Seemingly moments after the podium celebrations of Spa, we were back on the road heading for Italy for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The Gullivers Team met at Gatwick on Thursday night ready for early flights to Milan on Friday morning, where we met beaming clients brimming with excited chatter and amateur punditry! Friday night in our three destinations, Bergamo, Milan and Como, clients and staff members met up for our Welcome Drinks Event where discussions were in full force about who would be victorious over the weekend and what they thought about Daniel Ricciardo’s news of a move to Renault.
Saturday morning, we were on the road again heading to qualifying in the rain, where it looked like Lewis Hamilton could again pull something out of the bag over the faster Ferrari’s. But by the time qualifying arrived the track was dry, handing the advantage to Ferrari. The surprise was Räikkönen was faster than Vettel, recording the fastest ever lap in F1 history to claim pole. Lapping ‘La Pista Magica’ at an average speed of 162.9 mph. He was followed by Vettel, with Hamilton only 0.175s behind the Finn, setting the scene for a fascinating race.
Race day, we left the coaches parked on the old Autodrome within view of the banked circuit. Heading into the circuit in a sea of red with the Tifosi sensing a Ferrari victory, possibly a 1-2, with Ferrari not having won at Monza since Alonso’s win back in 2010. Ferrari had said they would allow Vettel and Räikkönen to race, and that they did. From the start, Vettel was trying to get past his teammate into the first chicane. When tried again into the second chicane, Hamilton seized his chance taking the outside line, mid-corner the Mercedes and Ferrari touched sending the Ferrari into a spin damaging the wing. Vettel limped back to the pits while Räikkönen and Hamilton raced off into the distance. When Mercedes came out into the pitlane, Ferrari followed calling Räikkönen in from the lead, but in the pivotal moment of the race Hamilton didn’t follow, continuing past the pits into the lead. 8 laps later Hamilton stopped, returning to the track behind Räikkönen and crucially Bottas, who was now leading as he hadn’t stopped. In the following laps, the Ferrari closed on Bottas but couldn’t find a way past, with Hamilton using this to his advantage to close on Räikkönen with his 8 lap fresher tyres. When Bottas stopped, Hamilton applied the pressure passing the Finn with 8 laps to go, to take a lead he was never to lose. Hamilton left Monza with a 30-point championship advantage over Vettel, in a race Ferrari was supposed to win...... if as Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes are ‘bluffing’ against Ferrari they are doing a very good job.
Monday’s transfers allowed the clients a respite from the early mornings heading to the track, with our first transfer at 11 am and the second at 4 pm. All of our clients had enjoyed a memorable weekend in Italy, with some taking advantage of the late night bar opening hours more than others, where all agreed that iconic Monza was a firm bucket list tick in a box and were already planning their next Gullivers weekend!