Following an emotional weekend in Belgium, the Formula 1 action continues as the grid gathers in Milan for the Italian Grand Prix.
As expected Ferrari’s straight line speed allowed them to finally take their first win of the season at Spa-Francorchamps, with Charles Leclerc also taking his maiden F1 victory.
The Monegasque’s success was befitting of the occasion as motorsport paid tribute to Anthoine Hubert, the F2 racer who died a day earlier at the same circuit and was a close friend to Leclerc.
However, Lewis Hamilton still finished second at Spa, with the gap less than a second over the finish line.
And looking ahead, another epic battle between Ferrari and Mercedes is on the cards this weekend, so here’s all you need to know about the Italian GP.
About the race:
Located at the iconic Monza circuit, there is perhaps no better place to end F1’s European season.
Its ‘Temple of Speed’ nickname is all you need to know about the Autodromo as it is the fastest track on the calendar.
Last year, Kimi Raikkonen broke Juan Pablo Montoya’s 14-year-old record for quickest ever lap in F1, setting an average speed of 163.7mph (263kph) during his pole position lap.
The cars exceed 200mph four times around the unique layout with the long straights only broken up by three chicanes, the Lesmo bends and the infamous Parabolica.
Monza also holds another record for hosting the most world championship F1 races in history.
Only once since 1950 has the circuit not held the Italian GP and that run is expected to continue with a new contract expected up to the track’s centenary year in 2022.
68 previous races of course plenty of memorable moments, one of the best being Niki Lauda’s return in 1976 to finish fourth just six weeks after his life-threatening crash in Germany.
More recently, Michael Schumacher enjoyed five victories at Monza, all of which came with Ferrari including his first year in 1996.
Sebastian Vettel famously claimed his first F1 win in the wet for Toro Rosso in 2008 becoming both the youngest pole sitter and race winner at the time.
The past five years, however, have seen Mercedes reign supreme with Hamilton winning four times and Nico Rosberg the other in 2016.
Indeed, the Tifosi, who come out in their tens of thousands to cheer on Ferrari, haven’t seen their team win at home since Fernando Alonso in 2010.
In 2018, it was Hamilton who overhauled Raikkonen in the race to take victory, after Vettel had been left spinning at the second chicane on lap one.
But this year likely represents their best chance yet to end that winless streak at Monza.
Top Pick: Ferrari ($29.3m)
Anything other than a Ferrari victory would be a huge surprise at the Italian GP.
The power advantage they enjoyed at Spa will be bigger at Monza, particularly as they also bring a new engine to this race.
Also the tyre issues which kept Mercedes in touch last Sunday should be easier to overcome, although it was overheating rears which allowed Hamilton to catch and pass Raikkonen 12 months ago.
Because the track is all about top speed and braking, choosing between Leclerc and Vettel for the likely winner is very tricky, but after last weekend, it is Charles that likely starts as favourite.
Medium pick: Daniel Ricciardo ($10.3m)
It’s been a while since Renault have been realistic contenders for ‘best of the rest’ but their performance on low downforce circuits certainly brings them into contention.
In Belgium, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg qualifying sixth and seventh, only for penalties and first corner contact to ruin their race.
And while the gaps are likely to be closer on a shorter circuit and as the other midfield teams trim their wings, Ricciardo is still a strong driver to have on your fantasy team.
Low pick: Alex Albon ($7.1m)
At this price, Albon is an absolute must for you line-up after the Thai driver’s impressive debut for Red Bull at Spa.
Moving up from 17th to fifth, he appeared very much at home after his big promotion over the summer, and without the penalties which held him back this weekend, a solid top six result should be expected.
Kimi Raikkonen ($10.4m)
Raikkonen was unlucky to be taken out by Max Verstappen at the start in Belgium, otherwise another strong top eight finish was on the cards for the 2007 world champion.
The Finn remains the epitome of consistency and that should continue in Italy, particularly as Alfa Romeo will want a big result at their home race (despite being Swiss-based).
Lance Stroll ($8.7m)
As expected, Racing Point enjoyed a much more competitive weekend in Belgium at a circuit they historically go well at.
The same is also often true for Monza and Stroll enjoyed one of his better races here in 2017, qualifying second in the wet albeit slipping to seventh in the race for Williams.
Still, if the Canadian can have a good Saturday, then the chances of a solid points finish are pretty strong.
That concludes our preview for the Italian GP, so head on over to PlayOn.co now to create your fantasy teams and make one of the most eagerly anticipated weekends of the F1 season just a little bit more exciting.