(Motorsports news) Red Bull outperformed Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix weekend, despite Ferrari giving it its all to win its home Formula 1 race at Monza. Max Verstappen appeared destined to break the record for the most straight victories in Ferrari’s backyard, but the Scuderia persisted in trying to spoil the celebration of the current champion, encouraged by the scarlet-clad audience.
Following a weekend of contract extensions, potential flashpoints in an otherwise subdued driver market, and technical directives as the term “flexi-wings” once more entered the lexicon of the paddock, Ferrari decided to challenge Red Bull.
1) Verstappen wins his 10th straight race to put a stop to a controversy involving a 70-year-old record:
Actually, there is some discussion surrounding that. Alberto Ascari did actually win nine straight Formula 1 races in 1952 and 1953, however his absence from the Indianapolis 500, which at the time counted toward the championship, revealed a discrepancy in the records. In 2013, Sebastian Vettel won nine consecutive races, which is unquestionably a record. However, it remained unclear if he had equaled Ascari’s achievement from the 1950s or held the record in its whole.
Now that Verstappen has broken the record, the murky realm of 1950s Indy 500 inclusion is no longer a consideration. Verstappen has done everyone a favor. Although poleman Carlos Sainz put up a defense so strong that Guinness could have placed its name on it, the Dutchman had to work for the tenth place, and it was obvious that it would happen.
Verstappen’s surge toward the finish line was not hindered by the Jean-Louis Schlesser character as when McLaren’s streak was broken 35 years earlier at the same Monza venue. He’s almost certain to increase the record to 11, or even 12, as he attempts to dash any remaining chances of a different 2023 title winner in the near future.
2) Ferrari is capable of taking risks
Ferrari was a team constrained by its own conservatism during the brief period in 2022 when it truly competed for the championship. The Scuderia was both happy and disappointed in equal measure in the first part of that year, and it frequently allowed Red Bull to take the initiative with strategic decisions, probably believing that the pace of the car would be sufficient to carry it through to victory. It lost control of its own fate by acting reactively.
One may say that Ferrari went into the Monza race with little to lose, which gave them the confidence to try everything to win its home race. It made the decision to go all-in since it was aware that the SF-23 has a decent amount of poke in a straight line and has historically been more reliable under low-downforce conditions. After all, Ferrari could profit if a recurrence of the aforementioned Schlesser event happened out front, just as it had done in 1988 after Ayrton Senna was knocked off the road.
3) Sainz has plenty of fight in him at the front:
Sainz’s position at Ferrari has been the subject of numerous rumors throughout 2023. Some believe he may join Sauber or Audi after his contract with Ferrari expires at the end of 2024, but it would practically doom him to midfield mediocrity for 2025 unless the club experiences an unexpected run of success.
He’s better than that, and his performance in Monza demonstrated that he can compete with the best up front in the appropriate car. From pole position at Monza, Sainz put on one of his best defensive performances in his F1 career, having to block Verstappen and Perez’s lunges at the Turn 1 chicane the entire time and pushing them to devise novel passing strategies. Verstappen made his move as Sainz’s deteriorating tires locked up, snatching a better exit from that chicane to choose the outside line through Curva Grande and taking the lead.
4) Andrea Stella draws the line for battling McLaren duo after clash:
Oscar Piastri took over track position in the first laps of the Italian Grand Prix since he had overtaken Lando Norris in qualifying for the race. However, Norris’ attempts to rid the Williams of Alex Albon had failed, leading him to request that the team transfer the drivers. The Briton believed his pace was faster and was certain he could pass Albon right away.
Although Norris was handed the initial pitstop to potentially claim the undercut over his younger teammate, the switch in positions was not implemented on the racetrack. After stopping a lap later, Piastri noticed Norris accelerating down the main straight and made an effort to maintain his lead. Piastri and his teammate made contact with each other’s wheels when Norris came up for air ahead into Curva Grande due to a little error in judgment when applying the brakes.
The contact could have been much worse, and both parties were fortunate to escape unharmed. Norris will want to make sure he maintains his position as leader in the McLaren setup while Piastri gains strength and seeks to establish himself. Even if there might be more pinch spots between them, Stella has been anxious to draw the line as soon as possible as a precaution.
5) Hamilton’s “unfinished business” behind two-year extension to Mercedes deal:
Lewis Hamilton grew accustomed to victory over the years that Mercedes ruled. The previous two seasons have been somewhat thin, and the British driver suffered his first winless season last year as the German manufacturer lost ground to rivals. But he believed that signing a two-year contract extension with the club was never in doubt, thus he will remain with Mercedes through the end of 2025.
Hamilton stated that he had unfinished business with the team and wanted to complete his career in Formula One by competing at the top of the field with the team he shared six of his seven world championships with. He described the team’s transformation from last year’s troublesome W13 to having the second-best package on the grid as an impressive accomplishment and said that the ongoing work being done in the background to revive the team’s championship credentials was reason enough to keep him with the team.
Hamilton says, “I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish last year to get through it.” “This year, we got off to a bad start, but we ended up with some really fantastic performances; we’re second in the constructors’ championship. The goal is to maintain that before catching up to the person in front.