Apologies for this thread being a bit late (normally I try and put them up on Monday/Tuesday). Shockingly, this is because I was so busy concentrating on doing some actual work that I forgot.
The tyre compounds for Monza will be medium and hard, the same combination we saw at Spa. The tyres played relatively little role in differentiating the teams there.
Monza’s a very high speed circuit, with minimal downforce (teams with money often have a Monza-specific setup/rear wing). It’s comparable to Canada, or Spa if you go for the low downforce setup (you can go either way in Belgium due to the contrasting sector types). The circuit’s pretty much a collection of straights with tiny kinks masquerading as corners.
Traditionally, it hasn’t been a Red Bull-friendly circuit, but it would be an error of judgement to write off the processional victors of Spa. We can’t go by last year (they suffered a rare double retirement), but in 2011 Vettel won and in 2010 he got on the podium.
In off-track news, Ricciardo has been confirmed as Vettel’s team mate for next year. This leads me to think that Raikkonen said no (or terms offered and desired were mutually exclusive), as Ricciardo was clearly super-enthusiastic for the deal and would’ve said yes at any time. Horner has emphasised that he will not be a number two driver, and that Ben Affleck has been universally welcomed as the new Batman.
Early forecasts indicate a small chance of rain over the weekend, so it’s worth keeping an eye on that (although qualifying and the race are likely to be dry).
Whilst qualifying was close (largely due to the elements) in Belgium there was a rock solid dry-running pecking order of Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton. That was pretty tedious to watch, alas, but I’d be surprised if it’s changed that much from then to now.
I’m also wondering if I should offer my tennis tips here/on Twitter as well. They’d be very brief and rather haphazard (I bet only when I see value, as opposed to F1 where, so far at least, I try and bet each weekend).
If you have any insights, tips, questions, thoughts or cogitations do feel free to share them in the comments.