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Hamilton in the Pound Seat

There’s a quick turnaround between races as the Formula 1 championship heads to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend. Lewis Hamilton pulled off a miracle in Belgium and somehow managed to finish on the podium after starting from the back of the grid.

Mercedes strategically took all of Hamilton’s engine penalties in one weekend. This meant that he was penalised with something silly like 55 grid positions, which is of course impossible when you only have another 21 drivers on the grid. But Mercedes found the loop hole and exploited it.

This means that Hamilton is sitting in the best position possible. Not only is he still leading the championship but he now has a lot more bits and pieces for his engines until the end of the season. The defending champion is also very confident that his rival, Nico Rosberg, will have to incur some sort of penalty at some stage this year because the new era hybrid engines are such finicky pieces of machinery.

I felt bad for Rosberg last time out. The German did everything right at the Belgian Grand Prix and was almost certain he could take the lead in the world championship. But a safety car and subsequent red flag due to Kevin Magnussen’s huge crash all worked in Hamilton’s favour. Sometimes the racing Gods can be very cruel. And then poor old Rosberg got booed on the podium, for what I have no idea. It’s not like he gave Hamilton the grid penalties or ruined “home race” favourite Max Verstappen’s race in the first corner. He did absolutely nothing wrong and yet the crowd thought that he was the villain just for winning the race.

Verstappen has made headlines the entire week for all the wrong reasons. His extremely late defence on the straight against Kimi Räikkönen made me jump off the couch shouting in astonishment as I thought we were about to see a massive accident but thanks to the Ice-Man’s quick reflexes, he slammed on the brakes while cruising at almost 340 km/h. Now you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that that will end in tears unless Verstappen is reprimanded in some way. I’m not saying we should pin him down because his driving style is exciting and is what the sport has been missing for a while but he needs someone who he respects, like his father Jos, to have a little chat with him just to take it down one notch when defending.

As I predicated in my previous article, Force India had a superb race and now sit in fourth place in the constructor’s championship, just 2 points ahead of Williams. This might have sparked the announcement that Felipe Massa will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season after 14 years in the sport that saw him collect 11 Grand Prix wins and 41 podium finishes. The Brazilian did however say that he had already made the decision to quit “several months ago” and that is why he had not been in any talks with any other F1 team including Williams. Let’s hope he can finish the last eight races off with a bang before November’s season concluding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which is set to be his 250th and his last race in the sport.

My top 2 predictions were spot on in the last round but with Lewis Hamilton back to full power it won’t be as easy to guess the winner. Ferrari will be under immense pressure to perform at their home circuit but it will be difficult to finish on the podium because the Red Bulls are enjoying a rich vein of form at the moment.

  1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg 3. Daniel Ricciardo

Enjoy the race and if you’re taking a bet, the best of luck to you. You can also catch me on Twitter @ChrisFletch46 for questions, comments and all sorts of banter.

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