Mario Isola says the warmer conditions at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Sunday meant the Italian Grand Prix was always going to be run on the two hardest compounds available.
With drivers all allowed a free choice of starting tyre due to the Sprint Qualifying race format in Italy, the majority of the field began the race on the medium compound before switching to the hard for the final stint.
Both Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris used this strategy to claim a one-two finish for the McLaren F1 Team, but the podium was completed by Valtteri Bottas, who adopted the opposite strategy as the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team climbed from nineteenth on the grid after starting on the hard compound.
Isola says the hard tyre showed impressive pace and durability throughout Sunday’s race at Monza, particularly as Ricciardo was able to grab the bonus point for fastest lap on the final of the fifty-three laps. He also says the temperature in Italy prevented the soft compound from being used bar for a couple of laps by Nikita Mazepin.
“Both McLaren drivers used the same medium to hard strategy that was adopted by the majority of the field, but Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes also showed what was possible with the opposite strategy,” said Isola.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda had their worst weekend of the season so far at the Italian Grand Prix, after both cars failed to make the start of the race with mechanical gremlins.
Pierre Gasly’s weekend had started beautifully, the Frenchman had yet another strong qualifying, before everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Gasly crashed out of sprint qualifying on the opening lap at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza meaning he would have to start the main race from the back of the grid. The team had hoped they’d repaired Gsaly’s car but unfortunately the Frenchman knew something was wrong on the way round to the grid, where the team decided to retire the car.
A disappointing end to what had looked to be another strong round for Gasly, the Frenchman was disappointed but is already focused on the Russian Grand Prix.
“We had a brilliant start to the weekend, with another strong Qualifying performance, but then after yesterday’s Sprint Qualifying it’s all been very disappointing. We knew there was something wrong in the initial laps, but we weren’t able to get it fixed before the race. We don’t know the exact issue yet but unfortunately, we had to retire the car. It’s our home race so it’s hard to lose both cars here today. We know that the performance of the car is there, so we need to just work hard and prepare for the next race.”
“We need to turn the page” – Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda had yet another weekend to forget, the Japanese driver who was eliminated in qualifying one on Friday finished in a low sixteenth place in Saturday’s sprint race.
Guenther Steiner says the Uralkali Haas F1 Team drivers cleared the air after their latest tangle during the Italian Grand Prix, and the team are making progress with both drivers in a bid to ease tension between them.
Nikita Mazepin attempted an overtake on Mick Schumacher at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza only to collide with his team-mate, with the German being spun around by the incident just after the race resumed following the safety car caused by the crash between championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Schumacher ultimately finished fifteenth on Sunday, while Mazepin’s race was over on lap forty-two with a suspected engine problem that saw him stop on the exit of the Ascari chicane and cause a brief virtual safety car period to allow his car to be recovered to safety by the marshals.
Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, says talks between the two drivers after the race were positive, and he hopes the issues that have been simmering between them can disappear as they bid to move the team forward across the remaining races of the 2021 season.
“A pretty exciting race for us in all aspects with all that went on,” said Steiner. “Obviously, again we had a run-in between the two drivers but they cleared the air about it.
Nikita Mazepin took responsibility for the collision with his Uralkali Haas F1 Team team-mate Mick Schumacher during the Italian Grand Prix last Sunday, with the Russian apologising for spinning around the German.
Ultimately, Mazepin’s race was curtailed by an engine issue on lap forty-two, with the team deeming that it was game over as soon as the problem arose. He pulled over at the exit of the Ascari chicane and caused a brief virtual safety car as the marshals recovered his VF-21 to safety.
But the collision with Schumacher was the bigger talking point of the race, and Mazepin apologised for spinning around his team-mate, although he felt he had the right to attack for position as the German appeared to brake early for turn four.
“I had a power unit failure from what I believe – we just lost all power,” said Mazepin. “I think it was dangerous for the whole unit to continue forwards and not be able to recover it completely, so the team said to stop the car immediately.
“With Mick, he braked very early going in to Turn 4 and I just put my nose there and obviously he needed to make the corner and turn in, so I’m sorry it happened. It was my fault, but it was a racing incident.
Frédéric Vasseur admits it was disappointing for the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team to leave the Italian Grand Prix weekend empty handed after Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica ended thirteenth and fourteenth in Sunday’s race.
Giovinazzi had shown good pace throughout the weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and had started the Grand Prix inside the top ten, but a mistake at the second chicane and a subsequent collision with Charles Leclerc as the duo fought over sixth place ended his chances of points.
The Italian was forced to pit at the end of lap one with a damaged front wing after contact, not only with Leclerc, but also the wall, and a subsequent time penalty from the stewards for the clash left him languishing at the back of the field. He ultimately ended thirteenth.
Team-mate Kubica struggled for grip during the race and was unable to threaten the top ten as he raced in place of Kimi Räikkönen for a second consecutive weekend, with the Pole ending fourteenth, just behind Giovinazzi.
“We showed really good pace this weekend, so it’s disappointing to leave the track empty-handed after a race heavily compromised on the opening lap,” said Vasseur, the Team Principal at Alfa Romeo. “The performance in qualifying and in the sprint had put us in a great position, with the pace to fight the cars around us.
Antonio Giovinazzi saw a promising weekend crumble away on the opening lap of the Italian Grand Prix last Sunday, with a clash with Charles Leclerc ending his chances of points.
The Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver had been strong all weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and was starting inside the top seven on Sunday after an impressive display not only in Qualifying on Friday but also the Qualifying Sprint race on Saturday.
However, it all fell apart on lap one after running wide through the second chicane and then colliding with Scuderia Ferrari’s Leclerc that pitched Giovinazzi into the barriers. He suffered a broken front wing in the incident, but the stewards also deemed him responsible for the crash and handed him a time penalty that ultimately left him outside the points in thirteenth at the chequered flag.
“It’s a pity to have such a strong weekend compromised by an incident in lap one,” said Giovinazzi. “I went a bit wide at the second chicane, jumped on the kerbs and then I had no control over the car. I need to see the pictures to fully understand what happened.
“After that, it was just a difficult race: I had damage to the floor and it was just very difficult from the back. It’s frustrating, especially knowing how our pace looked and where the cars that were around us finished.
Chandler Smith entered Friday’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway as the ninth of ten drivers and needed a win to advance to the next round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs. In a dramatic five-lap restart, he did just that as he held off the dominant truck of Sheldon Creed and got some help from Kyle Busch Motorsports team-mate John Hunter Nemechek to win his maiden Truck race.
Creed, who hoped to sweep the Round of 10 by winning all three races, started on the pole and quickly asserted his dominance by leading every lap in the first two stages. When Carson Hocevar finally marked the first “lead change” of the night by staying out under caution before Stage #3, Creed had led a career-best 116 straight laps; his previous best was 114 en route to his Gateway win two rounds prior.
While Creed led the way throughout the first two segments, trucks behind him began wrecking quickly with three cautions coming out in Stage #1. The first yellow flag came after two laps when Sam Mayer spun while racing Spencer Boyd, with Howie DiSavino III and Josh Reaume also taking damage. Tanner Gray and Boyd also brought out cautions with spins of their own, the latter once again tangling with DiSavino. By the end of the stage, Creed led Austin Hill, Matt Crafton, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, Hocevar, Stewart Friesen, Todd Gilliland, Tyler Ankrum, and Johnny Sauter; Enfinger, Ankrum, and Sauter were non-playoff drivers.
Lap 69 was not very nice as eight drivers were involved in a frontstretch crash: Drew Dollar got loose off turn four while racing Enfinger and Chase Purdy, causing him to go sideways and clip Cory Roper, triggering a pile-up as Tate Fogleman, Dawson Cram, and DiSavino drove into him. Lawless Alan attempted to dodge the stationary Dollar and spun after diving to the inside. The accident resulted in a red flag that lasted six minutes, twenty-three seconds before resumption.
By the end of Stage #2, Creed led Ankrum, Hill, Zane and Chandler Smith, Nemechek, Friesen, Enfinger, Parker Kligerman, and Crafton. Enfinger and Kligerman are both part-time drivers and thus not in playoff contention.
On what was a difficult weekend for Williams Racing, it almost turned into the perfect one at the Italian Grand Prix after the team almost came away with a double points finish. George Russell secured another points finish in ninth with Nicholas Latifi just missing out in eleventh at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
After starting the race in thirteenth and fourteenth, the team wouldn’t have been expecting to have been on the cusp of a double points finish, yet things unravelled their way, sort of!
The team pitted Latifi on lap twenty-three, in the hope of performing an undercut on those ahead whereas Russell was being made to run his opening stop longer. In theory Latifi’s strategy was the stronger, however a safety car on lap twenty-six for Lewis Hamilton’s and Max Verstappen’s crash, allowed both Alpine F1 Team drivers and Russell to pit and gain a huge amount of time on those who had pitted early.
This elevated Russell up to ninth, behind Fernando Alonso but ahead of Esteban Ocon and Latifi who was left in eleventh. Russell just managed to find himself in the right place at the right time, unlike Latifi who was extremely unlucky. Both drivers maintained their position for the remainder of the race, meaning that Williams gain a further two points for their constructors campaign.
Williams Racing Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson recognises that it wasn’t the team’s strongest weekend and that they capitalised on others misfortune. Robson was also quick to praise Latifi who really was so unfortunate with the timing of the safety car.
George Russell secured yet another points finish, after strategic masterclass by Williams Racing at the Italian Grand Prix, team-mate Nicholas Latifi just misses out on making it a double points finish in eleventh.
It was all about being in the right place at the right time for Russell at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. The British driver didn’t think points would be possible going into the race, however an excellent strategy by the Williams team meant he found himself in ninth place come the end of it.
The team made the right call to pit Russell as the safety car came out for Lewis Hamilton’s and Max Verstappen’s huge crash, gaining the British driver a couple of places whilst in the pit-lane. This elevated Russell from outside the points, up into ninth place in an Alpine F1 Team sandwich. From then on it was just about managing the gap to Esteban Ocon behind which Russell did beautifully, to secure yet another points finish for his quickly growing tally.
Russell recognises that the team got fortunate with being in the right place at the right time but will happily take the points, the British driver hopes the team can keep the momentum going.
“We were on the track in the right place at the right time when the Safety Car came out and gained a couple of positions in the pitlane. The last stint after that was then really strong with Alonso ahead of me and Ocon behind me and we managed to maintain the gap. We’ve now scored points at three of the last four races which at one point seemed pretty unbelievable.
The NTT IndyCar Series continues their end of season tour of the west coast this weekend with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterrey, held at the world-famous WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Alex Palou reclaimed his championship lead by winning the Grand Prix of Portland last weekend, building a 25-point cushion to second place Patricio O’Ward in the process. Josef Newgarden overtook third place from Scott Dixon, with only five points now separating the 2020 championship rivals. Marcus Ericsson still holds fifth place, 26 points behind his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate.
Only two races remain this season, and the championship fight is coming down to the wire. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterrey.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR?
Like Portland, Laguna Seca was taken off of the schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions, but in 2019 the race was the season finale that saw Colton Herta win from the pole and Newgarden crowned as the series champion.
Much like the 2019 Grand Prix of Portland, Herta was forced to defend his lead from Dixon in the early stages of the race. Unlike the previous outing, Herta was able to manage his tyres and keep Dixon behind him, until he came under fire from Will Power at the end of the final pit stop phase.
The Alpine F1 Team managed to recover a double points finish at the Italian Grand Prix, with Fernando Alonso finishing eighth and Esteban Ocon tenth, in what had been a challenging weekend for the team.
It was a relatively successful Sunday at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for Alpine, both drivers made excellent starts with Alonso then having a very uneventful race to the flag, finishing in an unchallenged eighth place.
Ocon had a more eventful grand prix, the Frenchman was forced to allow Nicholas Latifi past in the opening stages of the race, after being deemed to have overtaken the Williams Racing driver illegally. Ocon was then awarded a five-second penalty for a collision with Sebastian Vettel several laps later. The Frenchman cut across the front of Vettel as the pair braked for turn four, the Aston Martin driver was alongside the Hungarian Grand Prix winner in what was a deserving penalty.
Ocon did well though to recover and finish tenth, meaning the team added five points to their tally further cementing their fifth place in the standings.
Team Principal Marcin Budkowski is glad both drivers got through the race unscathed and added crucial points to the teams tally. Budkowski was also quick to congratulate Daniel Ricciardo on his victory and Alpine academy driver Oscar Piastri on his victory in the Formula 2 feature race.
Fernando Alonso did a great job at the Italian Grand Prix to finish eighth place, after what had been a difficult weekend for the Alpine F1 Team at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Team-mate Esteban Ocon had an eventful race and finished tenth.
It was a very lonely, uneventful race for the experienced Spaniard. The team executed an excellent strategy with the double world champion, putting the Spaniard in an impressive eighth place. Alonso spent the entire race unchallenged, the Alpine driver didn’t quite have the pace to overtake Lance Stroll ahead but had the pace to finish in a comfortable eighth.
Alonso believes the team maximised their potential and is hoping they can find more pace at the Russian Grand Prix.
“I think we maximised our potential today considering it was an uncompetitive weekend for us after qualifying thirteenth and fourteenth on Friday. It was quite a lonely race for me, but both cars finished in the points so it’s a good result for the team. I think the result shows we executed a good race, strategy and pit-stops. Now Monza is out of the way, hopefully we can find our competitiveness again for the next race and fight for more points in the championship.”
“One point doesn’t reflect the team’s work” – Esteban Ocon
Ocon had a very eventful race, the Frenchman made a strong start and gained a couple of places on the opening lap but then lost time after having to allow Nicholas Latifi back past. The stewards deemed the move was made illegally.
Lance Stroll added six crucial world championship points to Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team’s tally at the Italian Grand Prix, after an excellent seventh placed finish. Team-mate Sebastian Vettel had a difficult race and finished twelfth.
It was a successful Sunday at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for Stroll, the Canadian made a strong start to the race, however made unfortunate contact with team-mate Vettel on the opening lap, the contact damaged Vettel’s car which ultimately ruined his race. From then on though Stroll didn’t put a foot wrong and fought hard to keep Fernando Alonso behind on the way to clinching seventh.
Vettel had a horrible Sunday afternoon at Monza, the German had made an impressive start before Stroll made contact. This dropped Vettel several places and damaged his car in the process. It was a race full of collisions for Vettel, several laps later Esteban Ocon cut across the front of Vettel at turn four whilst the four-time world champion was trying to overtake. Mick Schumacher too made contact with Vettel later in the race.
Team Principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer was very impressed with Stroll who earned the team crucial points but was also disappointed for Vettel.
“Lance drove a superb race to seventh place today, earning us an important six world championship points. As for Sebastian, he had an incident-packed afternoon, including a bit of contact with Lance on lap one, and was badly chopped by [Esteban] Ocon later on. The accident damage took its toll towards the end of the race, which made it more difficult to fight and overtake. Next we go to Sochi, where we fully intend to add useful points to our world championship tally.”
Lance Stroll put in an impressive drive at the Italian Grand Prix to claim an important seventh place, adding crucial points to the team’s constructors tally. Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team team-mate Sebastian Vettel suffered a difficult race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
Stroll made an excellent start to the race after starting ninth, however the Canadian made unfortunate contact with Vettel at turn six on the opening lap, which effectively ruined Vettel’s hope of points. From then on though Stroll drove strongly in what became a relatively easy drive to claim a seventh place finish, the Canadian driver did well to keep Fernando Alonso behind for the entirety of the race.
The Canadian believes seventh is the best result the team could’ve asked for from the Italian Grand Prix, as the team struggled with straight line speed.
“Finishing P7 is a good result and a great job by the team. It was a case of pushing the entire race because the field was pretty close throughout. We managed to find a good spot with the car. While we were not quite as quick as some of the others on the straights, we were strong in the corners, and we were able to make that work for us.
“I think seventh was the maximum we could have achieved today considering our race pace. After three races in a row, it is nice to have a bit of a break before we head to Russia and I am looking forward to getting back in the car there.”
Another piece of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship jigsaw has been completed, as the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team have officially announced that they will be retaining their 2021 driver line-up of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel for 2022.
Canadian Lance Stroll who will be entering his sixth season in Formula 1 in 2022, is excited to continue his journey with the team next season after the team haven’t achieved their goals in 2021.
“Next season I will be embarking on my sixth year in Formula One, alongside my team-mate Sebastian. We started this Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team campaign together and I greatly look forward to continuing the journey with him next year. We have not achieved what we set out to do this year, but that has only amplified our hunger and drive for success next season.
“Now, with the prestige and support of Aston Martin, and the brilliant new sponsor-partners that such a prestigious brand has attracted, we are well positioned to improve our performance in 2022.”
Whilst Stroll’s position in the team looked assured, there had been much speculation over recent races that Vettel would perhaps retire at the end of this season. Of course the announcement that Aston Martin are retaining their line-up puts those rumours to rest with Vettel as excited as ever to be behind the wheel, especially with the new regulations coming into play next season.