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PREVIEW: Snarling Monza beast awaits F1 field

After Max Verstappen stole the show in his homeland, the pressure is now on Lewis Hamilton to deliver the goods at Monza as the F1 European “swing” nears its end.

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Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The F1 field heads to Monza next where staright-line pace will be the name of the game.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

So, will young Max move further clear at the top of the Driver’s standings or will Lewis rein him in? Our F1 writer gives his verdict on who will claim the main race as well as his value bet for the Italian Grand Prix.

Italian Grand Prix
Sunday 12 September
Autodromo Nationale Monza

To Win Race Outright

Lewis Hamilton 11/10
Max Verstappen 12/10
Valtteri Bottas 12/1
Sergio Perez 25/1
Lando Norris 33/1

Previous Race

Max Verstappen delivered the goods in his backyard as the Dutch youngster claimed his seventh win of the campaign in front of a sea of rapturous supporters clad in orange. The victory saw the Red Bull ace move into top position on Drivers’ Championship Standings.

While Mercedes managed the remaining two spots on the podium – Hamilton claimed second and Bottas took third – it was a rather dreadful race for the Silver Arrows as Valtteri Bottas decided to go rogue and attempt to claim the fastest lap accolade despite the Mercedes crew telling the Fin to back off and give the point to Hamilton. All is certainly not well n the Merc camp.

Former Red Bull man Pierre Gasly had a decent time of it as he was next across the line bringing his Alpha Tauri home in fourth. There was a Ferrari theme to the remainder of the top seven with Charles LeClerc coming fifth and former Prancing Stag driver, Fernando Alonso, taking sixth. While Carlos Sainz claimed seventh.

The rest of the points scoring places went to Sergio Perez (eight), Esteban Ocon (ninth) and Lando Norris (tenth).

Track

Monza

Located some ten odd miles outside of Milan, the famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza awaits this field.

The circuit has gone through several redevelopments since it was opened in 1922, mainly in a bid to improve safety.

The 5.793km long track is situated in the Royal Villa of Monza park – this park has provided a fantastic backdrop for many a classic Formula one action shot.

Drivers will go head-to-head over 53 laps, which sees them cover a total of 306.729km.

Although the track has been turned into a much more sedate beast over the years, it still poses some serious questions of driver’s skillsets.

Whilst Monza holds significantly fewer corners to challenge the drivers compared to Spa, it still poses a few of the most infamous turns in F1. Parabolica, in particular, possess a threat; this 180-degree bend is has ended many drivers’ races in the past.

Another challenge for drivers is the Variante Ascari sequence which is a culmination of turns eight, nine and ten.

The two DRS activation zones are located on the start/finish straight and the straight between turn seven and eight.

Last season’s race was won by Pierre Gasly, while Charles LeClerc took top honours in 2019.

There’s a bit of rain being forecast for the weekend, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the weather before having a crack.

Value Bet

Pierre Gasly – Podium Finish – Yes @ 11/1

I really like this one. Gasly won this event last term – albeit behind the wheel of a Red Bull.

He also heads to Italy in decent touch having finished fourth last weekend, sixth in Belgium and fifth in Hungary. A good bit of value at 11/1.

To Win Race Outright

Lewis Hamilton @ 11/10

The Brit is tied with Michael Schumacher for the most wins in Italy.

He’s claimed five race wins at Monza with his most recent coming in 2018. I’m backing on him ending his two-year drought at the venue this coming Sunday.

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