Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2020

DRS trains will make passing hard at Monza – Verstappen

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen suspects overtaking will be difficult in this weekend’s sprint qualifying race at Monza.

In brief

Passing won’t be easy says Verstappen

Verstappen said his experience in last year’s race, when he spent much of the opening stint stuck behind Valtteri Bottas, showed why there is unlikely to be many changes of position in this weekend’s sprint qualifying race.

“It might seem like you have a lot of straights here but with these cars, it’s extremely difficult to follow. And I remember last year I was like just stuck in a DRS train. So it just all depends on the pace of the guy in the leading car, basically, of that DRS train.

“Hopefully we get positively surprised by it and maybe people will be a bit daring with strategies or whatever. But let’s see. Hopefully we don’t really need to overtake too many cars.”

Sprint qualifying “doesn’t help” – Kubica

Kubica is back in the Alfa Romeo this weekend
Despite having an extra day in the Alfa Romeo in his second weekend as substitute for Kimi Raikkonen, Robert Kubica is expecting another challenging event.

“I don’t know how much easier it will be. From one point of view for, sure, having the experience of Zandvoort will help. From the other point of view, Monza is a completely different low-downforce track, you have to have confidence in the car.

“Definitely the sprint format weekend doesn’t help. I was looking forward for nice, three sessions of free practice, unfortunately this is not happening. So all this makes it a bit harder, a bit more difficult.”

Kubica, who finished the Dutch Grand Prix 15th, said realistic expectations are needed this weekend. “Magic doesn’t happen in the sport.”

Ahead of his return he re-watched onboard footage of his ELMS race at the track two months ago. “I said, well, better forget that I was here two months ago, otherwise I’ll start braking 50 metres too early.

“So you have to take it step-by-step in my position. But definitely I hope the feeling will be better in the car. Confidence is a key point, especially when you have so little time in the car. And if I will feel confident, I think it can be an easier weekend. If I miss confidence on this track, then it is a pretty tough one.”

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Comment of the day

Antonio Giovinazzi deserves a fourth season at Alfa Romeo, says Pino:

I think that Giovinazzi is doing very well and should be confirmed, very curious to see him against Bottas, sure that lots of people would be surprised.

The risk is that they may pick a paying driver, as Zhou, even if strange that Alfa Romeo may stage in a renault driver.

De Vries does not seem a real option, though Wolf may be influential…

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “DRS trains will make passing hard at Monza – Verstappen”

  1. I remember that announcement, I immediately disagreed with that, it was too early to retire and with hindsight, had he stayed for 2007 and 2008 he’d have won both given the great ferrari car they made.

    1. I disagree @esploratore1, it was the right time. He had already lost much of his speed by 2006 – at no other time in his career would Schumacher have been beaten to the WDC by a guy in a slower car – and it’s likely that the 2007 season up against Raikkonen would have been an embarrassment.

      1. It wasn’t a matter of speed in 2006, he made a few mistakes, but he was still as fast as ever from how I saw it, there’s absolutely no way raikkonen would’ve destroyed him in 2007, he was not an upgrade on schumacher.

        Furthermore the 2006 renault was on average as fast as ferrari, faster in the first half, slower towards the end.

        Don’t agree with a schumacher fan? Then look at statistical analysis, f1 metrics did one and agrees with me for 2007 and 2008: “By the model’s estimation, Schumacher was still among the best-performing drivers on the grid, and would have remained so into 2007-2008, even as he began to experience age-related decline. If we simulate the 2007 championship with Schumacher in Felipe Massa’s place, the model sees Schumacher clearly leading the title race.”

        1. someone or something
          10th September 2021, 11:32

          there’s absolutely no way raikkonen would’ve destroyed him in 2007, he was not an upgrade on schumacher.

          I agree with you on that point. Schumacher clearly had the upper hand on Massa in ’06, even though Massa edged ever closer as the season went on. But when Räikkönen arrived, Massa was immediately on par with (or slightly better than) his new team mate. Few will remember, but he was leading the Ferrari team battle until Monza, a mere 6 weeks from the championship’s dramatic conclusion.
          Then, sadly for him, his car failed on race day, swinging the battle in Räikkönen’s favour by 7 points at the worst possible moment, as Monza was the deadline for Ferrari to determine who would be their #1 driver for the last races.
          Long story short: Yes, Räikkönen, though still competitive, was clearly a downgrade on Schumacher.

          I disagree with your opinion on Schumacher’s retirement, though. Even if we think that he could’ve won the title in ’07 (I have doubts, seeing as the McLarens were usually clearly ahead, but the team made a mess of that potential, which might have played out differently if they had had a stronger challenger all season long), does it really matter if he retired with 7 or mayyyybe 8 titles?
          I don’t think so. He retired as F1’s most successful driver by far, putting in a strong final season with a spectacular final race. There couldn’t have been a better moment.

          (btw, f1metrics is possibly the worst source for anything. Dude has a confirmation bias that casts its own shadow, but he uses “models”, so that’s all facts, right? Right?)

          1. btw, f1metrics is possibly the worst source for anything. Dude has a confirmation bias that casts its own shadow, but he uses “models”, so that’s all facts, right? Right?

            What kind of bias does he have? He’s a Senna fan and his model ranks Senna lower than ever.

      2. It’s a bit like saying hamilton would be destroyed next year, it’s not like a driver loses all his speed in 1 year.


        Reddit seems to think so too in general, I remember this topic a few years back.

      4. @red-andy would have to disagree

        ‘had already lost much of his speed by 2006’

        Just go and rewatch Interlagos or at least a recap of that weekend

        Wasn’t for reliability such as in China easily could have won 2006 also

        ‘and it’s likely that the 2007 season up against Raikkonen would have been an embarrassment.’

        That I would disagree on even more. Massa beat Raikkonnen in 2008 and 2009 until his accident was leading the intrateam battle. I would even argue he could have beaten him in 2007 has it been for better reliability and luck, but at the very least they were quite close on raw pace. The same Massa who was massively inferior to Schumacher in 2006, so that doesn’t add up but he couldn’t have known that in 2006 ofc

        The bigger question for me – which is why I would partially agree with you it was the right time to retire – is motivation. I think he was certainly capable at that point to win at least one of those two years (2007-08), but would question how much he had left in the tank mentally by the end of 2006.

        He was competitively racing by then in F1 for 15 years and not sure if he had the appetite and hunger to go on with the same commitment level, especially whilst having to go up against and up and coming superstar in same team and changing dynamics in that environment

        1. My recollection of the 2006 Brazil race is that Schumacher, in what was by far the fastest car on the track (Massa won by 20 seconds), carved his way through the field thanks to most drivers pulling out of his way as soon as he got close to them. One of the few drivers to actually put up a fight was Fisichella, and Schumacher couldn’t get past him without making contact, picking up a puncture in the process. It was a good drive but hardly the spectacular performance it’s sometimes lauded as, with rose-tinted spectacles firmly on.

    2. I’ve often thought this. I wouldn’t say it would have been guaranteed but he sure would have had a fighting chance.

    3. I thought at that time it would be Massa’s time to shine in 2007 but after they announced Kimi I was worried if he could be the right driver to drive ferrari after Michael. Those shoes were massive to fill. Luckily I was wrong.

  2. Wow, can’t believe just 15 years back, there used to be just 3 races after Monza.
    Now Monza is barely ahead of the mid point of the season.

    1. For many years it was the last race of “the european tour”

  3. I think Giovinazzi is hobbled by a problem Russell did not deal with, and that is the incapability of Alfa Romeo’s operations. Williams for the last few years have been operating like a championship calibre team, limited only by the car itself, whereas Alfa have always had good drivers, an average car but a horrible team structure that resulted in bad strategy, pit performance and general performance. If they can sort that, I think we’ll see Gio to be a much better bet than he’s made out to be.

  4. I think passing in a DRS train is even more difficult than passing in a train where there is no DRS at all. When everybody has DRS, a slipstream is much less effective because the cars have much less drag.

  5. Re COTD
    I said it again last year, I was baffled that Alfa kept Giovinazzi last year, and I’ll be baffled again if they keep him this year.

    He’s not a bad driver, he’s somewhat quick on some days and he has experience – I think he can have a good career in Indyacar for example.
    But he’s definately not the best prospect out there for Alfa or Ferrari (I see less that 1% possibility of ever getting a Ferrari drive in the future).
    If instead of Bottas, Alfa got a rookie, only then it would make some sense to keep Giovinazzi as a yard stick and as de-facto team leader.
    But Bottas has experience (loads of it), so it would not be unreasonable to get a new rookie with high potential to partner him.
    And why can’t that rookie be Callum Illot or Robert Schwartzman ???

    Also I think Vasseur metioned a few months back, that they have a better car than the drivers make it look, they just don’t have a ‘Russell’ to overachieve…

    1. Illot can’t bring 30m quid is the most likely answer.

      1. Well I doubt Giovinazzi can do as well but he’s still under consideration…

        1. The advantage of keeping Giovinazzi is they wouldn’t be running 2 brand new drivers. He’s used to working with the team, they know what he’s capable of already and so on…

          If you’re going for a rookie, I didn’t see anything to suggest that Illot was effectively worth the £30m to go with him instead of Zhou.

          1. @petebaldwin
            Well sure, Giovinazzi has experience of the team, but Alfa is bringing in Bottas who has also experience (much more than Giovinazzi I would say, regardless if he wasn’t part of Alfa).
            Plus 2022 with the new regs is a reset, so Giovinazzi only experience is that he knows the team, no more car-related experience since everything will be new.

            So they have Bottas (who’s a really good deal for the team), and they want to partner him with a teammate.
            Giovinazzi is ok – nothing spectacular, he doesn’t have so much potential to get better from what we’ve seen – and he has some experience.
            Illot costs the same as Giovinazzi does and he’s a hot prospect – quite likely much better than Giovinazzi, could elevate Alfa like Russell did with Williams.
            And Zhou has also potential and loads of money.
            Of course obviously Zhou is the favorite to get the seat… but if Giovinazzi is still in the frame (and by that it means that Alfa is not so desperate looking for money), then Illot should have been also in the frame since he seems as a better prospect than Giovinazzi.

  6. One day they might have a brainwave and think: ‘hang on a minute, at some tracks we don’t need DRS why don’t we just not have it this weekend.’ Sadly the brains have not had such a wave as yet.

  7. Re Verstappen: Could be.
    Re Kubica: 200%.
    Re Johansson: 300%.
    Re Gran Turismo 7: Anyone who’s gonna buy a PS5 just for this?
    Re COTD: I do see Nyck de Vries a possibility though.
    Also on this day: Kubica’s first podium.

  8. …better forget that I was here two months ago, otherwise I’ll start braking 50 metres too early.



  9. The report, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, estimated only 1% of 40,000 people working in the UK motorsport sector was Black.

    Imafidon article

    That is shocking.

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