Many run-ins in Monza – Italian GP 2018
The Italian Grand Prix was slightly better than the past few races, mostly because drivers really fought each other in a way that caused a lot of damage.
- Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes once again pulled the longer straw in the strategy department with Hamilton able to put enough distance between himself and Räikkönen before the pit-stop.
- Kimi Räikkönen – Losing and regaining the lead to Hamilton in wheel-on-wheel racing would have been a great way for the Iceman to end the race… but unfortunately Ferrari again lost out to Mercedes on the pit-strategy. Still, a near-flawless drive from Räikkönen.
- Sebastian Vettel – Vettel committed a huge mistake by bumping into Hamilton on the first lap. Luckily, the safety car was on track due to Brendon Hartley’s car leaving debris on the starting line, thus giving Vettel the chance to rise back to the top.
- Valtteri Bottas – Bottas was bumped off my Verstappen at one point resulting in a time penalty which ensured the other Finn would also make the top-4. Valtteri seems to have settled in to being the number-2 driver for the team but I can’t fault his driving.
- Max Verstappen – As mentioned above, finished ahead of Bottas but was dropped with a 5 second penalty after he ran Bottas off the circuit in turn-1. For the past few races, it was looking like the Dutchman was finally making good after his disastrous opening to the season, but he’s now throwing it all away with his immature behaviour.
- Esteban Ocon – Force India managed another excellent performance in their second race as a new team and are closing in fast on both McLaren and Haas. Granted, Ocon reached this position because of Grosjean’s disqualification, still a good run.
- Sergio Perez – Ditto.
- Carlos Sainz – Renault barely improved this round with Sainz even going wide at the start.
- Lance Stroll – This will probably be a one-off for this season, but Williams actually managed to get both cars on points. Stroll defended his position admirably this round.
- Sergey Sirotkin – Would have been our Pineapple Man this round were it not for Grosjean’s disqualification. It’s nice to see the Russian Rookie finally break out of the zero-points club. Maybe next year he can do it a bit faster.
Golden Pineapple Award: Charles Leclerc, Sauber
We already have eleven names on the Pineapple Chart, with this being Sauber’s third. Sauber really didn’t have a fun time in Monza and Leclerc clearly didn’t have the pace to keep up with the rest of the pack this round. Better luck next time.
Drop-out count: 4
Brendon Hartley‘s future prospects continue to look gloomy even if Red Bull might be forced to hire him for next season simply in the absence of other drivers. Still, I was not happy that Marcus Ericsson wrecked his Toro Rosso on the starting line. Hartley really can’t catch a break.
Both Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo were forced to retire with technical issues, in Ricciardo’s case this was the engine. I’m still a little surprised that Danny is willing to put his money on Renault for next season with consistency like this.
Lastly, as mentioned above Romain Grosjean did technically finish 6th, but the bottom-plate of his car was found to be against regulations after the race and he was disqualified. A dark day for Haas.
Back of the Lot News:
Stoffel Vandoorne gave us yet another underwhelming finish at 12th. Nico Hülkenberg, who received a 10-grid penalty due to his Alonso crash in the last race, was unable to really improve from the start as he was 13th.
The biggest and most surprising disappointment was Pierre Gasly who fell from grid-9 all the way to 14th. It seems Toro Rosso were completely uncompetitive in Monza.
Finally, after ruining Brendon Hartley’s race, Marcus Ericsson’s reward was to be 15th and second-to-last.
Dead last: Kevin Magnussen – Magnussen was bumped off at the start by Sergio Perez and was forced to pit early leaving him well behind everyone else. Not Haas’s day.