Lewis Hamilton is confident that if can grab pole position for Mercedes on Saturday he can fend off all his supposedly faster rivals to win Sunday's keenly-anticipated 71st Monaco Grand Prix.
Yoong's Insights - The 2011 Italian GP
By Alex Yoong
The Italian Grand Prix, in Monza just outside Milan, is the fastest GP of the year, with cars reaching 330kph four times a lap.
It has long straights with reasonably short slow corners leading on and off them, which translates into a race that is all about top speed and not really about setting the car up to be quick through the corners as you spend a comparatively short time in them.
As a result, cars will all be set-up for minimum wing angle to decrease drag and down-force but maximum speed.
With only the last corner, the Curva Parabolica, being the only reasonably fast corner on the track, tyre wear is normally low here. However, due to the high speeds and the fact that tyre blistering occurred at the last GP in Spa, Pirelli will be asking teams to run less front camber and higher tyre pressures this weekend.
A tyre failure at such high straight line speeds would be catastrophic; therefore, by reducing tyre stress with these changes, the chances of disaster striking will be decreased significantly.
Monza is always exciting because the long straights normally mean overtaking is possible, especially with the addition of two DRS zones this year for overtaking.
Consequently, we should see EVEN more overtaking this weekend compared to previous years, and I would not be surprised to see this race receive the most action of the year.
I only hope that we do not see tyre wear falling off too much. If we see tyres lasting, then we should see drivers coming back at each other lap after lap due to committed driving instead of falling away because of finished tyres.
Red Bull does not historically do too well here in Monza, and I personally believe that Ferrari will start as firm favourites as they always give their home circuit special care and attention.
McLaren and Mercedes will also be very strong here, but do not discount Red Bull because they have already been strong on two supposedly weaker circuits -Canada and Belgium.
With both championships looking like they are going the way of Red Bull, the other teams will still be desperate to show they have closed the gap and can be competitive against the world champions.
Pride is a main reason to keep pushing, but also it will give the boys back at the factory real motivation that they are going in the right direction with car performance, which should bode well for 2012.
Catch former F1 driver Alex Yoong on STAR Sports' coverage of this weekend's Formula One Italian GP on Race Day and Chequered Flag.
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Date 19/12/11, Duration 0:33, Views 22464