Formula 1 historians will tell you Monza has claimed the lives of three drivers since the 1960s. Wolfgang von Trips in 1961, Jochen Rindt in 1970 and Ronnie Peterson in 1978. But regardless of who has been sent to their maker during the turbulent years of the sport, Monza has proven itself to be the most incident free of all circuits during the past decade.
Statistically it is the safest off all tracks underlined by the safety car not being deployed in any race here since 2011 and finishing numbers, since 2010, being: 20-15-22-20-20-18-18-18. Monza’s notoriously long straights and high speeds have also seen the cream rise to the top. In the past decade Lewis Hamilton has claimed six pole positions, Sebastian Vettel three and Fernando Alonso one of his two (the other being in 2007).
The Spa-Monza double
A Mercedes has won in Monza for five of the past six seasons and since 2011 the winner of the Belgian GP has also taken the race victory at Monza five times. That’s Vettel in 2011 and 2013, Hamilton in 2015 and 2017, Rosberg in 2016.
This weekend the omens are clearly very good for Sebastian Vettel whose Ferrari proved way too powerful for Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in Spa. The Brit seemed offended by the exhibition of speed put up by Vettel and, with a demeanour resembling that of someone attending a funeral, his graceless post-race comments, such as “They've got a few trick things going on in the car...” ostensibly verged on accusations of rule-bending.
Money can’t buy Stroll love
His mood is unlikely to be any better post-race in Italy, and it will soon be matched by Esteban Ocon fans if media speculation is to be believed. The 21-year-old Frenchman, who has finished in the points 25 times during a 33 race career with Force India is soon to be removed from his race seat and replaced by Lance Stroll whose father, Lawrence, recently bought the team with the help of a consortium.
The swap has created a storm on social media with a Tweet from Oliver Brown, Chief Sports Feature Writer at the Daily Telegraph, expressing the thoughts of many: “Esteban Ocon just qualified at Spa in third. Now Lance Stroll (18th) is poised to usurp him at Force India, purely because his billionaire father owns the team. A dismal state of affairs.”
This transfer, when it happens, will leave his seat at Williams empty and that is likely to lead to another auction sale scenario at the struggling British team.
Russians Artem Markelov and Nikita Mazepin are reportedly ‘well-financed’ which will probably be the deciding factor on who ‘wins’ the drive in 2019. That means Robert Kubicia, Williams current test-driver and a Formula 1 race winner, will miss his chance as would Oliver Rowland, the third-placed finisher in last year’s F2 championship who tested for Williams at Barcelona and Hungary earlier in the year.