an Alfa Romeo), and 1948 at Valentino Park (won by Jean-Pierre Wimille in an Alfa Romeo).
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen near the end of the race ignoring all reasoning, "I know I'm losing time to Vettel, but I really don't care." Remember that quote. If Verstappen never wins a world championship, that quote says it all.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Meanwhile, if Vettel never wins another world championship, Nico Rosberg summed up the reason very simply, "Over and over, he keeps making mistakes. And that's not how you are going to beat Lewis Hamilton to a world championship."
SCHEDULE: Mercedes should be more on par with Ferrari's performance at Singapore. Plus, Red Bull always does well there. All of which does not bode well for Ferrari trying to recover from the Monza disaster.
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