2019 Italy Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: It's difficult to win races when you don't have a strong number two who can act as a buffer and allow alternate strategies ... as well as take points away from other teams. Situations like that cause teams to switch drivers. What? Oh, no! We're not talking about Red Bull before the break. We're talking about Ferrari after the break.
EVENT: When Ferrari wins in Italy, there is no better place to be in F1. And Monza has the coolest flyovers in the sport.
TRACK: All about horsepower. And maximizing your exit speeds coming out of the corners.
QUALIFYING: Idiocy prevails in the garages as all the teams screw themselves by overplaying the gamesmanship, so by "default" Leclerc thrills the crowd, Vettel is scratching his head again, Verstappen doesn't get what would be a meaningless time, and Stroll actually makes it all the way to Q3.
RACE: All is right with the world. Ferrari won at Monza.
START: Leclerc fights off Hamilton, Bottas takes advantage ... briefly, Vettel not only doesn't do what he had to do, he losses out to Hulkenberg, and Verstappen doesn't know what it's like to start from the back.
LECLERC: Arguably an even tougher and more impressive drive than last week. And he has forever endured himself to the tifosi.
VETTEL: It's official. Sebastian is the most overrated four-time champion in the history of any sport, anywhere.
FERRARI: What are they to do? Leclerc now has more points, more wins, more pole positions, and more podiums than Vettel. And a heck of a lot more confidence. How does Ferrari possibly manage their two drivers now?
HAMILTON: Decided to keep the championship in mind and live to fight another day.
BOTTAS: Put on a good challenge as well, but you just knew Valtteri would not be able to make any attempt.
MERCEDES: Their Achilles heal portion of the schedule is over. They can go back to dominating. As long as Red Bull doesn't get in the way...
RENAULT: Raise your hand if you thought two Renault powered cars would finish in the top five? At Monza no less? And that it would the be factory team to do it?
RICCIARDO: We're sure Daniel got a bit of that smile back.
HULKENBERG: Did a good job trying to keep his name in the minds of car owners.
ALBON: Gasly, who?
VERSTAPPEN: Can you imagine a Max vs. Leclerc battle for a win? That would be epic.
PEREZ: From 18th to seventh with some aggressive passing moves and held off Verstappen of all drivers. Certainly earning that new contract he signed.
STROLL: Lance had every right to complain. And then he did the exact same thing! D'uh.
GIOVINAZZI: Well, Antonio got two more points. For whatever that's worth.
SAINZ: What did Carlos do to piss off the racing gods?
MCLAREN: They better watch out. What appeared to be a sure fourth place for the year, suddenly they risk being caught by Renault.
ALFA ROMEO: Perhaps, we should start a Go Fund Me drive, so they can afford to buy a rulebook.
FIA: Everybody complained the rules were too restrictive, so they screamed, "Let them race." So, the FIA let them race, and now everybody is complaining the rules are too lax. We actually feel sorry for the FIA. They can't win.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Reclerc -- It appeared on the front page of the daily Gazetta dello Sport, playing on the winner's name and the Italian word for king.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 4 -- The position in the drivers' standings Charles Leclerc is now in, leapfrogging Sebastian Vettel.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Michael Schumacher's first win at Monza was also in a Ferrari, also in his first year with the team, and it also came a week after winning at Spa in 1996. He started third, but thanks to various drivers hitting tire stacks, he took the lead. Ironically, Schumacher also hit a tire stack while leading, but escaped without damage to take the victory.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Toto Wolff stating what some people were thinking when the Stewards decided not to penalize Charles Leclerc for his "aggressive" defensive driving tactics against Lewis Hamilton, "But can you imagine if the stewards had done a five-second penalty? You would need a police escort to leave the circuit."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Daniil Kvyat summed up everyone's feelings after the Q3 debacle, "What a mess."
SCHEDULE: And now it's Red Bull's turn to enjoy a track.
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