2023 Italy Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Say what you want about a dominating car, about reliability, about the competition. Winning 10 F1 races in a row is still a damn impressive feat.
EVENT: When the Spa-Monza back-to-back schedule ended, we were sad because it removed an opportunity to visit two iconic tracks in one trip. However, Zandvoort-Monza back-to-back isn't so bad either. It allows you to visit two amazing atmospheres in one trip.
TRACK: Speed. That's the comment. Speed.
QUALIFYING: A Spaniard sends the Tifosi into a frenzy because it's all about Ferrari, Perez disappoints again, Albon is strong as expected, and Alpine returns to the bottom.
RACE: A bit more interesting at the front until Verstappen eventually took the lead. Very interesting throughout behind him.
START: Anticipation grows ... and then nothing. Wait. Wait. Wait. Okay, grow anticipation again. Sainz defends his position nicely, Leclerc can't get it done to help his teammate as Russell immediately challenges him, Hamilton losses out on the hard tires, and Hulkenberg gains three spots.
VERSTAPPEN: This time Max had to work for it. Well, at least compared to other races. It's all relative.
PEREZ: This time Sergio made up for his poor qualifying, by finishing where he should -- second.
RED BULL: Eight races to go to do the impossible.
SAINZ: From trying to hold off Red Bull to holding off his teammate, Carlos deserved a podium in one of his finest drives.
LECLERC: While Charles doesn't quite heed to the "no risk" instructions and nearly wipes out the team on the last lap.
FERRARI: They gave it everything. Upgrades dedicated just for this track. Solid pit stops. Drivers pushing hard. But their race pace, though better, was still not quite good enough.
RUSSELL: Signed a contract extension to match Hamilton and then went out and beat him.
HAMILTON: Will be back at Mercedes for two years, and then went out and struggled.
MERCEDES: Now that they have their driver lineup set for two more years, let's get their car lineup set for the next two years.
ALBON: The best defender in F1.
SARGEANT: Deserved the time penalty, but considering what Hamilton did, Logan's penalty points seems a bit harsh.
NORRIS: Kissing Albon's butt the whole race.
PIASTRI: Clearly Hamilton's fault (and he did apologize). But that doesn't give Oscar's spot back.
ALFA ROMEO: What a sweet livery. That alone was probably what got them a point.
LAWSON: A strong run. Ricciardo is rushing his rehab...
TSUNODA: What did Yuki do to the Monza gods? Two out of three times he has failed to start here.
ASTON MARTIN: They have now lost a spot to Ferrari, 11 points behind. Is that deficit easily the result of Stroll's performances?
ALPINE: Like we predicted last week, a crap weekend. Though, that was an easy prediction considering how underpower the Renault engine is. Singapore should be a better test for their current capabilities.
HAAS: Were they in the race?
F2: Frederic Vesti won the sprint race, but in the feature race (won by Oliver Bearman) he got pushed wide and spun out on the first lap. This allowed Frenchman Theo Pourchaire, who finished third, to open a 24 point lead over Vesti going into the final weekend at Abu Dhabi where 39 points are available.
F3: Since his closest competitor failed to get the two bonus points for pole position, Brazilian Gabriel Bortoleto clinched the championship before running a race. Franco Colapinto won the final sprint race while Jonny Edgar won the final feature race.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Remarkable.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 20,000 -- the number of race laps Fernando Alonso has completed in his career, the first driver to reach that milestone.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Sebastian Vettel set the previous consecutive win streak by winning the final nine races of the 2013 season (Belgium, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi, USA, and Brazil). His streak ended at the start of 2014 when the rules changed and Red Bull fell behind the newly dominating Mercedes package. Before Belgium, Vettel finished third at Hungary and before that first at Germany. Almost 11 in a row.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: From the official @ScuderiaFerrari account discussing their two drivers going at each other:
How racing should be, tough but fair
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: When asked how he felt while his drivers duked it out, Ferrari team boss, Fred Vasseur, obviously laughing with tongue in cheek, said, "I was very relaxed."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: While fending off a competitor, George Russell is told to manage his car, so he responds, "I don't know if you can see, but I got a car right up my ass."
SCHEDULE: From the Cradle of Speed to the tight confines of the streets in Singapore. Where Verstappen has never won.
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