F1 Race #8: Italian GP

I’ve missed the last couple races on the Formula One calendar. But boy did I pick an interesting time to tune back in! The 2020 Italian Grand Prix was an exciting, chaotic race! This year’s Italian Grand Prix had EVERYTHING a fan could want in a race! An iconic leadership team managed their last race, F1’s most successful team struggled mightily, and one of the youngest podiums in the sport’s history was topped by a first-time winner! Check out a driver’s seat view of the race here!

End of an era at Williams Racing

Even though I am a new Formula One fan, having only followed the sport closely since March, the Williams F1 team has definitely grown on me. Founded in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams, his team has been a mainstay of the sport since then, winning a total of 16 combined Championships in their history (nine Constructor’s and seven Driver’s Championships). Unfortunately, they haven’t been close to competing for a Championship of any kind since 1997, when they won a double Championship, winning both the Driver’s and Constructor’s title.

While Frank Williams and his daughter Claire are greatly respected by many F1 fans, as well as in the F1 community as a whole, many people have called for a change in leadership at the top. After Sunday’s race that became a reality, with both Frank and Claire stepping down from their respective roles as Team Owner/Principal, and Deputy Principal, respectively.

Frank Williams and his daughter, Claire

The Williams team was recently bought by Dorilton Capital, an American investment firm. While this signals new leadership at Williams, the team will still retain the Williams name, history, and will stay at their home base in Oxfordshire, England.

While they have struggled to return to relevance, I can’t help but root for Williams to go back to the top. I love underdogs. I also love the story of how the Williams team was founded. Frank Williams is a pioneer of the sport. Here is this tough, blue collar English guy who loved to race hard and go fast in his younger days, and he put together his own team and challenged the bigger car manufacturers like Ferrari and McLaren. He beat them fairly regularly once he got rolling too! It took balls, stubbornness and belief in himself and what he wanted to do, in order to be a success. You can check all this out in a documentary called Williams, which is on Netflix. I highly recommend it if you like inspiring sports movies/documentaries!

I wish Frank and Claire Williams nothing but the absolute best in whatever they choose to pursue next. And I will be rooting for their team to one day return to where they belong, at the top and fighting for and winning Championships. I see a parallel between the Williams team, and my own beloved Cleveland Browns football team: A once proud team that used to win a lot and set the standard for others has been down on its luck for a long time. But all it takes is the right leadership, and there will be a glorious turnaround that will be worth the wait for all the hardcore, passionate fans. It will happen. Guaranteed. It’s a when. Not an if 😉

Limping Pony: Part II

Boy, things just keep getting worse for Ferrari. Nothing seems to be going right for the team or its drivers, four-time Champion Sebastian Vettel and young hotshot Charles Leclerc. The two men struggled mightily in qualifying, with Leclerc starting 13th on the grid, and Vettel qualified 17th. Unfortunately when it rains, it pours. Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire his car only seven laps into the race due to brake failure. Charles Leclerc had a rough day as well, losing control of his car and crashing into the tire wall on lap 25. Luckily he walked away from the accident unscathed! Neither driver finished the race for Ferrari in front of their home crowd, and at their home racetrack in Monza, Italy. I would be making an extreme understatement if I said Ferrari had a bad race!

I can’t begin to imagine how frustrated and pissed Ferrari fans are right now. After reading up on and studying some of Ferrari’s team history, I can see why Ferrari fans, or as they call themselves, “the Tifosi,” are so passionate. Their team was founded and built by an incredibly passionate and competitive man in Enzo Ferrari. He went into every competition and race expecting to win. Whether that was as a driver in his younger days, or as a team owner and businessman before his death in 1988. He would not tolerate losing. It’s that stubbornness, refusal to be second best to anyone, and willingness to grow from a loss that made not only Enzo Ferrari a success, but that also made Scuderia Ferrari F1’s most successful team. This attitude has defined Ferrari’s fanbase as well, which I completely understand. They should absolutely expect their team to be a winner!

While I will be keeping a watchful eye on the rest of the season, something tells me it’s going to take a massive change somewhere inside the team structure of Ferrari before the team regains the winning form it is known for. Either Team Principal Mattia Binotto probably has to go, or a new Head Engineer needs to be hired. Until then, Ferrari will continue to struggle. Enzo Ferrari is probably rolling in his grave.

Party time for Pierre!

Over most of the 2020 season, I have gotten used to seeing three drivers at the front: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes, and Max Verstappen for Red Bull. While I understand these three men and their teams are currently the best F1 has to offer, it gets a little old seeing the same driver or drivers qualify high, get the pole, or win the race.

So it was definitely a breath of fresh air seeing Pierre Gasly, a young French driver for AlphaTauri, a smaller Italian team, cross the finish line for his first Grand Prix win! Several things had to go right for him to take the checkered flag, though.

Pierre Gasly, 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner

A rare mistake by Lewis Hamilton, and Charles Leclerc’s crash paved the way for Pierre Gasly to win, and for Carlos Sainz, and Lance Stroll to join him on the podium. First, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen spun out near pit road. This caused a safety car to come out, and for the the pits to be closed briefly while Magnussen’s car was moved off the track.

Lewis Hamilton didn’t realize that the pit lane was closed, and took a pit stop. This later resulted in him getting a 10-second stop and go penalty. This meant that Lewis had to take the penalty after the race resumed following Charles Leclerc’s crash into the wall. Being forced to wait 10 seconds in his pit box caused Lewis Hamilton to lose far more than just 10 seconds. All in all, Hamilton lost around 30 seconds of race time. This pushed him far down the field, and gave Pierre Gasly the chance to charge from 4th to 1st on the restart.

The finish was really exciting! It was definitely a white-knuckle race down to the wire! Carlos Sainz Jr., a young driver for McLaren, was pushing Pierre Gasly HARD the final few laps. However Pierre Gasly crossed the finish line first, four-tenths of a second ahead of Sainz. That was the closest race finish I’ve seen since becoming an F1 fan. This should be what the sport is all about: Close, exciting finishes, and different winners every once in a while.

I’m happy for Pierre Gasly. The 24 year-old driver from France has been through a LOT over the past year. He was cut from Red Bull in the middle of the 2019 season, and lost his good friend and fellow French driver Anthoine Hubert, who died in an accident at 22 years old in August 2019. Yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix was definitely an emotional win for Pierre Gasly, and he deserves to enjoy every bit of it! I always love seeing sports stories where people overcome personal tragedies with big triumphs!

It was cool seeing a trio of young guns each take spots on the podium! Pierre Gasly is 24 years old, Carlos Sainz is 26 years old, and Lance Stroll is 21 years old. Sainz and Stroll also stayed around and congratulated and talked to Gasly after the race, which made me smile. Good sportsmanship never goes out of style!

Next up? The action is staying in Italy, as the Tuscan Grand Prix is set to take place on September 13th. Hopefully there’s another unpredictable, exciting race. Although it will certainly be tough to top this year’s Italian Grand Prix!

2020 Italian Grand Prix Results

  1. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
  2. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
  3. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
  4. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
  6. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
  7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  8. Esteban Ocon (Renault)
  9. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri)
  10. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
  11. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
  12. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
  13. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
  14. George Russell (Williams)
  15. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
  16. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
  17. Max Verstappen (Red Bull, DNF)
  18. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari, DNF)
  19. Kevin Magnussen (Haas, DNF)
  20. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari, DNF)

World Driver’s Championship Top 5

  1. Lewis Hamilton (164 Points)
  2. Valtteri Bottas (117 Points)
  3. Max Verstappen (110 Points)
  4. Lance Stroll (57 Points)
  5. Lando Norris (57 Points)

World Constructor’s Championship Standings

  1. Mercedes (281 Points)
  2. Red Bull (158 Points)
  3. McLaren (98 Points)
  4. Racing Point (82 Points)
  5. Renault (71 Points)
  6. Ferrari (61 Points)
  7. AlphaTauri (47 Points)
  8. Alfa Romeo (2 Points)
  9. Haas (1 Point)
  10. Williams (0)

Published by Luke Wickiser

Hi everybody! I'm passionate about many subjects, such as faith, history, politics, and sports. Stay tuned to Luke's Thoughts for updates on all these things!

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