The 2017 Italian Grand Prix is officially in the books and if you slept through it, you didn’t miss anything as it was a return to the Mercedes 1-2 snoozefests of 2015-16 with Lewis Hamilton taking a ridiculously easy victory and his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, following him around the track for 90 minutes. Sebastian Vettel was far back as he nursed his Ferrari to the finish to claim the third and final podium position.
The race was over as soon as it began with pole-sitter Hamilton taking the lead from the outset and never relinquishing it as his sole challenger – Vettel – started from the third row, took eight laps of the 53-lap race to finally get up into third position and then encountered late race engine mode difficulties with his Ferrari so that he barely held off a charging Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull. Points for the race go to Hamilton for doing what he had to do, Vettel for managing to hold onto the podium spot despite his difficulties and Ricciardo gets the final point for his late charge that brought him to the brink of the podium. Vettel, however, holds on to his commanding lead for the season.
Unlike his teammate, Ricciardo, Max Verstappen knocked himself out of podium contention early by unnecessarily colliding with Williams’ Felipe Massa on the third lap, damaging his wing and tire and forcing him to pit early as this week’s easy winner of the Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award, where he moves into a three-way second-place tie with Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz, Jr..
The Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing!” Award was difficult to award this week as there was mostly civil banter during the race with the usual driver irritations arising from minor skirmishes, so ASN awards it to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who was so annoyed about being involved with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer in one of those minor skirmishes that, when he asked “Where’s Palmer?” – he didn’t realize that Palmer had already exited the race. With the point, Alonso takes the lead for this award.
The Bernie Ecclestone Doofus Moment Award was formerly named for Hamilton and for good reason as it was Hamilton who made a triumphant return to doofus-land with his post-race taunting comment – “Mercedes power is definitely better than Ferrari power…” clearly meant to rub the Italian Ferrari fans’ noses into the dirt and proving what genuinely lurks beneath his sometimes PR-friendly surface. Despite Hamilton’s re-emergence as a doofus, Ecclestone still maintains a commanding lead in the category.
2017 ASN Formula One Driver Rankings [after Italian Grand Prix]
1] Sebastian Vettel – 27 points
2] Lewis Hamilton – 16
3] Valtteri Bottas – 12
4] Daniel Ricciardo – seven
5] Esteban Ocon – four
6] Fernando Alonso/Kimi Raikkonen – three
8] Sergio Perez/Stoffel Vandoorne – two
10] Romain Grosjean/Lance Stroll/Max Verstappen – one
2017 Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award [after Italian Grand Prix]
1] Perez – three points
2] Daniil Kvyat/Carlos Sainz, Jr./Verstappen – two
5] Grosjean/Kevin Magnussen/Jolyon Palmer/Vandoorne/Vettel – one
2017 Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing!” Award [after Italian Grand Prix]
1] Alonso – three points
2] Vettel – two
3] Bottas/Jenson Button/Grosjean/Hamilton/Mercedes [Bottas pit]/Ocon/Red Bull [Verstappen pit]/Ricciardo – one
2017 Bernie Ecclestone Doofus Moment Award [after Italian Grand Prix]
1] Ecclestone – three points
2] Australian Grand Prix officials/Bottas/British Grand Prix officials/Canadian Grand Prix officials/Force India/Goodwood/Hamilton/Mercedes marketing/Stroll/Williams – one