F1 Power Rankings: Italian Grand Prix

So #TeamLH technically didn’t come out on top in the Belgian Grand Prix but he functionally did. There was some very good luck with that red flag that allowed him to claw most of his way up the field. I kept seeing headlines during the week like “How Lewis Hamilton scored a podium from 21st with only four passes” like F1 sites were cosplaying as BuzzFeed. This week, Louise (that’s a Hobbs-ism) will start up front. Can he keep from being slimstreamed into oblivion? The F1 Power Rankings tries to answer the question.

f1-lewis-hamilton-helmet-2016#1 Lewis Hamilton
Old Lewis’s pre-race quotes kinda suck this week: “Now we go to Monza – a track I know well from so many racing categories throughout my career and one it’s impossible not to love. The speed, the history, the atmosphere… it’s just so iconic in every way. Standing on that amazing podium, looking out over a sea of fans on the straight, has to be up there as one of the most incredible experiences a sportsman can have.”

f1-nico-rosberg-helmet-2016#2 Nico Rosberg
So does Nico’s: “I’m really enjoying the battle out there right now. We’ve got several cars in the mix now which is exciting for us and also the fans. For me, I’m taking every race like a cup final. It’s great to know you have the team and the car to just go out there and lay it on the line. I can’t wait to make our Silver Arrow fly at Monza.”

f1-daniel-ricciardo-helmet-2016#3 Daniel Ricciardo
Remember, Danny, too many pizzas can cost you at the end of the straight: “We are straight in to Italy after Spa. It has the best pizza place in the world, it’s ridiculous and I love it. The fans in Italy are cool too, they are crazy about racing and extremely passionate.”

#4 Sebastian Vettel

f1-kimi-raikkonen-helmet-2016#5 Kimi Raikkonen
Bwoah, you know there’s not a lot to Kimi’s quotes this week: “It’s a nice place to go. A traditional circuit with a lot of history. It’s completely different from all the other circuits. It’s a home Grand Prix for us and this makes it a bit busier for us, but also for a lot of fans.”

#6 Max Verstappen
I hazard that Mad Max will be the tifosi’s least favourite person at Monza. Unless someone actually takes out a Ferrari during the race: “The food, though, is of course the best in the world. I have spent a lot of time in Italy so to go back, eat some local food and see some old friends will be very nice. I can’t wait to get back there.”

f1-nico-hulkenberg-helmet-2016#7 Nico Hulkenberg
The Hulk has some insight to being fast at Monza: “Few tracks push the car to the limit as Monza does. There is no margin for error in the braking zones and every mistake costs you time. In terms of set-up, you need to strike a balance between high speed on the straights and downforce in the corners, but the focus is firmly on top speed. You also need good traction, to make the most of the long straights.”

f1-sergio-perez-helmet-2016#8 Sergio Perez
And Checo talks about how it feels driving at Monza: “You feel the lightness of the car in every corner because you’ve got so little aero load and it’s even hard to keep the steering wheel level on the straights. The two Lesmo corners are crucial: you need to be stable under braking and control your traction – get wheelspin out of the corner and you’ll destroy your tyres.”

#9 Valtteri Bottas

f1-fernando-alonso-helmet-2016#10 Fernando Alonso
How many people thought that we’d see Alonso compare Baku to Monza? “As we saw in Azerbaijan, the developments that have been made to these turbo cars mean they’re now incredibly fast, and we’re going to see some serious speeds along the straights at Monza. This is always such a quick race – it’s over in a flash – and while it’s not always the most enjoyable to race with such low grip, the feeling of speed is phenomenal.”

#11 Felipe Massa

f1-jenson-button-helmet-2016#12 Jenson Button
Jenson sums up everything in his first sentence: “What is there left to say about Monza? It’s a unique, incredible racetrack – I love that its history surrounds the place – you just can’t ignore it. I also love that unique blend of Italian passion – and chaos – that engulfs the weekend. It also signals the end of the European season – which seems to have disappeared in a flash – so it’s a time of year when you really start to narrow your focus before the final fly-aways.”

#13 Carlos Sainz
Chili has a unique insight to the front-straight of Monza: “As you go down into Turn 1 you can see, hear and smell them – they are all doing barbecues in this area of the track and are all so passionate! Getting to the first chicane is one of the best feelings, arriving at nearly 350km/h, surrounded by these incredible fans… It’s fantastic!”

f1-romain-grosjean-helmet-2016#14 Romain Grosjean
Romain wants you to set your expectations for this race low, it seems: “[Overtaking is] not as straightforward as a drag race. You still lose downforce when you follow another car out of the low-speed corners. It’s one of those races where you can have a lot of overtaking, a lot of action. It’s always interesting to see how it plays out with the big slipstreams.”

f1-daniil-kvyat-helmet-2016#15 Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Boy has lost his passion for PR quotes as well: “Monza is an interesting and fast track. The braking into the first chicane is one of the longest and heaviest of the championship. [The top speed here is] between 350 and 360km/h, it depends where the wind is blowing… And my favourite part of the track is… Wherever I’m faster than Sainz!”

f1-esteban-gutierrez-helmet-2016#16 Esteban Gutierrez
Steve is hoping for some love from the Tifosi because he was a Ferrari reserve driver last year: “It’s one of the classics. The people, the atmosphere, the Italians, Ferrari fans, and we’re using Ferrari engines, so it’s great to come there and enjoy nice support from the Italians, especially for me being part of Ferrari last year directly as a third driver put me very close to Italy.”

f1-kevin-magnussen-helmet-2016#17 Kevin Magnussen
K-Mag says that he’ll be ready for the race this weekend: “I’m feeling okay. It was a big crash [at Spa] and I was sore but fortunately had nothing worse than a bruised ankle. I’ve had some more checks in Denmark and am working with my physio to keep fit. I feel I’m ready to race in Monza. The FIA will of course have the final word but I really want to and I’m confident that by then it will be fine.”

#18 Pascal Wehrlein

f1-jolyon-palmer-helmet-2016#19 Jolyon Palmer
Jo doesn’t rate the Renault package at Monza. Granted, they didn’t do too badly early at Spa: “We go to Monza knowing it will be tough as it does not suit the characteristics of the car too much. However we also thought Spa was going to be tough and it was better than expected, particularly in qualifying. We need to approach it fresh, confident that at each race we are moving forward and in the fight now and see how we do.”

#20 Esteban Ocon

f1-felipe-nasr-helmet-2016#21 Felipe Nasr
Sauber: Last on track and in PR quotes. Remember how great they were last decade? “Monza is an historic and unique circuit for me. I know the circuit well from every series I have come through. It reminds me a lot of the time when I moved to Italy in 2009 as a young racing driver. Back then I lived very close to Monza.”

f1-marcus-ericsson-helmet-2016#22 Marcus Ericsson
Marcus talks about finding the balance but can you when you don’t have much in the way of aero? “We need to find a compromise with the downforce level giving us a high straight-line speed, but also finding the right set-up for a stable and fast car through the chicanes. There is always a thrilling atmosphere in the Autodromo, and the Italians are really passionate about motorsport.”

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