1 Italian Grand Prix
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McLaren need a 1-2 finish!
track at Monza has several long straights with a number of chicanes. Cars are run in a low downforce configuration. The highest
average and top speeds on the calendar mean that this track with be the toughest on engines and also very tough on the brakes.
All 10 teams were testing at Monza last week. McLaren were fastest with Renault behind them but as always test times could be misleading.
Here is a team by team preview:
Jordan's driver Tiago Monteiro helped them minimise the point loss to McLaren in Turkey. They were clearly slower and BAR were
threatening. Monza however is a completely different track and in low downforce they should be strong and will be closer to McLaren.
Drivers: Fernando Alonso got a lucky break in Istanbul and finished second behind Raikkonen. With a 24 point lead and just 50 points available he can afford to be conservative however this is a track that could give him a chance so a win is possible however 3rd place is more likely.
Giancarlo Fisichella managed to finish 4th in Turkey but was struggling. He took the lead at the start then lost it a few corners later. He doesn't seem to be very comfortable in the car and that is hurting his chances. He'll be close to Alonso in qualifying but in the race he is likely to drop behind.
They almost had their first 1-2 finish of the season in Turkey. They could do it here but there is a question mark on the
reliability of their engines. If they last then a 1-2 is possible. Don't expect an easy win though as Renault will put up a fight.
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen dominated the Turkish Grand Prix and is on a roll. If his car is reliable he could make it a hat-trick. He certainly needs to win to keep his chances alive.
Juan Pablo Montoya nearly finished second in Turkey. He does well here so expect a strong performance. A win is possible if Raikkonen runs into problems.
They had a poor race in Turkey and despite the many additional days of testing they've run don't expect them to be competitive at
Monza. Their aim would be to finish ahead of Toyota who are 15 points behind in the Championship.
Drivers: Michael Schumacher struggled for grip in Turkey in qualifying then tangled with Webber during the race. He will qualify early here and that may force him to take a risky strategy. Points possible, podium unlikely.
started the Turkish Grand Prix in 11th and finished in 10th. Hardly an improvement. He is struggling at Ferrari and as the season
end nears he'll struggle further.
Will be aiming to close the gap to Ferrari here and it is likely that they will gain a few points on them. They will again have
serious competition from BAR and expect a close fight on the track.
Drivers: Jarno Trulli started 5th and finished 6th in Turkey. Expect something similar at Monza
Ralf Schumacher had a very bad start in Turkey and never managed to recover finishing 12th. He should do better here and may even beat his team-mate. Points likely.
They had a disastrous race in Turkey were both drivers suffered from multiple tyre failures believed to be due to the tyres
touching the bodywork. They are confident the problem won't be repeated here. They were fast in Turkey and they could be close to
BAR, Toyota and Ferrari here. During testing they were reasonably quick however their very early qualifying slots will hurt them and
struggle to score points here.
Drivers: Nick Heidfeld retired in Turkey due to the tyre failures. He will be the 3rd to go out in qualifying and that will hurt his starting position. Points will be very difficult.
Mark Webber will be in an even worse position that his team-mate as he will be the track sweeper in qualifying. Like his team-mate points will be hard.
They managed to keep 6th place in the championship after scoring a surprise 3 points. BAR are only 3 points behind and Red Bull
will probably lose 6th place here.
Drivers: David Coulthard had another consistent race to finish in the points at Monza. Expect another consistent race but they won't be strong enough to score points unless of course many cars retire.
Christian Klien once again proved that he deserves the seat at least until the end of the season. He was again on par with his more experienced team-mate. Points though will be difficult here!.
Move closer to taking 6th from Red Bull but they need both their drivers to score points in order to do that. Sato's penalty in
Turkey robbed the team of an almost certain 2 car points finish. They will be strong here, the question is will they be reliable and
can both drivers deliver ?
Drivers: Jenson Button performs better when under pressure. His drive for next year isn't settled yet he recovered well from a mistake in qualifying and narrowly missed out on 4th place. A very strong performance and expect a similar result here.
Takuma Sato was penalised in Turkey after driving too slow on his in lap during qualifying. Sure he made a mistake on his hot lap and sure he may have lost radio communications with the team but he knew there is another driver behind him. He deserves the penalty and with all the mistakes he has done so far this season, he really doesn't deserve a drive in such an improving car.
They find it hard to score points when only a few cars retire. They are in a transition period and that won't help their
performance. Unless many cars ahead retire, don't expect points.
Drivers: Felipe Massa suffered an engine failure in Turkey but before that he had a first corner incident with Heidfeld ruining his race. It will be hard to score points here.
Jacques Villeneuve had a poor start and struggled from there to recover at Istanbul. He had done well here in the past so he is likely to perform well but points will be difficult.
Both drivers finished behind the Minardi of Doornbos in Turkey. Are they now the slowest on the grid ? It is sad to see them go
backwards so fast!
Drivers: Tiago Monteiro hit the back of Montoya while being lapped but didn't accept blame for it. Despite that incident he continues his 100% finish record. Expect more of the same.
Narain Karthikeyan appears to be regaining his confidence however the car isn't helping. He should do better than his team-mate here.
Had one car finish ahead of both Jordans. That must be encouraging for them. They will be having another good fight here.
Drivers: Christijan Albers retired in Turkey with just a few laps remaining. He continues to be pushed by his team-mate.
Robert Doornbos had brake problems in qualifying in Turkey but recovered well in the race to finish ahead of the Jordans. This will certainly be an interesting race for Doornbos and all the rookies.
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