With Formula One suspended for two weeks, we thought we’d reverse one last time in last Sunday’s race at Monza. Enjoy!
Last weekend Max Verstappen continued to make Saturday’s Formula 1 qualifying exercise a mostly irrelevant exercise, as despite being forced to start in seventh place, the Red Bull driver was able to come home the next day for another victory without disputed.
Verstappen was moved back to the starting grid five places as one of a large number of recipients of engine change penalties, after deciding to bring in a new internal combustion engine from the factory. But since mechanical failure seems to be the only thing that could slow down his season at this point, the team had to consider the price small enough to push.
Charles Leclerc managed to take pole position on Saturday, and a rare error-free day for Ferrari in front of a crowd of supporters at Monza allowed him a somewhat undisputed trip to second on the podium, but again he had no answer for the driver’s speed. Red Bull.
Verstappen was one of nine drivers to take net penalties to alter different parts of the powertrain, something we will likely see more of in the latter part of the season as teams find the chain limits for engines well below the amount needed to keep rolling at competitive speed.
The sheer number of penalties caused some difficulties for the FIA in the starting standings after qualifying, but the end result was Red Bull’s Sergio Perez starting 13th, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz 18th and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton 19th. McLaren, which recently lost to Alpine in a fourth-place struggle, had a chance to reverse that trend as its cars finished third and fourth on the grid.
Alex Albon was absent over the weekend after a bout of appendicitis that required emergency surgery, and was replaced in a Williams car by reserve driver Nick de Vries. Despite the late call, de Vries managed to qualify for 13th by three places better than regular Williams driver Nicholas Latifi. Albon will suffer complications from the surgery, but he still hopes to return for the next event on October 2 in Singapore.
The start saw Lando Norris lose quickly when his car failed to take off properly, a situation Norris said was due in part to the car’s incorrect launch settings. Leclerc outperformed his front-row neighbor, George Russell, at the start, and Russell was for the most part watching out for Leclerc’s rear wing for the rest of the race.
Verstappen didn’t bother to waste time, picking three places to move to seventh on the first lap, then quickly picking Daniel Ricciardo and Russell to move to second on lap 5. Likewise, Sainz had trouble navigating across the field, going from 18th to fourth on lap 13. Sergio Perez was unable to join the overtaking team, as the problem of overheating of the brakes led to an early stop, which, in addition to lost time in digging, necessitated a long time on hard tyres.
The rest of the race went pretty much as we expected in 2022. Leclerc and Verstappen swapped the lead several times during the stops, but the Red Bull driver’s faster lap times meant that by changing Leclerc’s final tire Verstappen was in front of staying.
The biggest drama of the day involving the top 10 involved Ricciardo, who had been in position for only his third race in the last eight competitions, but the car stalled on the track with an oil leak with five laps remaining. Unable to get into an easy position on the track to clear the car, the remainder of the race was conducted under a yellow flag, as Verstappen crossed the finish line with his fifth straight win and eleventh place of the season.
Verstappen’s 116-point lead in the drivers’ standings means he could win the next race, should he win, and his teammate Sergio Perez is not fourth. In the history of Formula One, only Michael Schumacher in 2002 and Nigel Mansell in 1992 have been decided with many races remaining.
through the field
*De Vries went on an impressive qualifying run with an equally impressive race, finishing 9th. His two points make up a third of Williams’ grand total this season, and he now puts him ahead of the other team’s driver. Nicolas Latifi in the drivers’ standings.
This surely did nothing to quell the chatter that de Vries might replace Latifi as a full-time driver next year (or even sooner). Williams boss Joost Capito has praised De Vries and has certainly not ruled out the possibility of the Dutch driver becoming part of Williams’ squad, but as one of the few teams with seats available, Capito may have other options available to him as well.
*Alpha Toure player Pierre Gasly, who continues to be pursued by Alpine for 2023, produced his third strong performance in a row and brought his team one point away from Haas to finish seventh in the Manufacturer’s Championship.
Gasly was expected to be allowed to leave the Red Bull junior team if they could bring in IndyCar driver Colton Herta, but with the FIA now expecting to deny Herta’s application for the super license needed to join the series, other arrangements will need to release Gasly from his contract.
Sebastian Vettel’s farewell trip to Monza proved to be short, as the former Ferrari driver was forced to retire on lap 12 due to an engine failure.
Teams say goodbye to Europe for 2022 and begin preparing to build frequent travel miles, with two weeks off before the Singapore Grand Prix on October 2.second abbreviation. The night race at Marina Bay Street will return for the first time in three years after two cancellations linked to the pandemic.