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2019 Italian Grand Prix, Saturday - Paul Ripke

Morning After: What on Earth Was That?

Giving us one of the more unusual finishes to a F1 qualifying session, Saturday at Monza was memorable, if nothing else.

You know that old racing adage: if you want to finish first, first you must… uh… start your lap?

It may not have quite the same ring to it, but it’s a valuable lesson seven drivers learned on Saturday at Monza, too busy fighting for a tow to actually cross the line in time.

That said, you could see where they were coming from, and while it’s not like we needed another reason to fix the aero regs in F1, we certainly got one here, as the value of the slipstream these cars can provide at a track like Monza was ostensibly too valuable to pass up.

It’s been interesting to see the reaction on social media, with some people going a bit over-the-top (what else is new?) and suggesting F1 modify the whole qualifying format. There was also the more reasonable solution to implement something like a minimum delta on warm-up laps, which could work, but I think it would be a shame if we eliminated such battles for a tow entirely, given the intrigue it provides.

Case-in-point, the first run in Q3 worked beautifully, giving us a mixed-up field with the two Mercedes sandwiched by the two Ferraris.

Realistically, Ferrari should’ve had a 1-2 here, and while Charles Leclerc is obviously still the favourite to win the race, it will be a very different Sunday with potentially both Silver Arrows bearing down on him.

In any case, this was a qualifying we’re unlikely to forget any time soon. They say sport is drama, but sometimes it can be comedy – Saturday was definitely the latter.

Quick Hits

Scary scenes in the F3 race prior to FP3 with Alexander Peroni going airborne into the fence at Parabolica. It is a testament to modern safety standards – the halo in particular – that he was able to walk away with just a fractured vertebra

Fortunate timing for Honda with Max Verstappen’s PU-failure coming at a race he’s already starting at the back for. Would’ve been very interested in Red Bull’s reaction had that cost them a high grid position.

Interesting to see Lewis Hamilton take more shots at Nico Rosberg in the post-qualy press-conference: “unfortunately drivers become irrelevant when they retire and ultimate have to hang on to utilise other people’s light to keep them in the light”. Who said the rivalry was over!?

Race Tyre Strategy Preview, Courtesy of Pirelli

Based on the data collected in free practices, the theoretical quickest pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli for the Grand Prix are as follows:

THE QUICKEST ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on soft for 22 laps + 1 stint on medium to the flag  

2nd QUICKEST ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on soft for 19 laps + 1 stint on hard to the flag

SLIGHTLY SLOWER ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on medium for 24 laps + 1 stint on hard to the flag

SLOWER TWO-STOPPER: 2 stints on soft (16 laps each) + 1 stint on medium to the flag