It’s Monza Time! The summer is slowly drawing to an end and that can only mean one thing. The Festival of Speed will occupy the Autodrome Nazionale Monza this weekend for the slice of epic motor racing at this historic track.
2018 Formula 1 Championship has been a close one, so far, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton holding a slim 17-point lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Monza is Ferrari’s home race though and the Prancing Horse are looking to score a win at the track, something that they have failed to do since 2010, when Fernando Alonso managed to win here. Will Sebastian Vettel edge closer to Lewis Hamilton and bring back the Monza trophy to Ferrari? You will have to tune in this weekend to find out.
I have prepared a preview of the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, including a bit of history, stats and key storylines to pay attention to during this weekend of racing. If you fancy betting on Formula 1, there is also sound advice and stats that you could use. Check it out!
The History of the Italian Grand Prix
Italy has always been associated with motor racing, with numerous sports car manufacturers finding home in this Mediterranean country over the years. The first Italian Grand Prix race was held in 1921 on a track near Brescia, but the history of the Italian Grand Prix racing is more closely connected to the track in Monza, near Milano.
Autodrome Nazionale Monza was completed in 1922 and has been in use for motor racing ever since. When the Monza track was completed, it was the first dedicated, full-time autodrome for motor racing in the world. With the foundation of Formula 1 Racing Championship in 1950, Monza officially joined the calendar and has remained a fixture ever since. The Italian and British Grand Prix races are the longest consecutive races in Formula 1 history, featuring in the Formula 1 calendar every year since the inception of Formula 1 Championship.
Monza has always been one of the fastest tracks on the Formula 1 calendar, with the layout of the track featuring long straights and fast-flowing corners that extract every little bit of engine power that the cars can muster. Perhaps, Monza is the track where modern Formula 1 racing is most dependent on the engine power.
The circuit has been renovated several times in order to keep up with the changing regulations and improving the driver and spectator safety. Yet, the track has remained equally thrilling and one of the fan favorites on the Formula 1 calendar due to its history and pure speed.
The list of past winners at Monza is a virtual Hall of Fame for Formula 1. This is the place where the champions of the past and future made their stands and entered Formula 1 lore. None more, than the legendary Michael Schumacher, who holds the record among drivers with 5 wins at Monza.
Michael Schumacher has great company as the likes of Nelson Piquet and Lewis Hamilton have each won the Italian Grand Prix 4 times. Only other drivers besides Schumacher to win the race more than 3 times.
A number of three-time winners include Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Ronnie Peterson, Alain Prost, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel. Finally, the list of two-time winners bears the names such as Phil Hill, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart, Clay Regazzoni, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso.
When it comes to constructors, Ferrari have been dominant at their home race, winning the Italian Grand Prix a record 19 times. Yet, the Prancing Horse hasn’t scored a win at their home track since 2010. The teams that follow are McLaren with 10 wins, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes with 8 wins, Lotus with 5, BRM and Brabham with 3, while Maserati, Vanwall, Renault, Red Bull each have 2 wins apiece.
The Season So Far
The 2018 Formula 1 season kicked off with dominant performances from Ferrari and their driver Sebastian Vettel, who claimed the first two races of the season, winning in Australia and Bahrain.
Ferrari’s strong start was quickly erased as two chaotic races yielded unexpected results. In China, a race full of incidents was won by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton scored an incredibly lucky win for Mercedes, as he took advantage of the unexpected late safety car and stole a victory in Azerbaijan.
Mercedes was under the pressure and they had to deliver. They have shown up with a dominant package which allowed Lewis Hamilton to claim his second consecutive win of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
The Monaco Grand Prix was one of the least exciting races of the 2018 Formula 1 season so far, but there is a lot to be said about Daniel Riccardo’s drive in a damaged car, managing to secure the second win of the season for Red Bull under pressure from Sebastian Vettel.
2018 Canadian Grand Prix was supposed to be a continuation of Mercedes’ dominance at the track but Ferrari pulled off a surprise victory, in what can only be described as a stunning performance and a third win of the season for Sebastien Vettel.
2018 Formula 1 season brought another innovation to the Formula 1 schedule. The first-ever tripleheader of races to be held on back to back weekends. It all started with the French Grand Prix where Mercedes delivered an impressive performance and Lewis Hamilton took the win.
In Austria, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen managed to record his first and Red Bull’s third win of the season, mostly due to the unexpected retirements of both Mercedes drivers due to technical difficulties with the card.
The final race of the tripleheader was held at the 2018 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. An early incident on the first lap ended up costing Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton a chance to win. Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel ended up winning the race for his 4th win of the season.
Finally, Formula 1 season made a return to Hockenheimring for the 2018 German Grand Prix, Sebastien Vettel’s home race. In a race full of surprises, Lewis Hamilton scored a fantastic win, finishing 1st after starting 14th on the grid. Sebastien Vettel had the win secured but he made a costly mistake late in the race and ended up on the gravel and out of the race.
The last race before the summer break was the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix where Mercedes managed to put together a dominant package that was too much for Ferrari to handle. Lewis Hamilton managed to win the second race in a row and leave for the summer break with a 24-point gap to 2nd placed Sebastian Vettel in the Driver’s Championship standings.
The first race after the summer break was the Belgian Grand Prix at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Although, Lewis Hamilton managed to qualify on pole in a rain-soaked qualification round, Sebastian Vettel managed to secure a win at Spa-Francorchamps with a pass on the first lap, just before the safety car hit the track due to an incident at the start of the race.
This weekend the Festival of Speed at Monza will host the Formula 1 circus. Ferrari’s home race is a perfect opportunity for the Prancing Horse to demonstrate their superiority and get Sebastian Vettel a step close to winning the Formula 1 title this season. Mercedes’ and Lewis Hamilton will be looking to spoil the party at Monza, trying to maintain a 17-point gap in the Drivers’ Standings.
Stats to Consider When Betting on the 2018 Italian Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton is chasing his fifth-straight pole position at Monza, a feat he has only achieved in the Australian Grand Prix, so far.
- Ferrari haven’t won at Monza since 2010, when Fernando Alonso took the last win for the Prancing Horse here.
- Sebastian Vettel has failed to win at Monza for Ferrari, even though he has 3 previous wins here, including his improbable win here in a wet race in 2008, the race that has put him on the map a potential elite driver.
- Statistically, Monza is one of the tracks that favors the driver in pole position the most. Out of the last 18 races at Monza, 14 of those have been won by the drivers from pole position, which almost twice as many race wins than in Monte Carlo, a track notorious for its qualifying bias.
- Ferrari have a record 19 Italian Grand Prix wins, which is the most by any constructor on any track on the Formula 1 calendar. McLaren are the closest, with 15 wins to their name at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Race Winner Betting Preview
The betting markets for the Race Winner tell a similar story to the pole position ones. The sportsbooks see Ferrari as the number one favorite at their home race and that is reflected in the odds they are offering on Sebastian Vettel.
The German driver is favored to win at Monza at 1.72 odds. Vettel has had some of his best drives at Monza, with the 2008 wet race one of the best examples of Vettel’s race craft and dominance in the wet conditions. The sportsbooks are hoping that Vettel will show up and wipe the floor with the rest of the field.
He is followed by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at 3.25 odds. The British driver has been successful at the Monza in the past, winning the race 4 times, including 3 wins from pole position in a row. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen is the next one up with 5.50 odds.
The rest of the favorites are Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas at 13.00 odds, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at 26.00 odds and Daniel Ricciardo at 67.00 odds. The rest of the drivers have minimal chances at Monza glory, the track that has always favored the cars with the best power unit.
I find it very hard to look past Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in this one. Ferrari’s power unit has been the cream of the crop and Sebastian Vettel loves racing at Monza. This is a perfect opportunity for the German driver to win and inch closer to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who holds a 17-point advantage in the Drivers’ Standings.