The Ross Brawn Column – Italian Grand Prix edition

Monza delivered a dramatic Grand Prix as Daniel Ricciardo secured his first victory for McLaren, after the title protagonists Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided. Formula 1 Managing Director, Motorsport, Ross Brawn discusses the key talking points from Italy…

Italian GP showed how special F1 can be

It was great to be back at Monza and have at least some fans in the grandstands for what was an enthralling Grand Prix.

Monza is an amazing venue when it’s full because the fans are so fantastically loyal. While Ferrari didn’t win, there would have been huge love for Daniel’s triumph, given his Italian heritage. The tifosi would have had a hero to follow.

I’ve been lucky enough to stand on that rostrum that hovers over the circuit, when Ferrari have won with the crowd below you. It’s difficult to describe the emotion. I hope next year, the world is back to normal and we can see the return of Monza’s unique spectacle.

There have been many comments made about the F1 Sprint after we ran it for the second time in Italy. In my opinion, there were plenty of positives to take. It shook up the order and led to a slightly evolved grid, which in turn created a different dynamic in the race.

It was an amazing race – and I think it shows how special Formula 1 can be. There were so many storylines throughout up and down the field.

It’s also important that we look at F1 Sprint in the context of the whole event, which incidentally delivered the strongest ever weekend streaming numbers we’ve ever seen on our OTT platform F1TV.

We had three days of excitement and tension. Ordinarily, you only get two days. I firmly believe the whole event was improved – and, as I said, effectively shook up the order for the Grand Prix.

Formula 1 has been brave enough to carry out this experiment and give an opportunity to review this format. Let’s not forget, the format hasn’t changed in F1 for decades. I think it offers a lot – and we still have a track to try it on. Then we’ll make an objective assessment and work out a way forward.

My Driver of the Day – Daniel Ricciardo

Without a doubt, Daniel Ricciardo earns my Driver of the Day – in line wit h the fans.

Everyone knows the challenges he has had this year. He knows himself the reason for the dip in form. It took him a little while to settle in at McLaren but in the last few races, he has come back very strongly. I’m glad to see him competitive again.

He is a real asset to Formula 1. He’s a great driver and a great personality. It’s wonderful to see him win. And it was deserved – as he didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend.

Hats off to Lando, too. He, Daniel and the team were very sensible. They knew that fighting each other would have lost them time – and this was an opportunity they couldn’t afford to miss. Lando and Daniel are a team – and they made perfect decision. Credit to Lando, he saw the bigger picture and I know that his day will come not too far in future.

Verstappen and Hamilton clash again

Max and Lewis visited the stewards after the race and it was Max who was given the blame – and a three-place grid penalty for Russia – for causing the collision at the first chicane.

Fans will be split, I’m sure. It’s clear both drivers could have avoided it. Ultimately I think it’s another consequence of two guys going head to head and not wanting to give inch. It’s a shame they ended up in the gravel because it could have shaped up to be a great race – and we were deprived of that.

I’m interested to see what impact this has on their on-going battle for the title. We have lived through Silverstone which was a major and controversial incident.

Personally, I wouldn’t say it has changed the dynamic. You’ve got two cockerels in the farmyard at the moment and we are seeing the consequence of it.

I don’t think either will back off at any moment for the rest of the year but I hope the championship is won on the track not in the barriers or the stewards room.