We think it's safe to say that the appropriate expression after last weekend's Italian Grand Prix is "Mamma mia!" Read on to find out why, plus get all the latest Formula 1 team movements for 2022 with TrackDays' weekly catch up…
There's a bit of an unwritten rule that, if the biggest story of a Grand Prix isn't who walked away victorious (Team McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo, who took his fifth win of his career and first since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix, with a final lap time of 1:21:54), then you know that it was another on-track drama that generated attention and headlines.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, said drama has come from Team Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, and Team Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Neither of them finished in the final results at the Italian GP in Monza yesterday, instead retiring from the race owing to a near fatal crash between the two drivers, who are currently fighting for the title of F1 World Championship this season.
The rear of Verstappen's car flipped up and landed on top of Hamilton's car in terrifying scenes out on the track. Hamilton cited the halo head protection device in his car as a life saver against what could have been a very serious injury or worse. Speaking to the media afterwards, Hamilton said "I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before - and it is quite a big shock for me … Thank God for the halo which saved me, and saved my neck."
Team Mercedes boss Toto Wolff concurred, adding that without the halo device, "It would have been a horrible accident which I don't even want to think about." Verstappen meanwhile, has increased his lead in the current season standings to date by just 5 points - but he has also been given a three place grid penalty which he will have to take at the Russian Grand Prix in just under two weeks' time on 26th September.
The recent speculation we've discussed in the last two roundups was finally confirmed at the end of last week, with the news that Team Williams Racing's George Russell will be joining Team Mercedes as of next season.
The buzz around Russell, who recently achieved his first podium finish at last month's Belgian GP, is the most there's been around a relatively new driver to the grid in a long time, and many are suggesting that Team Mercedes' victory could continue apace into 2022 with his signing.
Current Team Alpine racer Fernando Alonso is just one of many racers who have picked up on his natural, measured ability out on the track, saying "George Russell is the one that surprises me every weekend … How he's driving the Williams. Zero mistakes. I'm really surprised about his natural speed."
Speaking at the press conference before qualifying at Monza last weekend, Russell himself was confidently bubbling with anticipation at his move, saying that he was looking forward to re-establishing a good team dynamic: "Mercedes have had clear experience of a poor dynamic within the team and have made it absolutely clear they don't want a repeat. I don't want that either. It's important to work together."
Kimi Raikkonen is marking his recently announced retirement from F1 at the end of this season by auctioning off the McLaren MP4-17 Single Seater that he famously drove in consecutive early 00s seasons in his time at Team McLaren.
The MP4-17A-06 chassis, to give it its full name, was driven by both him and David Coulthard - the former notably finishing third when he drove it at the Grand Prix of Europe in Nürburgring on its maiden outing in 2002, and Coulthard driving it to victory at the 2003 Australian Grand Prix.
Its 2002 finest livery will be what the car is donning when it goes under the hammer at RM Sotheby's in St Moritz this Friday (17th September). But as might be expected, the auctioneer's estimate is a hefty one; it's currently expected to go for between £1.5 - 2 million if you've got it down the back of a sofa!
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