Rosberg To Rule In Italy
Italian Grand Prix
Can Nico Rosberg hang onto the coattails of Lewis Hamilton in the race for the Formula One Drivers’ Championship?
The Season So Far
Two weeks ago a controversial coming together between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in Spa put Hamilton out of the race and allowed Daniel Ricciardo to pick up his second consecutive Grand Prix. That win enabled Ricciardo to gain ground on Hamilton in the Drivers Championship, although he still trails by 35 points, with the Englishman a further 29 points behind leader Rosberg.
The Italian Grand Prix is the last European race of the season before the circus heads east and is one of the most popular events on the calendar, attended by passionate and knowledgeable spectators.
Monza is also the fastest circuit of the year; a high-speed configuration with long straights broken up by heavy braking stretches. To be competitive at this track, every team has to make substantial aerodynamic modifications to their cars.
In The Pits
Daniel Ricciardo has been the driver of the season so far and if the Red Bull was in anyway competitive, he would surely be challenging for the Drivers’ Championship. Unfortunately, it isn’t. The RB10 is still way off the pace, and at a track like Monza, his only chance of winning depends on another Mercedes mishap, so even at odds of 12/1, the Australian doesn’t really appeal as the ‘best of the rest’ option.
The same goes for the Ferrari drivers. Fernando Alonso performed wonders to grab fourth place on the starting grid in Spa, and Kimi Raikkonen managed his best finish of the season, but they were both way behind Rosberg once again and even the most ardent Italian racing fan would struggle to make a case for them winning in Monza, given the marked power disadvantage they have.
Don’t let the bare result of the race in Spa fool you into thinking that the Mercedes dominance might be coming to an end.
That Rosberg was able to crash into his team mate, damage his car and change his entire race strategy on the hoof, yet still finish within three seconds of the winner shows how much of an edge their car still has.
That crash, whether or not it was entirely deliberate, showed how close to the edge Rosberg is prepared to go to land the title. Yet once again he goes into this race at bigger odds than Hamilton, and so is the obvious selection at 13/8.
Although Red Bull are holding on to second place in the Constructors’ Championship, it is Williams that has looked the most likely team to consistently challenge Mercedes in the second half of the season. Providing they get their aerodynamic adaptations right this week, Monza should suit them perfectly and if you’re looking for a candidate to benefit from any Mercedes mistakes, then Valtteri Bottas at 16/1 offers better value than Ricciardo.