Five key takeaways from the 2021 Italian GP
The crash of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the biggest talking point of the 2021 Italian GPMercedes AMG F1

Five key takeaways from the 2021 Italian GP

With controversial accidents, experimental race formats and a surprise podium, the 2021 Italian GP was packed with action from the get-go

The 2021 Italian GP came to an end after a surprise one-two finish by McLaren Racing with Daniel Ricciardo doing a shoey at the top step of the podium. Lando Norris, who showed maturity by playing the team game, finished second while Valtteri Bottas finished third after charging through the field from P20. Championship title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton took each other out of the race after colliding with each other at the exit of Variante del Rettifilo (turn 1). Alpha Tauri had a home race to forget after Yuki Tsunoda’s car failed to join the formation lap and teammate Pierre Gasly crashed out in the opening laps of the race. In the end, we got to see a podium of three Mercedes engine-powered cars.

With that said, here are the five highlights from the 2021 Italian GP

1. Verstappen and Hamilton crash

2. Bottas’ determined charge

3. McLaren’s first victory since Brazil 2012


4. The tow dilemma continues!

5. Difficult overtakes

1. Verstappen and Hamilton crash

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were initially separated by quite a few seconds on track, found themselves heading into turn one on lap 26, side by side after slow pitstops for both drivers. While Lewis left enough of a space on the first turn, there wasn’t enough of a space for Max who was now on the inside of turn 2. Max ended up hitting the sausage kerb, lost control of his car, and hit Lewis’ tyre and was launched on top of the Mercedes. Thankfully, both drivers were unhurt and the Halo worked as designed. While most of us watching ruled it as a racing incident with both drivers at fault, the FIA has since handed Max a three place grid penalty which will be applied at the Russian Grand Prix which will be held on September 24.

The Finnish driver started to make his way up the ranks from the initial stages itself, taking full advantage of the straight-line speed of the Mercedes
The Finnish driver started to make his way up the ranks from the initial stages itself, taking full advantage of the straight-line speed of the MercedesJiri Krenek

2. Bottas’ determined charge

Valtteri Bottas made a strong charge through the field to finish third after he started from dead last due to an engine penalty. The Finnish driver started to make his way up the ranks from the initial stages itself, taking full advantage of the straight-line speed of the Mercedes. In the end, Bottas was in P4, battling with Sergio Perez for the last place on the podium. And though Bottas didn’t overtake him on track, Perez’s five second time penalty for overtaking Charles Leclerc illegally meant Bottas was promoted to third — quite a recovery from where he started!

McLaren came home P1 and P2 taking their first win since Brazil 2012 and their first one-two win since Canada 2010.
McLaren came home P1 and P2 taking their first win since Brazil 2012 and their first one-two win since Canada 2010.LAT Images

3. McLaren’s first victory since Brazil 2012

McLaren have been on the hunt for a win ever since it reignited its relationship with Mercedes. They looked strong at Monza with good race pace and were clearly the best team among the midfield players with a P3 and P4 in qualifying, ahead of their main rivals Scuderia Ferrari.

And with Bottas taking a drop due to his engine penalty, Ricciardo started the race from P2 and managed to get a good start, allowing him to snatch the lead of the race into the first corner. In the end, McLaren came home P1 and P2 taking their first win since Brazil 2012 and their first one-two win since Canada 2010.

But the only problem is that no one wants to be the lead car, because they don’t get a tow while providing one for those behind.
But the only problem is that no one wants to be the lead car, because they don’t get a tow while providing one for those behind.Red Bull Racing

4. The Qualifying tow dilemma

The ‘tow’ phenomenon occurs when an F1 car (usually a teammate) is sent out as the lead to essentially create a hole in the air for the car behind, ‘towing’ them to a higher top speed by reducing drag. This ‘tow’ is most effective on long straights and Monza is full of them. But the only problem is that no one wants to be the lead car, because they don’t get a tow while providing one for those behind. The mess was at its peak at Monza in 2019 where the drivers actually failed to reach the flag in time!

A resolution for this has not yet been founded either by the FIA or by the drivers themselves.

The skinny wings makes DRS zones painful to look at as the cars barely make an advantage with the DRS open and in turn, get caught in a ‘DRS train’
The skinny wings makes DRS zones painful to look at as the cars barely make an advantage with the DRS open and in turn, get caught in a ‘DRS train’Red Bull Racing

5. Difficult overtakes

We all know overtakes are difficult in the world of Formula 1 even with the DRS and the added short burst of power from the batteries. This is due to the car’s formula of using the air passing over it to generate downforce. But, in the straights of Monza, the aspect becomes more difficult.

The wing package used in Monza is the slimmest when compared to any other package used in the F1 calendar. This makes DRS zones painful to look at as the cars barely make an advantage with the DRS open and in turn, get caught in a ‘DRS train’. This stagnates the racing on track and the drivers can do nothing but to maintain pace and keep the position. But this may improve with the rule change of 2022 where the cars will predominantly make downforce through ground effect.

With the one-two finish in the iconic track, McLaren Racing currently stands P3 in the constructors championship with 215 points, 13.5 points ahead of their direct rivals Scuderia Ferrari. Even after Lewis’ crash, Mercedes have kept their lead with 362.5 points, thanks to Bottas’ podium, while Red Bull Racing trails by 18 points, at a total of 344.5 points. On the driver championship side, Max Verstappen leads with 226.5 points, with Hamilton five points behind. Bottas took third position with 141 points, closely followed by Norris with 132 points. As the Tifosi heads back from the Temple of Speed, Formula 1 will now head to Sochi Autodrom in Russia on September 24. Stay tuned for updates!

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