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Rate the Race – Monza 2016 Mean Reader Score: 4.35
Well, if there was ever any doubt as to which fans are the most enthusiastic, Monza put paid to that. From this podium-eye view not a single inch of the track is visible as it’s all taken up by the fan invasion at the end of the race.
The Tifosi had one of their own (Vettel) on the podium and they were ecstatic (even if it was third place.) Sadly, the celebrations at the end of the race were possibly more exciting than the race itself. This is the curious paradox of Monza: it is always perceived as one of the best races of the season, yet scores poorly in this poll afterwards.
This year’s race has scored lower than the previous three years (2013 scored 4.98: 2014 rated 6.0 and 2015 received 4.77) In fact this race has scored the lowest of all the races in this season so far.
Unlike 2015 there was no controversy surrounding ‘illegal’ tyre pressures this year, nor was there the scurrying down the escape road by Rosberg (as in 2014) gifting the win to Hamilton, in fact this year’s race was pretty much decided once the lights went out.
Hamilton (HAM), starting in pole position, got bogged down and was passed by Rosberg (ROS), Vettel (VET), Raikonnen (RAI), Bottas (BOT), and Ricciardo (RIC) and ended up in P6 before he’d reached the first chicane. A swift overtake on RIC saw HAM back into P5 by L2.
L2 saw the Sauber of Nasr (NAS) collide with Palmer (PAL)’s Renault, leading to PAL loosing his front wing and both cars eventually retiring due to the damage sustained.
HAM tried and failed to overtake BOT at the first chicane on L10 but managed later the same lap by going wide on the entry to Parabolica, getting a good exit and lining himself up for the pass on the start finish line of L10/11, moving up to P4. And that (apart from one more significant overtake – more of that later) was pretty much it, although HAM did loose 1.3 s when he had a lock up on his front left wheel and temporarily left the track. The two Mercedes drivers (HAM, ROS) were on a one stop strategy (soft, medium), while their nearest rivals, Ferrari were on a two stop (supersoft, supersoft, soft), so HAM didn’t need to chase down the Ferraris from P4 as he knew they would take an extra pit stop which was all he needed to move up the standings and onto the podium.
Wehrlein (WEH) was looking good for possibly increasing Manor’s points tally until, on L28, he was told to stop immediately and switch off the engine. Kvyat (KVY)’s dreadful season continued as he retired on L38. There was one tiny glimmer of excitement, though and it came from our driver of the weekend.
Driver of the weekend: Daniel Ricciardo 38.93% of reader vote.
Ricciardo (RIC) started the weekend well, out qualifying his team mate Max Verstappen (VES), the Wonder Kid in all three qualifying rounds, starting from P6 on the grid, just behind Bottas (BOT). RIC had made his intentions clear before the race: he didn’t expect to beat the Ferraris (on this high speed, low downforce track) but he fully intended to finish higher than he started. And start well he did, getting past the (bogged–down) HAM and temporarily taking P5 before it was taken back again as soon as HAM was up and running.
All seemed to be going according to plan, but with 15 laps to go he emerged from the pits in P6 behind BOT. Then came the masterstroke, from A LONG WAY behind BOT, on the second part of the first chicane on L47 he pulled off what many (i.e. Eddie Jordan) have referred to as ‘the overtake of the season’ to achieve his goal of P5, nabbing 10 championship points and securing his position of third in the driver standings and Red Bull’s position of ‘best of the rest’ in the constructor standings. Well done Daniel!
One question, though: who is Nicola?