Grand Prix 2021 Italian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

The Autodromo Nazionale Di Monza is the third oldest purpose built race track in the world. Constructed in 1922 after Brooklands and Indianapolis, its motorsport history is a long and, in many cases, tragic one.

Like Brooklands and Indianapolis, the circuit was famed for its high banked oval circuit which, when combined with the outer road circuit made up 10km of bumpy, fast, and often deadly racetrack.

The 1961 Italian Grand Prix should have been a joyous occasion for the Tifosi, the band of Ferrari fans who create a sea of scarlet around the track at every Italian GP, with either the American Phil Hill or the German Wolfgang (Taffy) Von Trips set to take the world drivers title. Neither Ferrari driver could be caught by anyone else and the title battle would be decided between them.

Going into the race Trips had 33 points with Hill behind on 29. This was a time when the scoring system was made more complicated by only the best 5 of 8 results counting. While Monza was the 7th of 8 races no other driver could catch Hill or Von Trips in the standings.

It’s incredible to think that 37 cars attempted to qualify for the race with 32 managing to come in under the 115% percent cut off time from the second fastest driver. This rule had been in place for the whole of the 1961 season, and there you all were thinking the 107 percent qualifying rule was a new thing? Von Trips qualified fastest ahead of the Ferrari’s of Rodriguez, Ginther and Hill. All 4 cars were separated by 0.9 of a second which in those days was incredibly close. Graham Hill qualified in fifth a distant 2.4 seconds from pole.

When the flag dropped on race day the four Ferrari’s raced off the line however, Jim Clark, his Lotus using shorter gearing than the Ferrari’s squeezed his way through and briefly held second. Von Trips didn’t get away well and as the cars completed lap one, Hill lead from Ginther, Rodriguez and Clark with Brabham, Von Trips and Baghetti chasing hard behind.

Part way through the second lap, Von Trips had managed to force his way through and ahead of Clark and was now running in 4th. On the approach to the Parabolica corner Clark made his move to try and retake the position. In Clark’s words:

“I was preparing to overtake him and my front wheels were almost level with his back wheel as he started to brake. Suddenly he began to pull over towards me and he ran right Into the side of me. I honestly don’t think Taffy realised I was there. I am sure that, when he passed me earlier, he had decided that his was the faster car and I would be left behind”

The contact between the cars forced Trips Ferrari left and towards the packed crowd. As the car span out of control it slid up the high banking beside the track, suddenly digging into the ground it flipped and slammed through the chain link fence and through the crowd. Flipping over again, the car the car slithered back onto the track. Von Trips had been thrown out of the car and, along with at least 11 other spectators, died at the scene. Several more would die of their injuries over the next few days and, while the official figure was listed as 15 spectators killed, the precise number is not known.

Remarkably, while some of the drivers became aware that an accident had occurred, most at the circuit, including the commentators were unaware of the true scale of the accident. The race was not stopped, and it has since been claimed that this was due to the race organisers not wishing to flood the area with spectators attempting to leave the track prohibiting the emergency services from accessing and helping the injured. Whether this is the case it’s hard to say.

Hill raced on, now aware that his teammate was out, he swapped the lead with Richie Ginther on a number of occasions over the first half of the race and then, one by one, the Ferrari’s pulled out. Baghetti, Rodriguez and then Ginther all pulled out with mechanical trouble until Hill lead alone to cross the line and take the world title.

After the race, Jack Brabham, who had witnessed the crash confirmed that neither Clark or Von Trips had been racing each other dangerously and Brabham defended Clark in the fullest saying that you could be quite confident that he wasn’t going to do something stupid when you raced hard against him.

Hill climbed out of the car to discover the tragic news and, despite this being the pinnacle of his motor racing career there would be no celebration. Ferrari withdrew from the final GP of the season and, while Phil Hill would remain with the team for the following season he would never win for the Scuderia again and he slowly drifted away from F1 and into a career in sports cars.

Incredibly, this would not be the last time that Monza would see tragedy decide the title. In 1970, world championship leader Jochen Rindt lost his life when he lost control of his Lotus 72. Team Lotus were attempting to run their cars without the normal front and rear wings. Rindt’s teammate, John Miles had already reported handling issues with the car in this format, frightening himself and telling Colin Chapman that the car wouldn’t run straight. Rindt however was happy with the set up and, on Saturday ran the car with longer gear ratios to increase the top speed even further. As with Von Trips, on the approach to the Parabolica corner the car suddenly snapped right, then left and right again before finally snapping to the left and through the poorly fitted guard rail. Rindt died on the way to hospital but by this point had already amassed enough world championship points that by the end of the season he would be crowned F1’s first and thankfully so far only, posthumous world champion.

Fate wasn’t done with Monza though and it had one last cruel hand to play in deciding a world championship. The circumstances surrounding the 1978 Italian Grand Prix are so tragically similar to the 1961 race it is remarkable.

Going into the 1978 race, Lotus and their “ground effect” Type 78 and Type 79 cars had dominated the season in the same way that Ferrari had with their 1961 car. Again, as in 1961, only two drivers could win the world title. The American Mario Andretti and his teammate Ronnie Peterson. On this occasion, Gianni Restelli, the man responsible for starting the race, did so before the cars at the back of the grid had come to a complete stop after their warm up lap. As a result, the cars towards the rear of the grid were up among the front runs almost instantly. Approaching the first corner, absolute carnage ensued. James Hunt, avoiding the fast starting Ricardo Patrese collided with Peterson sending his Lotus spinning into the barriers. Seven other drivers were involved in the collision, all coming to a halt. Peterson’s car caught fire on impact and he was trapped in the car. Vittorio Brambilla had been hit on the head by a detached wheel and knocked unconscious. Hunt, Clay Regazzoni and Patrick Depailler dragged Peterson from the wreckage before he could receive anything more than minor burns however, he’d suffered multiple fractures to his legs. Sadly, Peterson was using the older type 78 which was his spare care because his normal race car, the newer type 79 had suffered problems over the weekend and Lotus didn’t have enough type 79 chassis at that point. The 79 had a different front end and it’s possible that had Peterson gone off in that car his injuries may well have not been as severe. It took over 20 minutes for help to arrive and Brambilla and Peterson were transferred to hospital. Peterson, who had been fully conscious throughout looked as if he would soon make a full recovery. It was widely believed at the time that he’d a McLaren contract waiting to be signed for 1979. Unfortunately, he died in hospital the following morning when a fat embolism in his blood stream caused his organs to fail.

Andretti came home 6th taking his only world title. Like Phil Hill before him, he would never win another formula one race and, while remaining in F1 for a few more years would see his results slide backwards with each passing season until he eventually retired from F1 and continued his hugely successful career in Indy Racing.

As a final, and slightly more uplifting coda to his story, in what had been a tragic year for Ferrari in 1982 with the death of Gilles Villeneuve and the near fatal accident to Didier Pironi, Mario was drafted into the team to join Patrick Tambay to enable Ferrari to run two cars at their home GP. Mario gave the Tifosi the lift they needed by setting the final pole position of his career and bringing his car home in 3rd behind his teammate Tambay in second and between them, scoring enough points to secure Ferrari their first constructors title since 1979.

We have a lot to be thankful for when we look at how safe modern formula one has become but we should never be complacent. Monza is not a circuit to be taken lightly.

Lets hope we have a great race.
 

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Premium Contributor
I suggest Marco be put in a car then shoved in to the wall at high speed and have Verstappen sit on top of him in his car trying to drive the car of him.
I wonder if he would survive?
The accident that happened at Monza happened at about 24 mph as opposed to the one at Silverstone which was around 200 mph. At Monza Hammilton was reving his engine quite loudly even when Verstappen had walked well away. Are you saying that Verstappen should walked up to Hamilton's car and asked him if there was anything he could wity?
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
When are you talking about? Silverstone where the stewards adjudges that Hamilton to be at fault?
I am referring to the lap 1 incident where Verstappen knew Hamilton was alongside but held the line forcing Hamilton to the run off

Hamilton returned the favour but not as aggressively I have to say...

The comments Verstappen made over the radio afterwards plus he probably was still gassing it rather than backing off braking swayed the penalty to be given towards Verstappen
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
The accident that happened at Monza happened at about 24 mph as opposed to the one at Silverstone which was around 200 mph. At Monza Hammilton was reving his engine quite loudly even when Verstappen had walked well away. Are you saying that Verstappen should walked up to Hamilton's car and asked him if there was anything he could wity?
Marko is suggesting Hamilton is over playing the injury hitting back at Wolff who suggested Verstappen did a tactical foul - take more risks knowing the crash would be more his gain than Hamilton's
 

Brogan

Legend
Staff Member
Horner said this:

If the FIA wanted to make a statement, they could have imposed the same penalty on both drivers – but the fault was deemed to be more on Max’s side and, because he didn’t finish the race, the only option was to give him a grid penalty, which we accept.

He's almost as big a **** as Verstappen.
 

Brogan

Legend
Staff Member
Are you saying that Verstappen should walked up to Hamilton's car and asked him if there was anything he could wity?
We get it, you don't like Hamilton.
That much is obvious based on your posting history.

For a fellow driver to walk away without checking at all speaks volumes about Verstappen.
 

Titch

World Champion
Premium Contributor
Bill Boddy what I was suggesting was that until Marco has been there and done that, he should not tell the world that a driver is fabricating his injuries. As for why Hamilton was reving his engine as Verstappen walked away, I don’t know, neither did Verstappen but a fellow driver might have been injured and unable to move. Yes Bill Boddy I think that the spoilt brat Verstappen should have stopped and checked before running back to Daddy Marco In a strop.
 

Dartman

Pole Sitter
I think the estimate of 24mph is a little slow, the only times F1 cars corner at that speed is at the Monaco GP hairpin and I believe that is 30 to 35 mph, it may have been 24 mph as they exited the track.
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
i think we are being revisionist on verstappen not checking on Hamilton. this mother Theresa attitude

did Heikki check on webber in 2010
did Vettel check on webber in 2010
did anyone check on people in 2012 crash that gave grosjean a race ban
did Rosberg or Hamilton check on each other in 2016
did Riccardo or Verstappen check on each other in 2018
did Vettel or leclerc check on each other in 2019
did Russell check on Bottas in 2021
 

P1

Pole Sitter
i think we are being revisionist on verstappen not checking on Hamilton. this mother Theresa attitude

did Heikki check on webber in 2010
did Vettel check on webber in 2010
did anyone check on people in 2012 crash that gave grosjean a race ban
did Rosberg or Hamilton check on each other in 2016
did Riccardo or Verstappen check on each other in 2018
did Vettel or leclerc check on each other in 2019
did Russell check on Bottas in 2021
Yes but driving your car over someone else's cockpit is a different type of crash and inherently more dangerous.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Does it prove the point that Verstappen is an immature prick? People forget Hamilton was trapped under Verstappen 's car before he tried to reverse out

Maybe people should watch Hungary 2016 when Ricciardo described Verstappen running him off perfectly "f###### sore lower!"
 

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Premium Contributor
We get it, you don't like Hamilton
I was at Monza when Hamilton was spinning doughnuts in front of me. I thought then, and still to, that he was something special. I try to make my judgements of the drivers by their driving skills rather than by their personalities. Hence our judgements diverge on some events.
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
I was at Monza when Hamilton was spinning doughnuts in front of me. I thought then, and still to, that he was something special. I try to make my judgements of the drivers by their driving skills rather than by their personalities. Hence our judgements diverge on some events.
we have got to avoid tribalism that is in F1 fans across social media & which ws a forum i think we done quite well at recently

as i might be critical of Hamilton at times but that doesn't mean im against him. as ive said few times on here how good i think he is & how i think he is 1 of 3 greatest F1 drivers in my opinion or how this title battle is best of previous generation v best of the next generation
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom