You don’t come to Monza only to witness a slice of racing history, the track being the oldest in the current F1 calendar. Rather, you come to the “cathedral of speed”, to engage with a racing spectacle that excites fans, racing nerds and worshipers of speed in a blazing 53-lap contest.
Herein lies Monza’s phenomenon: Despite the circuit’s seemingly harmless layout, it’s elongated straits, high-speed corners and the legendary “Parabolica” task drivers with a tantalizing challenge that only the most skillful, like a Schumacher (most race wins- 5), can master.
But on Sunday, as the Italian Grand Prix welcomed fans, having treated them to horrendous weather on Saturday, Monza was back to usual business.
RealSport bring you the 5 things that we learned from the 87th Italian Grand Prix
1 Stroll is the one to watch out for
Monza might not have been a belter of a race for the Williams driver who finished a modestly impressive P7.
But in qualifying fourth for Sunday’s grand prix, battling torrential rains in a qualifying session that was largely red-flagged, the Canadian became the youngest F1 driver to start at the front of the grid on Sunday, once the Red Bulls took their penalties.
This was no mean achievement by any stretch of imagination, considering the grid has legends such as Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, and Kimi Raikkonen, who have all shown high proficiency in the wet before.
For Stroll fans, what will, of course, stand out from Monza would be his move on McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne on lap 19.
In what might be described as a brave albeit rookie move, the Canadian teenager came in from the back of Vandoorne, just ahead of the Parabolica to pull ahead of the 25-year-old Belgian, reminding us why he’s arguably the best amongst the younger drivers, only behind Verstappen.
That said, Stroll's brilliant defending from teammate Massa in the closing stages spoke of his ability to battle experience with exuberance and great temerity.
2 Lewis is one shy of Schumacher at Monza
Prior to entering the 87th installment of the Italian GP, Lewis had won on 3 occasions here at Monza.
But in clinching his 4th Italian Grand Prix win, a mega Monza drive that saw Lewis collect the first back-to-back wins for 2017, Lewis put the Silver Arrows on top in Ferrari’s back yard.
It wasn’t that difficult to see why Vettel seemed a bit miffed then, going no better than P3.
Producing a stellar drive yet again, save those flashes where Lewis’s Mercedes seemed it wanted a stroll into Monza’s gravel, it was 'Hammertime' at the front of the grid.
With the 2017 F1 season hanging on the knife’s edge with 7 more races to go, Monza’s strong finish shall bolster Hamilton’s confidence to go even quicker and be even stronger for the remainder of the season.
That said, come the 88th edition of the Italian GP, slated to happen in 2018, one might see Lewis on the top of the podium which will take him closer to the greatest winner here at Italy: Michael Schumacher.
3 Max is battling; Monza provided ample proof
You don’t quite associate the phrase DNF with the mercurial Dutchman. Do you?
2017 hasn’t really been Max Verstappen’s year, but thankfully, on Sunday, he didn’t add to a painful tally of 6 race-retirements that have been collected already this year.
What stood out for ‘Mad Max’ though was the impressive recovery he made at Monza where a sudden skirmish in the initial laps with Williams’ Massa threw him to the back of the grid.
Showing that he has the grit, if not blistering pace, something that you’d associate with Ricciardo, Verstappen would set an impressive 1:24:753 on those supersofts and collected a vital P10 at Italy.
4 Not too bad a race for Perez, was it?
It might have been a mixed bag of a season for the gritty Mexican who first raced at Monza back in 2011, but this time around in 2017, showing an immensity of calm and grit, Sergio Perez collected a vital 2 points for the Force India outfit.
An impressive P9 at Monza showed that Perez has the ability to finish consistently inside the top 10, if not the immediate speed needed to emerge as a leader of the pack.
That said, Perez's clean overtaking and gritty defending mirrored a strong 2012 drive at Monza, that produced his personal best in the Italian heartland: a solid P2.
Moreover, finishing right behind Kimi Raikkonen in P6, Perez's teammate, Esteban Ocon showed the flair and the determination to battle for valuable points that has carried Force India to 4th in the Constructors' standings.
5 Bottas is back to top form
A maiden race victory earlier in Russia, soon followed by another impressive race win at Austria, Mercedes driver Bottas has enjoyed an incredible season thus far in 2017.
Adding to his tally of podium finishes, 9 thus far, Valtteri enjoyed what might be called a stroll in the park at Monza.
Overcoming an opening lap overtake by fellow Finn Raikkonen, Bottas climbed back into contention as he turned the tables on the Iceman a lap later, and from there kept pace with teammate Hamilton to take a strong P2, over 30 seconds ahead of Vettel.
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