Anyone but Vettel - Italian GP preview
Monza - the one circuit on the Formula One calendar that actually gives me goosebumps! It's the fastest of the tracks currently in use in the sport and it's clear why it's such a favourite among drivers. The long straights, fast corners and challenging chicanes make this as David Coulthard would say a "hee-hah" type of circuit.
Is it evident that I am in awe of this track?
Anyway, enough about the circuit. It's about what happens on it that counts this weekend. There are some great talking points, like can Lewis Hamilton make it back-to-back wins at Monza?
Well, if you take into consideration that Hamilton has put his Mercedes on pole for the last four races and that history suggests the man on pole invariably goes on to win, then you'd be smart to put your money on the Brit. Hamilton was dominant in last year's Italian Grand Prix and with him still being alive in the championship, he'll be motivated to repeat that feat.
How will Daniel Ricciardo's performance be affected by the news he's moving to Red Bull next season?
The big F1 news this week was that Red Bull Racing ended months of speculation by confirming Ricciardo as Mark Webber's replacement from next season. For Ricciardo it must feel like a dream come true. I mean just three seasons ago he was fumbling around at the back of the grid in a HRT car, but now after some strong showings for Toro Rosso he has the chance of racing at the front and challenging for a win.
But for us media types, Ricciardo's confirmation came as a bit of an anti-climax. For this writer, it was a particular disappointment because the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were bandied about as possible replacements for Webber, thereby creating a potential F1 "Dream Team".
Alonso piqued my interest on Twitter last week when he tweeted that he had this huge announcement he was going to make the following day. I literally stalked his profile because I wanted to be the first person to retweet that he was joining Red Bull … But alas. He announced he'd bought a cycling team. Pretty cool news, but not quite what I'd hoped for.
It can go two ways from here on out for young Ricciardo. He can drive the wheels off his Toro Rosso for the rest of the season and confirm the faith put in him, or he can do what Sergio Perez did and completely implode under the pressure of expectation. We wait and see which way he goes.
For Formula One to remain exciting this season, Alonso or Hamilton need to win at Monza on Sunday and better yet, Sebastian Vettel must register a DNF because if the German wins again, I'm afraid it will only be a formality that the talented Mr. Vettel will win his fourth world championship.
My podium for the Italian Grand Prix: Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg
Check out Morne's blog here.