The Mercedes Battle Continues but can Ricciardo gate-crash the party?
All eyes will be on Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, but should they been casting a glance towards Daniel Ricciardo?
This is the first Grand Prix since the incident between Hamilton and Rosberg that left the British driver fuming. The collision between the pair caused Hamilton to have to retire from the race giving Rosberg a 29 point lead at the top of the driver’s standings.
But is this a two-horse race? Sitting in third place is the Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo who is currently 64 points behind Rosberg. Now it may be wishful thinking to believe he has any chance of becoming World Champion but there is still a chance. Remember it’s the crazy double points rule for the last race of the season. What if Ricciardo was within 50 points of the leader going into that race? It may sound improbable but a few mechanical problems at Mercedes or more in-race problems between Rosberg and Hamilton could just leave the door open for Ricciardo. Having written all that Ricciardo will probably go out on the first lap at Monza this weekend!
So what can we expect in Italy? Well there could be plenty of talk about what’s happening off the track and the attendance at Monza. TV ratings in Italy have fallen and Ferrari fans distraught at seeing their beloved team continually struggling may well stay away this weekend. Ferrari have only won the Italian Grand Prix twice since 2004 and the last time was in 2010, Ferrari fans don’t appreciate turning up at Monza to see their team lose. Tickets are already being offered at discount prices but it’s just another worry F1 has to face.
On the track of course the press will be trying desperately to keep the tensions between Rosberg and Hamilton going. Mercedes Sports boss, Tito Wolff is greatly concerned about the ongoing problems between his two drivers: “We would have to take decisions and take the consequences of having a different line-up. If we are not able to manage the two of them following the Mercedes-Benz spirit then we need to admit that.”
Hamilton has only won one Grand Prix at Monza while Rosberg has never won on the track. Qualifying is even more important than usual this weekend as 11 of the last 14 races here have been won by the driver on pole. Hamilton can’t afford any stupid qualifying mistakes this weekend if he wants to close the gap on his teammate.
It promises to be an incredible weekend both on and off the track. Let’s just hope the tensions between Rosberg and Hamilton don’t boil over again. We want a good clean race between the pair at one of the greatest tracks in the world.