2016 Formula One Italian Grand Prix preview

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Ferrari at the 2016 Formula One Italian Grand Prix

Ferrari at the 2016 Formula One Italian Grand Prix

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The 2016 Formula One World Championship continues this weekend with round 14, the Italian Grand Prix, at the legendary Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

The 3.6-mile race track, known to most as simply “Monza,” is located just outside of Milan. It was built in 1922 and has hosted the Italian Grand Prix every year since F1’s inaugural season in 1950, with the sole exception of 1980, when the race was held at nearby Imola.

The Italian Grand Prix is the home race for both Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] and tire supplier Pirelli and Monza perfectly suits the fiery passion of the Italian fans. It has the highest average speed (158 mph) of any race on the calendar, with its long straights seeing cars exceed 200 mph four times in a single lap.

Cars typically run the lowest downforce settings of the season, though this increases the work of the tires. Because with less force pushing down on top of the car it’s the rubber that’s providing all the mechanical grip, which is particularly important under acceleration and braking. Pirelli has nominated its medium, soft and superspoft compounds for the race.

Mercedes AMG fastest at practice session

After Friday’s practice session, Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton was at the top of the time sheets with fellow Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg not far behind. Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen were third and fourth fastest, respectively, with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen rounding out the top five.

It will be interesting to watch the battle in Sunday’s race after last weekend’s 2016 Belgian Grand Prix where Räikkönen criticized Verstappen for an aggressive pass on the opening lap.

Going into tomorrow’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race, it looks like we’re in for fine weather with peak temperatures hovering around 87 degrees F (31 degrees C).

Hamilton currently leads the 2016 Drivers’ Championship with 232 points. Rosberg is second with 223 points and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo third with 151 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 455 points followed by Red Bull and Ferrari with 274 and 252 points, respectively. The winner of the 2015 Italian Grand Prix was Hamilton.

 
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