The Italian Grand Prix usually produces fantastic racing and is now unique on the calendar as a low downforce circuit. The fact that it is under threat is beyond comprehension of most fans and drivers alike. Sebastian Vettel said “if we take this away from the calendar for any shitty money reasons, you are basically ripping our hearts out… The emotions here are incredible. You stand on the grid and people left and right are happy to be part of it.” He continued his emotional defense of Monza by saying “Another grand prix would not have that same impact. We definitely have to keep it”.
2013 – TJ13 reader score – 4.98
Vettel’s Red Bull led the race from pole position to claim his sixth victory of the 2013 season in an imperious march to the World Title, it was his third victory at Monza. His main title rival Fernando Alonso had to fight from fourth position at the start to take second position in the home race for the Scuderia, overtaking Mark Webber in a spectacular move around the outside of the Della Roggia chicane.
Nico Hulkenberg managed an excellent fifth position in the Sauber, his best result of the season fending off countryman Nico Rosberg towards the end of the race. Hamilton picked up a slow puncture early in the race and had to fight back through the field with some fast laps and good overtakes, including one on his team-mate Nico Rosberg into the first chicane and his former stable-mate Jenson Button to take a lowly ninth position.
2014 – TJ13 reader score – 6.00
Lewis Hamilton made an awful start from pole position to drop to fourth behind Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Massa, leaving Rosberg to storm away in the lead. As Massa passed Magnussen into the Della Roggia chicane the Dane was left offline and that allowed Hamilton to set him up to be passed into the next corner. It did not take long for the Briton to pass Massa into the first corner.
Rosberg was under pressure from the chasing Lewis Hamilton and the gap was closing with every lap. There is some controversy as to whether Rosberg orchestrated the move or whether it was just a mistake, but he broke too late into the first chicane and had to take to the escape road, gifting the lead to Hamilton. From there the world champion never looked back and took a decisively aggressive victory.
Behind the two Mercedes the race was full of exciting overtaking moves, with the highlight being Daniel Ricciardo who showed his star-credentials, passing Raikkonen, Button and Magnussen in fantastic style, then past team-mate Vettel in a fantastic dummy move into the second chicane.
2015 – TJ13 reader score – 4.77
This year’s poll may have been slightly skewed by the fact that the poll opened a day early – we asked you to predict the future, with hilarious results in the comments so thanks for that! The real race was much less exciting than many of your predictions, with Lewis Hamilton taking an easy victory. The more exciting part was debating the nature of Mercedes’ failure to keep the tyre pressures within the guideline pressures, either demonstrating incompetence or a poor attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.
Raikkonen had a chance to take a podium position but a fluffed start meant he slipped all the way to the back of the field. His fight back through the pack was one of the saving graces for this otherwise dull race and he ended up fifth, passing Perez with three laps to go.
Rosberg also made a poor start and had to fight with the Williams and Perez, but had to wait for the undercut at the pitstops to clear them. By this point it was too late for him to be able to make serious inroads on Vettel for second, especially since he had stopped seven laps earlier than the Ferrari in order to force the undercut on the Williams. He made a valiant effort and had to turn his tired engine up to full to close the gap, but this took its toll and his power unit went up in flames, putting a serious dent in his title credentials.
TJ13 Driver of the weekend – Lewis Hamilton (36%)
No matter what you think of the tyre pressure fiasco surrounding the result of the race, there is no doubt that Lewis Hamilton dominated the Italian Grand Prix with a very impressive and controlling drive. The leap in performance that the new Mercedes power unit brought and the fact that Rosberg had to make up for a poor grid position meant his win went unchallenged. When asked to pull a gap to Vettel at the end incase of a penalty with the order “don’t ask questions, just execute”, he executed perfectly with impressive pace.
Coming in second with 20% was Max Verstappen, clearly once again impressing you with a fine performance and good overtaking moves. He didn’t finish in the points, but that would have been a tall order having started at the back and having a drive through penalty to serve right at the start of the race. Overall another impressive performance from the Dutchman.
Kimi Raikkonen also impressed (17%) with his comeback drive from his poor start. His overtakes were clean and precise and it just showed what a race we could have had (even just between the two Ferraris) if his clutch had not let him down.