Take a whistle-stop tour of the infamous Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Famed for its long straights, heavy braking zones and fast corners, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a circuit where Formula 1 cars are pushed to the limit as the power unit, brakes and gearbox face immense stress.
At 5.793km-long, 80% of a lap around Monza is taken at full throttle, making it extra important to ace each corner for that fraction of lap time relative to your rivals. Formula 1 cars will hit their terminal velocity on the run down to Turn 1, formally known as the Rettifilio chicane. To slow down, drivers will have to step on the brakes 120 meters before the corner, preparing to enter the first turn of the lap.
It’s at Turn 1 where Checo and Lance will face their first major obstacle [literally!] in the form of Monza’s now infamous kerbing. Installed in 2009, the kerbs at Turn 1 are designed to be vicious to prevent corner-cutting. Getting it wrong here could result in an incident, as Jean-Eric Vergne found out in the 2012 edition of the race!
Securing a strong exit from the second part of the Rettifilio chicane - also known as Turn 2 - is vital for the run down to the Della Roggia chicane, which is a key overtaking opportunity. Like Turn 1, the kerbing here is also aggressive – take too much and you can easily destabilise the car and spoil your lap.
Next up are the two slightly banked right-hand Lesmo corners. If you can obtain the perfect exit here, you’ll have a nice run down the long straight connecting the second Lesmo with the Ascari chicane, sweeping under the banking of the now bygone high-speed oval circuit that was abandoned in 1961. Ascari is another popular location for overtaking during Sunday’s race – providing you secure that all-important exit beforehand.
After snaking through the left-right-left of Ascari, the final challenge of the lap is the right-hand Parabolica - one of the most iconic corners in Formula 1 and the turn that encapsulates the intensity of the Temple of Speed. Securing that optimum racing line is again vital to take as much speed as possible when running onto the final stretch before cutting to the timing beam to complete the lap.
Set to make his 55th Grand Prix start this weekend, Lance is what some may call a maestro of Monza, holding fond memories from the Temple of Speed - a circuit where he performed well in his debut Formula 1 season, starting from second on the grid:
“2017 was a great weekend! It’s a track where it’s a lot of fun when the car works well and when you have confidence. It is the highest speed circuit on the calendar and it’s awesome to drive an F1 car here so I’m really looking forward to it. I haven’t driven the RP19 here but in the past the team has done well here so I’m looking forward to seeing how we go.”