The Italian Grand Prix was yet another classic for 2014. Despite the Mercedes 1-2, the race was crammed full with action as Felipe Massa secured his first podium of the season and Fernando Alonso was not classified for the first time since his days at Renault in 2009.
For those who missed the race, or are just curious about my thoughts on the eventful Italian Grand Prix, here a countdown of five observations from the thirteenth round of the 2014 championship.
5) Kamui comes back fighting
Kamui Kobayashi endured a tough Spa weekend as he watched Andre Lotterer take to the track in his CT05 however the Japanese driver let his racing do the talking by winning the Caterham/Marussia against Monaco points scorer Jules Bianchi. Admittedly points and titles are not at stake for the back markers but anything to boost morale at Caterham should be noted, particularly at a time of great uncertainty for its employees. Christijan Albers is out as team principal and Kobayashi’s career continues to look under threat.
4) Kvyat impresses with close save
Daniil Kvyat at 19, is the youngest driver on the 2014 grid and is so young, people immediately wrote him off. His immediate and sudden jump up from GP3 left many pondering his talent and potential but his quick reactions certainly got the paddock whispering. Unfortunately, brake issues curtailed his chances of securing a much deserved point but the young Russian showed impressive skills to prevent a disastrous crash in the latter stages. With many fans questioning the safety of teenagers racing in Formula 1, Kvyat proving fast reaction times and awareness is crucial in helping disprove this claim.
3) A safer and wiser Grosjean emerges
Romain Grosjean missed the 2012 Italian Grand Prix after stewards handed him a one-race ban for his first lap actions at Spa. However, we must make note of his changed approach – it is clear the Frenchman is learning from his mistakes. In seasons past, the battle with Bianchi may have ended very differently but the two raced fairly and without incident. Now a father, Grosjean is showing a wiser side to his racing and is emerging as a key mover in the 2015 driver shake up as Lotus battle to keep him.
2) Lewis is bringing the fight to Nico
Some journalists in the paddock have completely dismissed the importances of a psychological edge while others insist it is key to the unravelling of the championship. Personally, I think a strong mind is a crucial attribute for any racer – it determines whether they can hold their nerve throughout the championship, can learn from their mistakes and cope with constant accountability for their actions. Just 22 points separate Nico Rosberg from Lewis Hamilton and the former’s costly mistake into the escape route proves he can buckle under pressure. In Formula 1, the drivers can only control so much but their mental strength can be a rare ally, something both will need to utilise to full affect.
1) Did we really miss Parabolica?
Last week, there was much debate about the changes to Parabolica; for safety reasons, a run-off area has replaced the gravel thus reducing some difficulty for the drivers on the classic circuit. A banner was strewn across the grandstands criticises all of 2014 changes and a possible demise of Formula 1, however the racing action continued in earnest and the Italian Grand Prix will remain a highlight of the season with or without the original corner. Improved safety measures do not always compromise the on-track fights.