Rate the Race and Driver of the weekend – Round 13, Monza 2017
Mean Reader Score: 5.82
Once again Monza’s score was not as high as the expectations we had for it. As with last year, the Tifosi had one of their own (Vettel) on the podium, and like last year it was third place. This year’s race scored higher than last year’s paltry 4.35 but sadly did not deliver a great race or the showdown between the championship contenders Vettel and Hamilton.
Surprisingly we had a very long, and wet qualifying session which, due to innumerable penalties being applied, saw Hamilton (on pole) being the only driver to start from the position in which they qualified. The Mercedes dominated the race from the off (as expected) but what was not expected was their level of dominance. They cruised home to a very easy P1 and P2 to further enhance their position at the top of the constructor standings and for the first time this season Hamilton is alone at the top of the driver standings, pushing Vettel off the top spot for the first time in 13 races.
An honorable mention has to be given to the youngsters on the grid, Stroll and Ocon, who started from P2 and P3 and made a clean getaway, unlike the other youngster, Verstappen, who did not.
There was some racing in the mid field for positions 6-9 at various points throughout the race but generally speaking not a lot to enthuse about, really. Except of course for our driver of the weekend…..
Driver of the weekend: Daniel Ricciardo 69.17% of reader vote.
Ricciardo started the weekend well, qualifying in P3, but due to various penalties started the race from P16, three places behind his team mate, Max Verstappen who qualified in P2 but started in P13.
Starting on the soft tyre, Ricciardo went deep into the race (lap 37) before changing onto supersofts for the last few laps. On fresh tyres and the bit between his teeth, the honeybadger cut a swathe through the field (‘I like them vulnerable’) to finish in fourth place, just off the podium.
Last year, it was Bottas who saw Ricciardo execute an excellent overtake from a long way back on the track, but this year it was Raikkonen who was on the receiving end of his charge. He couldn’t quite make it to the podium though, which begs the question what might have been had Red Bull not chosen to take their penalties at Monza…….