2020 Italy Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: We wonder how many fans, tired of the "boredom" of watching Hamilton and Mercedes runaways, decided to skip this race. Well, for those that did, the joke's on you.
EVENT: No doubt, this was where the effect of no fans hit the most. Love them or hate them, there is nothing like the Tifosi and the atmosphere they bring.
TRACK: What is with this track and the "lesser" Italian team? Monza was the home of Toro Rosso's first victory, when Sebastian Vettel won in 2008. Now, it's the home of the renamed AlphaTauri's second victory.
QUALIFYING: No party mode still leaves Mercedes on the front row, no power leaves Ferrari out of the top 10 for the first time at Monza since 1984, no downforce needed leaves Red Bull out of the front two rows, no gaps in traffic leaves Raikkonen and Russell pissed.
RACE: To quote a famous baseball announcer after a famous play during a famous World Series game, "I don't believe what I just saw!" If someone said before the race the podium would be Gasly, Sainz, and Stroll, in that order, you would say they are on drugs. The last time a Mercedes or a Red Bull or a Ferrari all failed to make the podium was the 2012 Hungary GP.
START: Bottas is slow off the line, Sainz takes advantage of that, Norris is spectacular, Perez gains as well, Verstappen drops like Bottas, and the seat swappers Gasly and Albon bang wheels.
START, PART DEUX: Hamilton puts the metal down, Stroll blows his chance to win the race by spinning his wheels, Gasly jumps into second which means first, and Sainz gets super aggressive.
GASLY: When Bryan Herta finally won his first Indy car race after so many heart breaking close calls, someone wrote, "Redemption is rare in life, let alone racing. When you get it, you take it." Gasly got it. And he took it!
SAINZ: Enjoy the podium and near win, Carlos. Because you won't get this for awhile at Ferrari. Talk about irony...
STROLL: Thanks to a very lucky red flag rule, this was his race to win. His mistake on the standing restart ended that.
NORRIS: The safety car timing cost Lando a shot.
BOTTAS: A terrible performance by Valtteri. He just seemed like an ordinary driver in an ordinary car.
RICCIARDO: Daniel admitted he didn't have it this race. It would have been cool to see him trying to chase the leaders down.
HAMILTON: Ultimately, it is his responsibility. Which he eventually took ownership of.
OCON: Once again, no match for Ricciardo.
KVYAT: Yes, he was on a different strategy. But, once again, no match for Gasly.
PEREZ: Sure wishes he had that lucky red flag rule.
LATIFI: So close to biding farewell to Claire Williams with a point.
ALBON: The pressure must really be on Alex now.
GIOVINAZZI: They had a lot more time to realize the pits were closed, and still blew it.
LECLERC: That was a big time, high speed crash. Thank goodness Charles literally ran away from it.
VETTEL: When it rains, it pours.
MAGNUSSEN: Pierre Gasly needs to send a nice Christmas gift to Kevin ... every day for the rest of his life...
MERCEDES: We get you had the least amount of time to react, there are issues with the pit closure procedures, and it was more complicated than it needed to be. But, ultimately, all the other teams (except Alfa Romeo) knew the pits were closed. All the other teams.
RED BULL: Great sportsmanship standing out in pit lane applauding your sister team's crew as they ran past heading to victory circle.
FERRARI: Despite how slow your car is, it's still too quick for your brakes.
RENAULT: We'll miss the yellow and black of your cars, but the French Tricolore will also look sharp on your 2021 renamed Alpine team.
WILLIAMS: Thanks, Frank.
FIA: Leave it up to the FIA to have the most dumbass rules in racing. There is hardly a series in the world that allows teams to work on their cars under red flag conditions, never mind allow a change of tires providing a free pit stop. Especially when the tire rule is all about adding strategy to the race by forcing the lose of time a pit stop takes.
F2: In perhaps the best race of his career, Mick Schumacher won the feature event in demanding fashion. He followed that up with a third on Sunday after the winner on the track, Dan Ticktum, was disqualified due to a technical infraction, giving the win to championship leader Callum Ilott. This is now a three-way battle for the title with Ilott (149 points), Schumacher (143), and Robert Shwartzman (140).
F3: Australian Oscar Piastri went from 12th to third on Saturday while his teammate, American Logan Sargeant, got punted to the back of the field. The next day, they both failed to finish. This put Piastri back in front of the title race by eight points over Sargeant. There is one weekend left in the season.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Redemption.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 109 -- Welcome Pierre Gasly to the Formula 1 winner's club, the 109th member.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The last time a French driver won in F1 was Olivier Panis in the 1996 Monaco GP. This was also due to a set of bizarre circumstances which left just three finishers, a record. Panis in a Ligier-Mugen-Honda qualified 14th, but race day started out wet. This led to carnage on the track. That, combined with a perfectly timed decision to switch Panis to slicks as the track dried out, allowed the Frenchman to take the unexpected win. The only other finishers were the podium spots -- David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes) and Johnny Herbert (Sauber-Ford).
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: After Lewis Hamilton pitted to serve his penalty, Kimi Raikkonen was in second and Antonio Giovinazzi was third, prompting this tweet from Alfa Romeo, "P2 and P3. Can’t we just stop the race now?"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: We don't even need to tell you who said this: "Oh my god. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, yesssssss!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Carlos Sainz clearly stating the only thing he is going for when his engineer tells him to keep it clean and bring home the points, "I want the win."
SCHEDULE: Next is the first of the new tracks never before raced on for F1, Mugello. It should be interesting. And some fans will be allowed for the first time as well.
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