Hello there. If you looked at the column that says “Posted… by” up there under the title of this post, you probably figured this isn’t Matt or Steve posting this. But, since I now happen to have privileges that allow me to write articles for this wondefully-managed (thanks, Matt) blog, and since Matt is now full-on in sleep mode, I figured I’m gonna write up the usual predictions post since this is the kinda thing that we do here.
Being honest here – I don’t remember how last year’s race went, so I’m sure Matt or Steve could edit that in for me. However, the classification leads me to believe that Vettel won it, which means it was probably no different to 75% of the races last year in everything but the first corner. So, in my predictions, I will have to draw any semblance of reason I decide to put in them from Spa and FP1 which just unfolded before my eyes. And, let me tell you, that will be no easy task.
Since Spa happened less than a week ago and is in many ways similar to Monza, you’d expect the previous race to serve as a benchmark for this one. As such, you can easily observe that, say, Sauber is obviously on the rise, their summer break upgrades (?) having worked out quite nicely for them even if all of that easily amounted to nothing in the actual race due to factors we’ve talked enough about. McLaren, meanwhile, is looking lovely but mostly that should be attributed to Jenson Button who produced a stunning race and could be on the verge of repeating the fantastic second half of the season that he had last year. Meanwhile, both Red Bull and, to a certain extent, Ferrari looked fairly stagnant despite Vettel’s podium. The Enstone team’s weekend seemed to be undone by car problems, uncertainty over the DDRS and… other things, while Mercedes just looked appaling in every way.
Going by that alone, my original prediction for qualifying was Vettel – Button – Hamilton, with the podium for the race being Vettel – Button – Alonso. However, after FP1, it seems that I will have to do a Romney and change my stance on things in record short time.
So, I’m not sure when that happened, but Mercedes are suddenly looking good again, possibly due to their drivers’ morale boosted by the rumours of being replaced by Lewis Hamilton. As such, I’d expect both of them to get the car firmly into Q3 but with the current tactical standards in the house of Brawn that’s about as far as they’ll go. Hamilton, who I originally expected to place third in qualifying, doesn’t look like he’ll be able to do it to me anymore, because during this week he’s been put under a lot of stress and you know how that works out, right? Both Red Bulls, meanwhile, look pretty bad and with Vettel saying that nobody there knows where the qualifying pace is, you know even his abilities probably won’t be enough to put that car on front row. Lotus doesn’t look too hot as well, having had to push their DDRS thingie until 2027 or something (actually until the Japanese Grand Prix) and… other factors, their weekend will probably be a recovery one – as many points as possible. And, honestly, you can’t really tell what to expect from all the midfielders – Sauber and Force India are where they usually are in FP1, while no Williams predictions will ever be justified by anything.
So, going by that, let’s say we’re on for a repeat pole from Jenson, who’s looking very strong and confident indeed and certainly has the car to accomplish just that. I reckon that Alonso might just put that car into second, because he is Fernando and that’s how he does things. Third – yeah, I’ll go with Seb. Car doesn’t look good, but he doesn’t need that sometimes. I also expect to see Kimi, Lewis, Hulk, the two Mercs, Sergio and Pastor in Q3, although I’d hope Mark can get in there as well.
The first back-to-back victory of the season is yet to come and how fitting it would be if in 2012 it would be a driver virtually out of contention for the championship. However, Jenson could do it and I would be massively happy to see him do it on Sunday. However, it might prove not quite so easy this time, with Alonso apparently being renowned for his Monza starts and the car looking fairly good.
Even so, throughout the race, I’d expect the Red Bull strategists to prevail and put Vettel ahead of Alonso, where he’d hold up the Spaniard for the majority of the race. That might be a bit of a long shot, but with this being a track that’s been kind to Vettel over the years, it could happen. As I predicted safety cars, I’d also expect to see both Lotus drivers do well, as Kimi is really consistent when it comes to staying out of trouble and I just generally have faith in Jerome. Mercedes should be there, but you just never know with their tyres, while Sauber look like their Spa form was just a one-off. Even still, Monza is not too different looking (and in layout) from Montreal, so I’d expect a solid race from Perez, barring any accidents. I’d also expect another solid performance from Hulkenberg, even though Paul di Resta should be a lot closer this time.
Who do I give the “Cucumber Award for Sporting Excellence” to? Well, honestly, even though I imagine Pastor to have one hell of a qualifying yet again, you do imagine he’ll have to start in the midfield and fight his way up, which is usually recipe for disaster. Yes, him crashing in Monza would be some kind of a statistical anomaly, but who else are you gonna bet on?
Post yours below, as always,
1 – Jenson Button
2 – Fernando Alonso
3 – Sebastian Vettel
1 – Jenson Button
2 – Sebastian Vettel
3 – Fernando Alonso
Cucumber: Pastor Maldonado