Ferrari have a good chance of ending an eight-year winless streak at their home race by taking victory at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix 2019 (Race: 9:10am ET Sunday).
Last weekend in Belgium, Ferrari finally got their first win of 2019, with Charles Leclerc converting pole position into his first victory in Formula One. It was one understandably overshadowed by the death of his friend Antoine Hubert in the F2 race on Saturday.
The team essentially sacrificed Sebastian Vettel in a decisive strategy call to hold up the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and give Leclerc the best possible chance of fending him off down the final stretch of the race. It worked out, with Leclerc finishing less than a second clear of Hamilton, with the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in third, and Vettel fourth.
Ferrari will have an excellent chance of taking victory again in Monza this weekend. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff described Ferrari’s power advantage in Belgium as “ridiculous.” That is likely to be even more evident at Monza which is essentially a series of straights linked by three chicanes, a couple of medium speed corners and the lap-ending sweep of the Parabolica.
Fernando Alonso was the last Ferrari winner at the circuit in 2010, but that barren run is likely to come to an end on Sunday. After getting off the mark in Belgium, Leclerc could very well add a second triumph to his record this weekend.
Alexander Albon came home fifth in Belgium on his Red Bull debut following his promotion from Toro Rosso. He was followed by the Racing Point of Sergio Perez (finally getting back into the points after an eight-race scoreless run), Daniil Kyvat’s Toro Rosso, the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, the second Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly, and the second Racing Point of Lance Stroll.
It was only a second double points finish of the season for Racing Point. All at the team seemed enthused by the performance of the last element of their current upgrade package. Certainly in low-downforce trim, they looked to have a car that will be capable of competing for points finishes on pace alone, rather than relying on clever strategy to get them there.
Perez has clearly had the upper hand on Stroll this season. They are only separated by two points in the standings, but the difference has been greater than that. Perez has out-qualified his younger teammate 12 to one, and has finished ahead of him in eight of the 11 races (out of 13) in which they have both finished. Stroll has shown himself capable of scoring points, with five top-10 finishes to Perez’s four.
In a car that is likely to go very well at Monza this weekend, it is again Perez who can be expected to perform best, but Stroll will also have a good chance of finishing in the points.
Alfa Romeo showed strong pace in Belgium and should really have taken home a good haul of points. Kimi Raikkonen started in sixth but dropped back following damage to his car caused by a first-lap clash with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen that limited his ability to recover from there. Antonio Giovanazzi had been running eighth, only to spin out, seemingly through driver error, on the last lap of the race.
The team are likely to be just as competitive at Monza. Raikkonen will delay his changeover to the latest Ferrari engine specification so as not to incur a penalty. He can be expected to be right there at the head of the midfield. A top-six finish could even be on the cards.
Only once so far this season have the top six positions been filled by the six drivers of the three fastest teams. McLaren, Racing Point, Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas have all secured at least one top-six finish to date. With Verstappen highly likely to take a grid penalty for switching to the latest Honda spec, Monza will probably provide Alfa Romeo, in the hands of Raikkonen, with their best chance of adding their name to that group.
Our Preview’s F1 Italian Grand Prix Predictions & Picks Verdict
Having studied the odds at the main US bookmakers, these are this preview’s betting predictions and picks for the F1 Italian Grand Prix:
- Bet on Charles Leclerc to win the race @ best odds of +140 with BetOnline, found in their left hand menu via ‘other sports’ then ‘auto racing’ and then ‘motor sports’ (not the ‘formula 1’ link!).
- Back Lance Stroll to finish in the points (ie: a top 10 finish) @ +125 with Bovada or BetOnline.
- Have a wager on Kimi Raikkonen to secure a top 6 finish @ best of +450 with Intertops or BetOnline.