Theoretically, there is one realistic way Ferrari could snatch a home victory from the Mercedes drivers, despite the silver cars’ 0.8s advantage in qualifying.
Rapid starts have been a strength of the SF16-H since the season began and the 600 metre-plus run to turn one at Monza is of the longest of the season. If the red cars can launch past the silver ones – perhaps aided by the softer tyres they will have on at the start – that could give them the whip hand on strategy. With similar top speeds Mercedes would be hard-pressed to overtake on Monza’s long straights.
As the Spanish Grand Prix demonstrated, when a team has both its cars in the lead and is under pressure from a rival team, the impulse to split strategies between their drivers to preserve a victory can leave them vulnerable to being jumped in the pits. But as the race is expected to be a one-stopper, Ferrari standa better than average chance of keeping at least one of its two cars ahead.
It’s a slim hope, however. Firstly it rests upon their drivers making Melbourne-style starts again. But the tyre situation weakens Ferrari’s position even further.
By setting their fastest times on the soft tyres in Q2, Mercedes will be starting the race on tyres which should last several laps longer. It’s striking that to them this is so clearly a superior strategy that neither of their drivers opted to use the super-softs in the hope of claiming an advantage over their championship rival.
In the event that Ferrari do get both of their cars ahead at the start, Mercedes could most likely extend their first stint long enough that they could see off a Ferrari counter-attack even though their rivals would benefit from the ‘undercut’.
The tyre rules, therefore, have again served only to increase Mercedes’ existing advantage.
Even the prospects for a fight between the Mercedes drivers seem slim. Lewis Hamilton has been substantially quicker than Nico Rosberg all weekend, as he was last year and the year before that. Although he flat-spotted one of the tyres he will start the race on he does not believe it is significantly damaged.
It all points towards a continuation of the type of race seen at Spa and predicted during the summer break: Mercedes easily asserting themselves over rivals whose thoughts have already turned to next year. A re-run of the second half of 2013, but with Mercedes taking the role of Red Bull.
Speaking of Red Bull, their expectation that this would be their worst race of the second half of the season is being borne out. Not only were they out-qualified by both Ferraris, but the Williams of Valtteri Bottas too.
The second Williams went out in Q2; Felipe Massa seems to have begun his retirement early. However he will take ‘new tyre pole’ just behind the two Force Indias, so the Grove team have a good chance of reclaiming the fourth place in the constructors’ championship they lost to their rivals at Spa.
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Qualifying times in full
|Driver||Car||Q1||Q2 (vs Q1)||Q3 (vs Q2)|
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1’21.854||1’21.498 (-0.356)||1’21.135 (-0.363)|
|2||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||1’22.497||1’21.809 (-0.688)||1’21.613 (-0.196)|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1’23.077||1’22.275 (-0.802)||1’21.972 (-0.303)|
|4||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1’23.217||1’22.568 (-0.649)||1’22.065 (-0.503)|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||Williams||1’23.264||1’22.499 (-0.765)||1’22.388 (-0.111)|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1’23.158||1’22.638 (-0.520)||1’22.389 (-0.249)|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1’23.229||1’22.857 (-0.372)||1’22.411 (-0.446)|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India||1’23.439||1’22.922 (-0.517)||1’22.814 (-0.108)|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1’23.259||1’22.951 (-0.308)||1’22.836 (-0.115)|
|10||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas||1’23.386||1’22.856 (-0.530)||1’23.184 (+0.328)|
|11||Felipe Massa||Williams||1’23.489||1’22.967 (-0.522)|
|12||Romain Grosjean||Haas||1’23.421||1’23.092 (-0.329)|
|13||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||1’23.783||1’23.273 (-0.510)|
|14||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor||1’23.760||1’23.315 (-0.445)|
|15||Jenson Button||McLaren||1’23.666||1’23.399 (-0.267)|
|16||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Toro Rosso||1’23.661||1’23.496 (-0.165)|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1’23.825|
|Driver||Sector 1||Sector 2||Sector 3|
|Lewis Hamilton||26.529 (1)||27.586 (1)||26.962 (1)|
|Nico Rosberg||26.631 (3)||27.697 (2)||27.189 (2)|
|Sebastian Vettel||26.710 (6)||27.889 (4)||27.288 (3)|
|Kimi Raikkonen||26.779 (8)||27.874 (3)||27.367 (4)|
|Valtteri Bottas||26.548 (2)||28.163 (7)||27.622 (7)|
|Daniel Ricciardo||26.916 (11)||28.021 (5)||27.415 (6)|
|Max Verstappen||26.947 (13)||28.049 (6)||27.383 (5)|
|Sergio Perez||26.689 (5)||28.293 (10)||27.769 (10)|
|Nico Hulkenberg||26.739 (7)||28.309 (11)||27.758 (9)|
|Esteban Gutierrez||26.891 (10)||28.214 (9)||27.751 (8)|
|Felipe Massa||26.657 (4)||28.357 (13)||27.939 (13)|
|Romain Grosjean||26.958 (14)||28.210 (8)||27.911 (12)|
|Fernando Alonso||26.962 (15)||28.416 (14)||27.895 (11)|
|Pascal Wehrlein||26.890 (9)||28.462 (15)||27.963 (14)|
|Jenson Button||26.926 (12)||28.352 (12)||28.069 (16)|
|Felipe Nasr||27.014 (17)||28.592 (17)||28.065 (15)|
|Marcus Ericsson||27.011 (16)||28.784 (19)||28.292 (18)|
|Jolyon Palmer||27.087 (18)||28.567 (16)||28.262 (17)|
|Kevin Magnussen||27.258 (19)||28.717 (18)||28.314 (19)|
|Esteban Ocon||39.270 (20)|
|1||Felipe Massa||Williams||Mercedes||357.6 (222.2)|
|2||Sergio Perez||Force India||Mercedes||356.7 (221.6)||-0.9|
|3||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||Mercedes||356.6 (221.6)||-1.0|
|4||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Mercedes||353.4 (219.6)||-4.2|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||Williams||Mercedes||353.4 (219.6)||-4.2|
|6||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||Honda||352.4 (219.0)||-5.2|
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Ferrari||352.3 (218.9)||-5.3|
|8||Kevin Magnussen||Renault||Renault||352.2 (218.8)||-5.4|
|9||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor||Mercedes||352.2 (218.8)||-5.4|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Haas||Ferrari||351.9 (218.7)||-5.7|
|11||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||Ferrari||351.7 (218.5)||-5.9|
|12||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||Ferrari||351.6 (218.5)||-6.0|
|13||Jenson Button||McLaren||Honda||351.3 (218.3)||-6.3|
|14||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||Mercedes||350.9 (218.0)||-6.7|
|15||Felipe Nasr||Sauber||Ferrari||350.6 (217.9)||-7.0|
|16||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas||Ferrari||348.0 (216.2)||-9.6|
|17||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||TAG Heuer||346.3 (215.2)||-11.3|
|18||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||TAG Heuer||345.0 (214.4)||-12.6|
|19||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||Renault||343.7 (213.6)||-13.9|
|20||Esteban Ocon||Manor||Mercedes||243.0 (151.0)||-114.6|
NB. Sector times and top speeds for the Toro Rosso drivers currently unavailable.
Over to you
Can you see any way for Ferrari to beat Mercedes at home? Will Esteban Gutierrez finally score his first points of the season?
Share your views on the Italian Grand Prix in the comments.
2016 Italian Grand Prix
- 2016 Italian Grand Prix team radio transcript
- Fourth Driver of the Weekend win for Ricciardo
- Second-lowest rating this year for Italian GP
- Top ten pictures from the 2016 Italian GP
- 2016 Italian Grand Prix driver ratings
17 comments on “Ferrari’s slim hope of stopping a Hamilton hat-trick”
3rd September 2016, 19:13
I can see a rather boring race coming up if the start does not change the running order (such as the Mercs getting a bad start and dropping a few places). The good thing is that this is one of the shortest (time-wise) races of the year so it’s over quickly.
One interesting thing this weekend are the slow top speeds we are seeing. After hitting nearly 380 kph in Baku, just over 350 kph seems rather slow.
3rd September 2016, 20:07
‘One interesting thing this weekend are the slow top speeds we are seeing. After hitting nearly 380 kph in Baku, just over 350 kph seems rather slow’
I heard a similar remark from the Sky Sports F1 team, and I think it’s rather misleading:
– Bottas’s top speed in Baku was the result of a racing-like situation in which he had a tow from another competitive car (Verstappen’s) that was using DRS as well
– The official top speeds in Baku were much (much, much, much, much) slower than the 378/381 kph we’re talking about (334 in qualy, 340 in the race)
– Contrary to what the Sky team seems to believe, the top speeds actually increased in today’s quali: from 354 to 356 kph
– this top speed was achieved without a tow; the situation with Bottas and Verstappen in Baku was rather exceptional.
The top speeds were actually a lot higher today than they were in Baku, and they’re going to be even faster tomorrow (possibly thanks to Massa having to overtake a few slower cars with fresh tyres).
3rd September 2016, 19:20
Saddes thing I’ve ever read on F1fanatic. A meteor could strike both Mercs off the front of the grid just before the race, that could happen too. Why not wish for that while you’re at it.
3rd September 2016, 20:09
And here I was sat thinking it would entail Mad Max knocking out a Merc or two (when he was lapped, of course!)
mystic one (@mysticus)
3rd September 2016, 20:14
For many, a good race is considered when Ham fails/crashes, Ves tangle with someone, or Fernando get through to top 10…
3rd September 2016, 21:41
More likely scenario is Rosberg making a clumsy, out of control lunge in turn 1 and taking them both out.
3rd September 2016, 22:46
Here’s hoping. Both merc’s make it past the first corner I’m flicking the channel. Also way to go on making it a one stop. Real nail biting stuff.
3rd September 2016, 23:29
Yeah, because that, unlike the Ferrari-jumps-the-Mercs-at-the-start scenario, has happened before …
4th September 2016, 10:27
Likw Hamilton did to Rosberg in Spain.
4th September 2016, 12:17
Like Rosberg did to Hamilton in Spain you mean? Or are you saying that it was Raikkonen’s fault that Verstappen blocked him in Spa?
bull mello (@bullmello)
3rd September 2016, 22:05
Starts have been troublesome at times for both Mercedes drivers, especially Rosberg it seems.The Ferrari drivers have been doing reasonably well on starts and are closer to the front row this race. Still, logic says Mercedes should lead the way to the first corner. F1 starts are not always logical.
F1 in Figures (@f1infigures)
3rd September 2016, 22:23
“As the Spanish Grand Prix demonstrated, when a team has both its cars in the lead and is under pressure from a rival team, the impulse to split strategies between their drivers to preserve a victory can leave them vulnerable to being jumped in the pits.”
Such a scenario may, however, give them a 1-3 or 1-4 instead of a 3-4. However, in tomorrow’s race the strategic options will be limited and the Mercedes are very likely to “overshoot” the Ferraris when they pit first. Tire wear is generally not that much of an issue at Monza and therefore a Mercedes on worn softs may still be faster than a Ferrari on mediums (assuming that SS-M is the normal strategy).
3rd September 2016, 23:13
Well look on the bright side, if the Ferraris and Mercs take each other out at the first corner, it could be an interesting race!
4th September 2016, 3:50
If both Ferraris block they can slow down the racing and expose Mercedes to RBR. It would have to be some very good team blocking though. They would litterally have to cover for each other, and allow the other to pass should it mean keeping Mercedes behind. It would make for some of the best racing seen in F1 though. Would be very difficult to achieve, but it wouldn’t take very long to frustrate the Mercs who would risk burning their brakes up and ruining their tires behind while having to defend from the likes of VES.
It can be done, but it would have to be very calculated and TACTICAL driving.
4th September 2016, 8:03
OK, so both Seb and Kimi need the greatest manual start of all time, then hold up the Silver Arrows long enough for the Badger and Bottas to hassle the Mercs. Or hold them up long enough that either Merc driver gets too impatient and they bump into each other.
This is doable, actually, but this being Ferrari, they’ll bork a stop and another car wins.
4th September 2016, 9:52
I never said it would happen, only that it can. And I expect Ferrari to be competing for Turn 1.
4th September 2016, 9:58
Yeah, but, you know… DRS.
Comments are closed.