The race is over.
First place: Charles Leclerc.
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In a difficult week for motorsport, Charles Leclerc triumphed in Belgium to win his first ever F1 race. While it’s not a result that will have much implication for the Championship in the grand scheme of things, it was a sign once again that Hamilton’s latest road to glory won’t come without a few bumps along the way. The Italian GP is naturally special for Scuderia Ferrari but it is Leclerc, not Sebastian Vettel on whom they’re pinning their hopes.
Not for nothing is Monza known as ‘The Temple of Speed’ and there are currently showers scheduled for northern Italy on the day of the race. Max Verstappen has already predicted another week of setbacks for Red Bull, not least because their engines will struggle to cope with the track in Italy. He’ll be opting for 10 sets of softer tyres. All in all, where the 21-year-old is normally a decent outside bet, many will want to avoid him this weekend.
Speaking of anticipated disasters, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff actually came away from Spa relatively content with his team’s second and third placed finishes. However, Hamilton has fond memories of Italy after winning there in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Hamilton to win
Having provided Ferrari with some much-needed respite, Leclerc will expected to make the podium again, though he is still yet to find consistency, perhaps a result of his inexperience. The other question is whether the Prancing Horse’s engines are up to it as they’ll be going at full power for a good portion of the nearly 6km track.
Leclerc to win
Now inevitably, anyone backing Vettel will do so with caution given the season he’s having. Yet it’s worth bearing in mind that he’s one of the only top competitors with much positive experience of the venue, winning there in 2008, 2011, and 2013. There is so much straight driving too, that it should work in Ferrari’s favour – possibly even at Mercedes’ expense if that does prove a deciding factor.
Vettel to finish on the podium
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Head to Head
Belgium was the first race in 21 where Verstappen has finished outside the top five as he was ruled out in the very first lap.
One more front row lock-out will bring Ferrari level with Mercedes in the all-time list.
Only Michael Schumacher has won the Italian Grand Prix as many times as Hamilton (5).
Hamilton was under no illusions as to what went wrong in Belgium, Ferrari beating Mercedes when it came to straight-line speed. There’s little reason for alarm, however, as the world champion did mount a late charge and finished runner-up by less than a second. He’ll be confident of getting back to winning ways at Monza.
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John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
All Predictions by John Abrams