Orange Victory but Max Fail in Monza
When Max Verstappen won at Monaco earlier in the year, I suggested that he and Lewis were similar drivers except Hamilton had the edge on experience and race strategy. Compelling evidence for this assertion was amply provided by Max himself as he launched an overtaking move in Turn Two that in military terms would have been referred to as a “forlorn hope” i.e., he knowingly made an attack that would almost certainly end in failure (or in this case leave them both out of the race). Sadly, it was reminiscent of the type of “blunt instrument” behaviour he was known for in his early days of Grand Prix racing. I thought we were past this era but fear the mounting Championship pressure may have stirred this personality from its slumber.
It's not the first time we have witnessed this kind of thing in Formula One, and whilst it can’t be condoned, it was at least done to secure a Championship win. A slender 5-point lead mid-season though really isn’t worth wasting your powder on. I’m presuming that was the motivation of course… or frustration over a poor pit stop, possibly an opportunity to get revenge over his perceived victimhood at Silverstone. Maybe his suit didn’t comeback from the cleaners? To be honest nobody knows apart from Max. What we can surmise, is that based on earlier part of the race, Max had the equipment (although possibly not the racing grey matter) to overhaul Hamilton with reasonable ease and increase his Championship lead. Unfortunately working this out was beyond him on the day and may cost him dearly going forward. He is now almost certainly on the radar of the officials for this type of behaviour and will be subject to even closer observation in the future. This risks further unnecessary penalties, and the other drivers will also be mulling over how they might handle him on track. With some people a polite conversation is not enough, and Max is starting to frame himself as one of those “people.”
Max is truly a great talent and he’s finally in a car that has the edge over the rest of the field. The only person who can prevent him winning the Championship this year is Max himself. To avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory he could do worse than look at how his potential nemesis operates (when racing). More calm, cold, calculations rather than, truculent emotional, balls thinking. Christian Horner needs to play a part here and will need to provide unvarnished guidance for the moment. Based on Max’s recent performance, I would suggest it is handwritten, in capitals, possibly using crayon.
At the other end of the spectrum, McLaren, and Daniel Ricardo (one of the nicest guys in the sport) returned to the top step of the podium with a popular win, and more importantly for Daniel, beating his team mate to boot. Norris had been embarrassing him during the early part of the season as he struggled to adjust his driving style to the car. Fortunately, over the last couple of rounds he has shown some forward momentum, closed the gap and now finally finished in front of his teammate. It is also good to see McLaren return to winning ways; they’ve certainly been putting in the work and looked threatening on a number of occasions. Wins lift confidence, and it will be interesting to see how Daniel, Lando and the Team perform over the rest of the season.