Following an explosive race at Spa-Francorchamps, Formula 1 heads to another classic circuit this weekend for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg appear to have laid now their weapons, but only time will tell whether this peace at Mercedes will last. Both will be gunning to bounce back with a victory at Monza this weekend, and we will get our first inklings of who may be leading the way with practice on Friday morning.
You can watch FP1 live on Live Extra from 4am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.
In a packed press conference on Thursday, both drivers faced the media for the first time since their fall-out at Spa, but many were left disappointed. The situation appears to have been defused by Mercedes – at least on the surface – and both Lewis and Nico said that they were looking ahead and focusing on their title tilt.
It cannot be denied that Mercedes’ internal friction is damaging its championship hopes, but this is all part and parcel of being successful.
FP1 will give us an idea of who should be filling the places behind the Silver Arrows on the podium on Sunday. Williams, McLaren and Force India should run well at Monza by virtue of their Mercedes engines, but also keep an eye out for Red Bull – who has won the last two races – and Ferrari, who will have the impassioned home crowd cheering it on this weekend.
The session sees a number of changes to give the team’s junior drivers a run-out:
Force India Dani Juncadella replaces Sergio Perez (first 30 mins only)
Sauber Giedo van der Garde replaces Adrian Sutil
Caterham Roberto Merhi replaces Kamui Kobayashi
Lotus Charles Pic replaces Romain Grosjean
You can watch all of the action from first practice at Monza on Live Extra from 4am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.