F1: 2019 Italian Grand Prix Preview
Race winner Charles Leclerc celebrates during the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Photo credit: Mark Thompson,Getty Images)

F1: 2019 Italian Grand Prix Preview

Charles Leclerc will be hoping to build on his maiden Formula One victory with further success at Monza, in Ferrari’s home grand prix where the expectation to win is growing.

matthewwatkinson
Matthew Watkinson

A packed schedule has seen a quick turnaround after the Belgian GP, where Charles Leclerc was set to taste the sweet champagne in celebrations after the race.

But, after the tragic events just a day before, where Anthoine Hubert tragically lost his life in a high-speed collision in F2, celebrations were subdued in a bittersweet moment for the Monegasque.

Ferrari remarkably have not won at Monza since 2010 and the upcoming weekend would surely offer the Maranello outfit their best opportunity to do so with such superior straight-line speed over their rivals.

Team Principal Mattia Binotto said, “The win in Spa is important for our fans, hopefully many will join us in Monza to support us.

“We’ve seen we need to do everything perfect, from the quali, to the start, to the team management, to the drivers themselves, so nothing can be left. I expect that it will be very difficult in Monza so we will need to be perfect there, knowing that Mercedes may be competitive as well.”

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Before the Belgian GP Sebastian Vettel would have been number one driver to most, but after playing the role of Leclerc’s rear-gunner to hold up Lewis Hamilton, it seemed that the German might have lost his place as the leading driver in the team.

After coming so close to snatching victory in the final laps last time out, Hamilton will be hoping to spoil Ferrari’s home race once again after doing so previously last season.

Max Verstappen had a short, torrid time in Belgium and after Honda announced it would be introducing the latest Spec engine for Monza, the Dutchman will have to work his way through the field much like his new teammate Alex Albon did in spectacular fashion to clinch fifth on the final lap.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly endured an emotional weekend in Spa, but a solid ninth place on his return to his former team provided encouragement for the Frenchman, though he like Verstappen will face a grid penalty in Italy.

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The Track

Having hosted its first grand prix in 1950, Monza is one of the iconic circuits on the calendar and the passionate Italian faithful only add to an electric atmosphere.

The Autodromo di Monza is 53-laps long on a circuit extending to 5.793km, and it is known for intense, fast sweeping corners and long straights where with modern day DRS assistance, expect overtaking to be executed there.

The lap record is still held by Ruben Barrichello where in 2004 he set a 1.21.046.

In the upcoming race this weekend, forecasts show rain could have a significant impact on both Friday sessions and the race on Sunday, with qualifying likely to be dry with significantly warmer temperatures.

What happened last year?

In the 2018 Italian GP, Ferrari as ever in Monza, were favourites for victory in front of their home crowd. But another costly wheel-to-wheel error from Vettel after colliding into the side of Hamilton on the opening lap, meant all Ferrari hopes rested on the shoulders of Kimi Raikkonen.

It was a must win race for Vettel, and having limped home in fourth position, the gap to the top of the championship was extended to 30-points after Hamilton snatched victory from Raikkonen with eight laps remaining.

Verstappen endured an eventful race having made contact with Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1, and the Dutchman received a five-second penalty which ultimately cost him a podium.

Further down the field Romain Grosjean claimed his fourth points finish after a strong sixth place, in a scenario that Haas could only dream of in their current state of turmoil.

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When can I watch it?

Friday

Free practice 1: 10:00 – 11:30

Free practice 2: 14:00 – 15:30

Saturday

Free practice 3: 11:00 – 12:00

Qualifying: 14:00 – 15:00

Sunday

Race: 14:10

All times BST.

 

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