The Formula 1 fraternity decamp to Monza this weekend for the Italian GP, and all the pressure looks to be on Ferrari.
Despite the lack of spectators, the famously vociferous Scuderia Tifosi will still want a win but after boss Mattia Binotto insisted his team were “in the middle of the storm” but not a “crisis” following some poor results, a repeat of Charles Leclerc’s win from last year appears unlikely.
Mercedes Again the Team to Beat
Ferrari’s lack of power suggests it could be another weekend of woe and of course, it is Mercedes who lead the betting and understandably so.
The Silver Arrows were again the star turn last week in Belgium, Lewis Hamilton leading home team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
The Brit is the
5/11 favourite to win at Monza, with Bottas
15/4 and is hunting his sixth win of the season. Hamilton has won the race five times in his career and the long straights at the ‘Temple of Speed’ will surely suit his F1 W11.
Bottas has made the podium in the last three year so has a feel for Monza and therefore may carry value at
3/1 for the Fastest Lap.
Red Bull to Continue to Fall Short
Max Verstappen continues to perform beyond his relatively meagre 22 years and upset Hamilton at Silverstone to win the 70th Anniversary GP.
The Dutchman was fastest in second practice last weekend in Belgium before qualifying in third, but couldn’t improve on that position on race day as he eventually finished on the bottom step of the podium.
Verstappen’s win in the 70th Anniversary GP came via a one-stop strategy on the hard tyres and a similar ploy may be needed here if he is to win at
Red Bull will take heart from that victory due to the similarities between Monza and Silverstone. Both of which are characterised by their long straights.
Whether they can put it together for a weekend against Mercedes remains a doubt though, especially as they have not won at the circuit since 2013.
Ferrari and Co to Struggle
For all the positivity elsewhere, it is hard not to worry about Ferrari and their engine clients. Leclerc ended the team’s nine-year wait for success at their home circuit using a one-stop strategy on the hard tyres and will need to pull off a similar tactical coup to even challenge.
Haas chief Gunter Steiner, whose outfit use the Ferrari 065 unit, admits his team have a “hand tied behind their back” to even get out of first qualifying.
Like Haas, fellow Ferrari-engine users Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari have secured just one point this season and further fingers are likely to be pointed at the Scuderia hierarchy come Sunday evening.
*All odds correct at time of writing