F1 Power Rankings: Italian Grand Prix

After the last race, all the Formula One fraternity and fans want to know about is whether Mercedes is about to implode. With Nico Rosberg haphazardly colliding with Lewis Hamilton with the early stages of the Belgian Grand Prix, the two seem ready to come to blows on track. I’d imagine that the pair are at great risk of doing something stupid. Daniel Ricciardo for 2014 World Drivers’ Champion perhaps? Well, not according to this week’s power rankings.

#1 Nico Rosberg
No mention of team orders or the Spa incident but Keke’s kid thinks he’ll have the ride to beat this weekend: “I’ve not had much luck at this race in the past – 2011 in particular where I didn’t even make it past the first corner! But this year things are different. We have a great car and with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit behind us I feel confident we can get a really great result.”

#2 Lewis Hamilton
Old Lewis talks about his rivalry with Nico without talking about Spa: “The Italian Grand Prix is always a special one for me in terms of the memories I have there – going right back to my early career. The karting championships used to race in Italy quite often and it’s also where I met Nico – so that’s where our rivalry really began. Monza is such a historic circuit and to win there is a really special feeling. I had that experience in 2012 and I’d love to do it again in 2014.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo
Danny Boy paints a lovely picture of the first chicane at Monza: “The biggest challenges at Monza nowadays are the braking zones. The first chicane is the ultimate example: you’re coming down to that first chicane at the highest speed an F1 car will reach all year and you’re braking into one of the tightest corners you’ll take all year. Added to that you’re doing this with the least amount of downforce you’ll have all year – which means the car tends to slide around quite a bit as well as taking longer to stop. You can’t afford to lock a brake but equally you can’t lose time by being too eager on the pedal. It demands that you are really focused all of the time.”

#4 Valtteri Bottas
The high horsepower, low drag Williams could be in for a shock this weekend but probably just a podium: “The track is really good fun to drive and it is important to have good straight-line speeds as it has some very quick straights. We have a track specific aero package that we will take, combine that with the strong power-unit and we could have a very competitive weekend.”

#5 Fernando Alonso

#6 Sebastian Vettel
It’s time for reminiscing with Old Four-Time: “Italy offers a lot: good food, nice places and I think this is the reason you will find a lot of Germans on the beaches there for their holidays! I spent a lot of time when I was young karting in Italy so I got to know a few places like Lake Garda, Napoli in Northern Italy, and Parma, which has a great karting circuit. The level of karting is quite high in Italy because there are a lot of manufacturers there. I have some friends in Italy from the karting days and also Toro Rosso so it is nice to go back there.”

#7 Felipe Massa
From his many years of wearing red, Phil is a hero to the tifosi: ” Monza is a place I enjoy. I love the people and the fans and I hope now despite the fact that I have moved teams that they still support and cheer for me… I hope to be competitive here as I think the Italian fans would like to see us do well.

#8 Kimi Raikkonen

#9 Nico Hulkenberg
The Streak may be broken but that doesn’t mean that The Hulk isn’t looking to keep on scoring more points: “I expect us to be quite competitive there. It should be better for us than Spa. It’s all about power and top speed and we know the engine will be strong. We also have a new low downforce rear wing that we will use for Monza only.”

#10 Jenson Button
Jenson talks about the seldom discussed issues with low downforce racing: “It’s such a fast circuit that it really requires a different driving approach to any other circuit on the calendar. You’re running such low levels of downforce that braking and accelerating are made much trickier – under heavy braking, the car is constantly trying to break away from you; equally, when you’re trying to get the throttle down, the car is unsettled, so the rear is squirming around. It’s a unique challenge.”

#11 Sergio Perez
I wish that everyone would try to say something interesting but I’m not sure that anyone actually writes their own quotes so maybe it’s a wash: “I think everybody enjoys going there because it’s such a beautiful location. I raced there a few times before Formula One and always had good results. I was on the podium two years ago – it was one of my best races in Formula One and a very special memory.”

#12 Kevin Magnussen
Could Montoya’s records fall this year in Monza? It shouldn’t surprise you if it happened: “With this year’s hybrid cars, I think Monza will be spectacular, too. We’re expecting to see top-speeds in the region of about 345km/h (214mph) – and that’s without a tow – which ought to be the fastest speeds we’ll have seen so far this season. That will be great for the fans.”

#13 Jean-Eric Vergne
Poor JEV is going to be unemployed in a few months. I hope he likes sports cars: “It’s the home race for us at Toro Rosso and I’m really looking forward to the weekend, because it’s always great to perform in front of the Tifosi, who really make this Grand Prix special. I think it might be a difficult race for us, as it is very much a power track where you need to be flying down the straights, which is maybe not our biggest strength this year. We will still be doing our best to have a good home race.:

#14 Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Boy’s got a seat next season. I bet that makes him feel a bit more comfortable: ” It’s a very challenging track, especially for the rookie drivers, as it is a very high speed and demanding circuit. I have always enjoyed driving it in the junior formulas and I hope it will still be the case in the Formula One car this year. I have spent a lot of my life in Italy, so it’s going to be cool to be in a familiar atmosphere. Of course, it’s also Toro Rosso’s home race, which will make what is always a highlight of the Formula One calendar even more special.”

#15 Romain Grosjean
Romain is realistic about how poor his chances are at Monza: “Without the blown diffuser it will be more challenging than last year for sure. But this is F1 and you have to meet the challenge which we will do. The reality is that we will probably have to run less all-round downforce to make up for the time we lose on the straight, but we will just have to stay positive and extract the most from the package we have in Italy.”

#16 Adrian Sutil
And Sutil rises to the top of the ranks of most generic quotage of the week: “The race weekend in Monza is always a very special event due to the popularity of Formula 1 and the tifosi. It is surely one of my favourite Grands Prix, as the Italians are great fans, and they generate a nice atmosphere around the track… After the German Grand Prix, the race weekend in Monza is another home race for the team, as the track is not far away from the Swiss border. I am looking forward to racing there, the Italian Grand Prix has a remarkable history.”

#17 Pastor Maldonado
He may not deserve a spot in F1 but Pastor has a smart take on the track: “The track is all about how fast you can go on the start/finish straight and then also on the back straight too. We are reaching the highest speeds of the season on these stretches. One of the critical points is the Parabolica corner. You have to get this right at the end of your lap to ensure a good time, and if you get it wrong it also compromises you for the next lap. It’s difficult to do this as the car is set-up for low downforce on the straights, so it’s more difficult to drive on the corners – especially a long corner like Parabolica, which is tough and fast, the most crucial at Monza.”

#18 Esteban Gutierrez
Are we all just waiting for Steve to complain about being replaced by Simona? Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to her in F1: “Due to the track layout, we need a high top speed in order to be fast on the straights. Monza’s characteristics are different in comparison to the other circuits on the calendar. On one side, there are long straights, but on the other there are also two very slow chicanes on which we will use the kerbs. Therefore, the mechanical set-up of the car is crucial.”

#19 Jules Bianchi
Jules talks about his links with Ferrari and how it makes this race all the more important: ” I am very proud to be a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and I know how special this race is for Scuderia Ferrari. To be able to race in front of the Tifosi is a very exciting and intensely emotional experience and it is nice to know that not just me, but the whole Marussia F1 Team, can feel part of that this weekend in Monza, as the fans will want everything Ferrari to be successful.

#20 Max Chilton
Max talks about the last race but nothing about his voluntary stepping aside: “I had a good race in Spa, which enabled the Team to achieve at least part of its objectives for the weekend. For the remaining Grands Prix we need to keep fighting for good qualifying and race results, to ensure we maintain our current grasp on 9th place in the Constructors’ Championship.”

#21 Kamui Koabayashi

#22 Marcus Ericsson

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