After regaining the lead in the overall standings following his win last weekend at home, Max Verstappen now faces Lewis Hamilton on one of his career favorite circuits.
Verstappen won the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday to forge a three-point lead in front of the Briton, but the latter could snatch first place from him this weekend at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
Hamilton has triumphed five times in his career at the legendary Hall of Speed, in addition to signing three more podiums.
By comparison, Verstappen has never finished in the career top-3 at Monza. His best result so far is a fifth place in 2018.
“It could be a different weekend this time around,” agreed Hamilton, who will try again for his 100th career F1 victory after being unable to reach that historic threshold in his last three attempts since his triumph. at home at the British Grand Prix.
“I think we can be fast again, but if you compare with their engine (Red Bull), it’s more powerful than ours this season, especially in the long straights. They will therefore be very, very fast… It will be tight, ”said the Mercedes driver.
Verstappen and Hamilton also have very different records in qualifying at Monza. The Red Bull driver has never qualified beyond fifth on the starting grid, while Hamilton has seven leading positions to his name.
However, this weekend they will face the second qualifying session of the season presented in the sprint format, following the one at Silverstone earlier this summer.
Instead of the usual two free practice sessions on Friday, which are followed by a third Saturday morning and the afternoon qualifying session, the drivers will participate in a free practice session and a qualifying session on Friday. view of the sprint race on Saturday morning.
This 100 km race will allow the first three drivers to cross the finish line to obtain classification points. The winner will pocket three points, the second two, and the third one only.
Hamilton had been the fastest in qualifying at Silverstone, but Verstappen beat him in the sprint race to take the lead for the traditional Sunday race.
Ferrari wants to forget the nightmare of 2020
Separately, Ferrari hopes to avoid the shame of last year, especially given the des’tifosi ‘return to the stands at Monza.
The race was held behind closed doors last year due to the pandemic of coronavirus, thus preventing the ‘Scuderia’ from receiving tomatoes since its two pilots had been forced to abandon. Nevertheless, this was Ferrari’s worst result in Italy in 70 years.
Ferrari fans will be back in the stands this weekend, although race organizers have limited capacity to 50%.
” I’m excited. It’s always a special place for a Ferrari driver, so I’m really looking forward to this experience, said Charles Leclerc, who ended Ferrari’s famine at home by winning the Italian Grand Prix in 2019. It will be a difficult weekend; it is one of the less favorable tracks for us this season, but we will give everything we have.
“The support from the spectators here is unique… even as we left the hotel this morning, hundreds of fans were waiting for us to see us and cheer us on, so it’s good to be able to have such an experience, and it will be. obviously very special this weekend, ”concluded the Monegasque.