F1 2016: Italian Grand Prix Preview

From one iconic circuit to another, the Formula One circus has travelled from Spa-Francorchamps to Monza for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

The gap at the top of the championship stands at nine points between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Hamilton took a number of engine penalties in Spa, resulting in him starting at the back of the grid. He was fortuitous in the timing of a safety car period and red flag and finished in third place, limiting the cut in his championship lead to just 10 points. Rosberg won with Daniel Ricciardo finishing in second at the longest circuit on the calendar.

Circuit: Autodromo di Monza
Number of Laps: 53
Circuit Length: 5.793km
Number of Corners: 11
Lap Record: 1:21.046 Rubens Barrichello (2004)
Previous Italian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 3
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (19 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft

From the longest circuit to the fastest on the calendar, Monza is dubbed the “temple of speed”. While cornering speeds are relatively low, drivers reach speeds of up to 370kph on the pit straight. The famous Parabolica corner leads onto the straight where drivers pick up speed on the run to first chicane. Due to the nature of the circuit – low speed corners and high speed straights – brake wear is high while drivers will change gear approximately 46 times per lap. Grip levels are low meaning teams will run cars at their lowest downforce levels of the year.

Of the current field only Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have won at Monza. The 2015 running of the race saw Hamilton complete the treble – pole position, race win and fastest lap. He also won the race in 2014. Following all his engine changes in Spa he is well placed to make it a third victory in a row in Italy.

In Belgium Red Bull extended their lead over Ferrari in the constructors championship while Force India moved into fourth ahead of Williams. Further down the order McLaren moved ahead of Toro Rosso into 6th place.

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