2017 Italy Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: As we predicted, the Mercedes momentum continued at Monza. Now, we expect the momentum to swing back and forth. At least we sure hope so.
TRACK: A shame for the tifosi that their track is best suited for Mercedes and definitely not for Ferrari.
EVENT: Monza is always a great event.
QUALIFYING: Hamilton breaks the career pole record in the most impressive of ways, Stroll quiets (more like shuts up) his critics, Ocon makes a huge statement within his team, and prancing horses don't like rain.
START: Hamilton teaches the rookie a lesson, Ocon jumps into second, the Ferrari's begin their march, and Perez chooses someone other that his teammate to bang wheels with.
RACE: Not the best of races and no Force India fireworks to keep us entertained.
HAMILTON: Even more in control and more dominant than at Spa.
BOTTAS: Got himself back where he belonged -- ahead of everyone else and behind Lewis.
VETTEL: Now, it's Sebastian's turn to chase.
RAIKKONEN: Manhandled this race.
FERRARI: Go back to Maranello with your tails between your legs and work on getting it right for Singapore.
RICCIARDO: Daniel head faked Perez beautifully. Out braked Raikkonen when it physically should have been impossible. Nearly pulled another podium out of the hat. Oh, if only his car was equal to that of the Mercedes.
VERSTAPPEN: Well, at least Max finished...
RED BULL: Without the grid penalties, they would have finished ahead of Ferrari.
OCON: The hopeful podium slipped away as expected.
PEREZ: Qualified 11th, received a five-spot grid penalty, and started 10th. HUH?!
FORCE INDIA: One way to prevent fireworks is for one driver to completely outperform the other, so they are never close to each other on the track.
STROLL: Probably wished it rained on Sunday, but still a very, very solid drive by Lance.
MASSA: What was that on the last lap all about? Teaching your protege a lesson? Or giving Claire a heart attack?
WILLIAMS: Nonetheless, a great comeback race for the team.
ALONSO: Fernando sure was obsessed with Palmer's infraction. Even after Palmer was penalized an appropriate amount, Fernando couldn't let it go. Heck, even after Palmer dropped out, Fernando was still carrying on. For crying out loud, worry about the important things, like trying to get rid of Honda, not Palmer.
VANDOORNE: Suffered the obligatory Honda DNF.
HONDA: And it looks like Honda will be gone from McLaren, moving over to Toro Rosso.
SAINZ: Carlos can not be happy about that!
KVYAT: Neither can Daniil, but nobody cares what he thinks.
FIA: Hamilton was the only driver who started in the same sport he qualified after all the shuffling due to the grid penalties. Why should fans even bother watching qualifying? Heck, why even bother running qualifying?
RACE DAY: No doubt the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend is the greatest day in racing with Monaco - Indy - Charlotte. However, the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend is developing into a solid greatest runnerup day in racing with Monza - Watkins Glen - Darlington. And throw in the NHRA Nationals on Monday for good measure.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Red.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 69 -- The number of career poles now held by Lewis Hamilton, breaking Michael Schumacher's record.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Michael Schumacher got his first pole position in the fourth race of the 1994 season at Monaco, which was the first race after Ayrton Senna's death. Senna had won the pole for the first three races, though Schumacher won all three of those races. Schumacher also won Monaco. His last pole came in the 11th round of his final season with Ferrari at the 2006 French GP. Schumacher never won a pole during his three years at Mercedes.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: With the partisan crowd understandably booing Hamilton on the podium, Lewis tried his best to get on their good side and handle the situation with aplomb. But, eventually he couldn't resist plunging the final dagger into the tifosi's back by declaring, "Mercedes power is definitely better than Ferrari power."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Daniel Ricciardo while slicing through the field is told Felipe Massa is next up on the road, said, "I like ‘em vulnerable."
SCHEDULE: Potentially, Singapore could be a three-way battle between Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull. That would be a lot of fun.
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