Sainz sticks to Verstappen

The Madrilenian, sixth in the Monza and McLaren free practice sessions, must fight for the top-3 in qualifying. Hamilton and Bottas, one second. The slip-ups will be key.

Sainz-sticks-to-Verstappen

It does not take a four-leaf clover to break Carlos Sainz's bad run of results, it is enough that external factors respect the Madrid's batches and the next race is clean. The World Championship classification does not do justice with problems in five races out of seven (he is 11th, he has half the points of Albon, Leclerc or Norris) but there is still time, more than half a season ahead, and at Monza the McLaren is where it should be: glued to the Red Bulls and hunting for the top-3 in classification. Sainz was sixth, two tenths behind Gasly (Alpha Tauri) and one behind Verstappen, and Lando Norris signed the third record with the other MCL35.

There are three ingredients for optimism in this equation: the second energy car always squeezes the engine since Friday, Red Bull has not been on the podium since 2013 at this pure power track and Sainz made his lap without the essential slipstream. The outlook is interesting, waiting for Racing Point and Renault to progress. Against Norris they play the tempos of his return: he gave it at the end of the session, with much more rubber on the track, because he had problems at the beginning.Hamilton, very comfortable in front of Bottas

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest with two tenths of rigor over Valtteri Bottas and a second over all the others. In 2019 there were three cars, an insurmountable distance and the rest of the grid. Now there is a car, the same desert and all the others. The fault, make no mistake, is Ferrari for default and Red Bull for complacency. But the Mercedes party will vary very little this Saturday without the maximum power mode in qualifying and Milton Keynes have enough to solve their internal problems: Alex Albon, Verstappen's teammate, finished outside the top-10 and Gasly continues to make merits for get that steering wheel back. Max was fourth, he had an accident in the morning and his Q3 lap will have to be perfect so that Ricciardo, Sainz or Norris do not get in the way of the easy podium that he usually frequents. Pérez finished tenth with the RP20. Similarly, much more is expected from Renault.

At the Autodromo you can overtake, so the classification will not be decisive if the race pace allows you to mark differences. In any case, the classification threatens to turn into a jungle similar to that of a season ago, when eight cars were left without completing a second attempt in Q3 because nobody wanted to pull the group with clean air, without aspirations. The slipstream effect is essential in a simple circuit, with straights and chicanes, but loaded with symbolism and history from the Variants to the Parabolic.

The grandstand of Monza will be full of enormous Ferrarist emblems, the Tifosi will remain at the door applauding all the cars that cross the entrance of the Parco di Monza. They will recognize Leclerc or Vettel and applaud them, even if the Ferrari SF1000 remains unrecognizable on the tarmac. Coming from Spa, that Leclerc entered the top-10 and Vettel came so close can be identified as green shoots, but it should not be forgotten that a year ago the Monegasque resisted the more aggressive Hamilton, conquered the Italian GP and encouraged the invasion of most enthusiastic track of the last decade. The unfortunate Maranello crisis will prevent the former and the coronavirus the latter.



Photos from as.com
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