Another Grand Prix, another W for the flying Dutchman, Max Verstappen! That's #11 for Verstappen on the season as he continues to extend his massive lead for the Driver's Championship!
This week, the race was held in Italy at the Monza Circuit.
For the most part, it was a fairly boring race that ended on a safety car due to Ricciardo losing power in his McLaren on lap 47.
By the time the marshals were able to get his car off the track safely, the race was already finished. When a safety car is deployed, you have to reduce your speed and you aren't allowed to overtake or race.
It's a really bizarre way to end the race and I can't think of any other sport that has such a bizarre ending. I guess it's most closely related to the NFL when a penalty is committed with less than 10 seconds to go and there's a runoff for the play clock.
Imagine a team down 3, no timeouts left and they're marching down the field. They complete a deep pass and are about to get into field goal range. The ball is snapped with 12 seconds left on the clock. The QB gets under pressure and throws the ball away while he's in the pocket with no receiver nearby. You look at the clock, see 7 seconds left and looking down to see the dagger: a flag in the backfield. Shawn Hochuli appears on your screen and you hear the dreaded words: "Intentional grounding, offensive #12. There will be a 10 second penalty, resulting in the end of the game."
It's obviously not an apples to apples comparison, but it's the closest thing I can think of. The biggest difference between the two scenarios is that in football, the team that committed the intentional grounding infringed upon the rules. So, they're punished for their actions. In F1, Daniel Ricciardio's car (McLaren) had a malfunction which resulted in Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) not being able to push for first place. So in F1, you can suffer significantly from an unrelated party's actions.
Now, I don't think Leclerc would've been able to catch up to Max in the end if a safety car was never deployed, but you never know what happens when you're racing. As Toto Wolff knows too fondly, "it's called motor racing" and anything can happen!
Everyone was hoping we'd still be able to get one racing lap, but it wasn't in the cards. If we had one final lap, Leclerc would've had a real chance to overtake Verstappen because he was on fresher tyres. One final racing lap would've given us all the chaos and drama we were hoping for.
This decision to end the race on safety car left a LOT of people pissed:
Flashbacks to Abu Dhabi last year
No one knows what the FIA is really thinking, but they stuck to their guns and ended on a safety car. If the Driver's Championship was closer, would we have seen Max and Charles race? Maybe. But unfortunately, we'll never know.
The reason why they can't extend a race and give more laps than the allotted amount is because each car only fills their gas tank up to a very specific amount. They have just enough fuel to finish a race and nothing more. It's simple really - in F1, it's all about speed. The more fuel you have, the slower the car is due to the weight. Now we're talking about hundredths of a second slower here, but every millisecond counts in Formula 1.
The other major storyline today was Williams' substitute driver, Nyck De Vries. He filled in for Alex Albon who was ruled out for the race due to appendicitis. He was originally the reserve driver for Mercedes and then was loaned out to Williams for today's race. Williams is part of the Mercedes family as you can see the AMG logo on the left side of Williams' racing suit.
So in his first ever Formula 1 race, in one of the worst cars on the grid, he was able to secure 2 points and take home a 9th place finish. One of the best debuts he could've asked for given the circumstance he was put in.
Here's a check in on Williams' Driver points for 2022:
They call him Goatifi for a reason.
The next race is scheduled for October 2nd in Singapore!