Italian GP 2017: Alternative Awards
Lewis Hamilton and the entire Mercedes team brought their A game to Monza and it showed with a one-two victory on Ferrari’s home soil. Here are our Alternative Awards.
Driver of the weekend
The driver of the weekend can’t be anyone other than Daniel Ricciardo. Qualifying third in very difficult circumstances, then being relegated to 16th on the grid, and finally working his way back up to fourth was a master class showing.
Ricciardo’s calm but deadly attitude was really highlighted by the fact that his teammate Max Verstappen started ahead of him, had a phenomenal start, but then crashed and fell far behind to finish only 10th. This weekend showed, as has the whole season so far, that Ricciardo is one of the best drivers on the grid.
The young stars of the future
Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll emerged as the stars of Saturday’s difficult and prolonged qualifying. In the end, beating both Ferraris and their own teammates, they showed their true talent. In the race, both youngsters actually made better starts than the pole sitter Lewis Hamilton. They weren’t able to overtake him, but the simple fact that they managed not to lose positions at the start was worth noticing.
Even though their superb starting positions didn’t lead to anything spectacular, with Ocon finishing sixth and Stroll seventh, both future stars put on a strong performance, finishing ahead of their teammates Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa.
The Italian GP had a little comedy in it as Fernando Alonso and Jolyon Palmer had a little moment on the track. The two were fiercely fighting for positions outside of the points when they arrived at the second chicane of Monza’s lap. Palmer ended up cutting the chicane and simultaneously overtaking Alonso. This caused the Spaniard’s blood to boil and he complained loudly on the team radio that Palmer had to be punished for not giving his place back.
A short time later, the stewards gave Palmer a 5-second time penalty, but that wasn’t the end. Some laps later Palmer was told to retire his car, which seemed to worry Alonso as he asked his engineer where Palmer was. Hearing the Brit had retired Alonso let out a satisfied laugh and shouted ‘Karma’. This ‘bromance’ will no doubt continue in Singapore in two weeks.
If the Monza weekend was a gangster movie, the FIA would be the mafia boss. They assigned hitmen (grid penalties) to what ended up to be a total of nine drivers. Sergio Perez, Nico Hülkenberg, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Carlos Sainz and Jolyon Palmer were all taken care of by the FIA.
Understandably, the rules are same for everyone and you’re penalised for breaking them, but there has got to be a better solution to the problem.