F1: 5 Takeaways from the Italian Grand Prix

Monza Podium 2022 - Italian Grand Prix
Spread the love

The Italian Grand Prix ends under a controversial safety car, Nyck De Vries steals the show, and Verstappen makes it five wins in a row.

The third and final race of the triple-header came to end at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. Controversy came into play again, as the race ended under a safety car despite the FIA taking a lengthy time to decide how the race would conclude. An impressive rookie debut and grid penalties provided incredible overtaking. In the end, the Championship leader reigned supreme for his fifth consecutive victory.

1 – Races shouldn’t finish under Safety Cars

The FIA came under fire for another controversial end to Sunday’s race. A late race safety car was deployed following a Daniel Ricciardo DNF on lap 47 (of 53). The McLaren parked on the edge of the track, but there were no safety marshalls in sight to begin the removal of the car. Drivers in the top ten made their way to the pits, and the fans anticipated an insane finish to the race. Unfortunately, the FIA took four laps to decide whether to red flag the race or continue under the safety car, as a crane was eventually needed.

Fans were hoping to see another one-lap shootout for the win like in Abu Dhabi last season. Instead, the FIA decided to finish the race under the safety car, leaving a sour taste to the fans. Leading to Max Verstappen winning his fifth consecutive race and first win at Monza. Yes, they believe this was the right call to make, but a shootout for the win would have been the better choice. Races ending under caution are not ideal.

Beyond the lead, there were plenty of battles throughout the top 12 that should have had the chance to be decided on the track. For the future of the sport, there should be a conversation about implementing new regulations overseeing cautions, lost time, and the end of the race. Perhaps a certain number of laps are guaranteed in case a safety car with under ten laps to go. Or a percentage of time/laps is adding back on, similar to what Formula E implemented this past season. Either way, fans deserve clear communication, quick decisions, and more racing.

2 – Italian Grand Prix Curse continues

Last year’s race winner Daniel Ricciardo, was on track to have a top ten finish until an unfortunate engine issue on lap 47. It brought an abrupt end to a potential double-points finish for McLaren. Ricciardo now becomes a part of a recent curse for the previous winners at Monza.

The previous three winners, Ricciardo (2021), Gasly (2020), and Leclerc (2019), have all suffered a DNF the year following their victory. Maybe a coincidence, but superstitions can affect drivers into thinking their luck at Monza may not be on their side following a win. Now that Verstappen took the win at Monza, keep an eye on the Dutchman’s luck at next year’s race.

3 – Nyck de Vries should take Latifi’s seat

F1 reserve driver Nyck de Vries was the talk of the paddock after his stellar debut for Williams. De Vries was called into the team on short notice after Alex Albon could not compete due to appendicitis. He scored two points and was named Driver of the Day. And this came after testing the Aston Martin in FP1 on Friday.

After this performance, De Vries should be the driver to take the second seat for Willams next season instead of Latifi. The rookie driver outperformed Latifi during the race and managed to score points in his first race, overtaking the Canadian in the driver’s standings. De Vries remained competitive all race and didn’t let the pressure get to him. If Williams wants to continue their path collecting points consistently, signing De Vries will help them achieve it. A pairing of Albon and De Vries will bring some excitement to Williams, which Latifi’s contributions lack.

4 – Tsunoda’s chances of losing his seat are increasing

It’s been ten races since Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda finished in the points. This season for the second-year driver from Japan has been difficult, to say the least. Sunday’s race was no different as he continued to struggle after starting at the back end of the grid. Tsunoda currently does not have an extension for the 2023 season. Despite rumors from Alpha Tauri Team Boss Franz Tost mentioning hinting that Yuki will keep his seat, Helmut Marko may say otherwise. With six races remaining, Yuki needs to find the groove that he had last year. Getting outperformed every race weekend by his teammate or making careless mistakes will not help his case of securing a seat for the 2023 season. Especially when there are multiple Red Bull academy drivers performing well in F2 and F3.

5 – Grid penalties help create memorable drives

Heading into the race weekend, there were nine drivers elected to take on grid penalties. Making their races a little bit more difficult, but much more enjoyable. Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz stood out for their courageous drives to the top half of the grid. Sainz made the Ferrari fans proud as he made his way from starting eighteenth to fourth, passing cars with ease. Hamilton started nineteenth and finished fifth, despite lacking the speed of the Ferrari. Top drivers always prefer to start on the front row, but races like this allow them to remind everyone of their skill level. It puts a show for the fans and drives like these will be talked about for many years to come.

Anyone up for inverted grids for the Spring races?

Championship Standings

After recording his fifth straight victory, the championship leader increases his lead over Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez. George Russell and Carlos Sainz have closed in on third.

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing – 335 points
  2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari – 219 points
  3. Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing – 210 points
  4. George Russell, Mercedes – 203 points
  5. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari – 187 points

Next Race

  • Singapore Grand Prix
  • Sunday, October 2nd – 8:00 A.M. EST on ESPN
  • Marina Bay Street Circuit
  • Previous Winner: Sebastian Vettel (2019)
Featured Image Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images