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The Italian Grand Prix - did you know?

01 Sep 2015

Did you know that the victor at Monza has gone on to win the FIA Formula One World Championship in three of the last four years? Or that Sebastian Vettel could potentially win with his third different team this weekend - a feat only one other man in history has achieved at Monza? We take a look at the most fascinating stats and trivia ahead of this weekend's Formula 1 Gran Premio d'Italia 2015...
  • No circuit has played host to Formula One racing more than Monza. The Italian circuit was on the inaugural 1950 calendar and has been a mainstay ever since, only dropping off for one year (in 1980, when Imola filled in). As a result, Monza will host an unparalleled 65th Grand Prix this weekend.
  • During that time, the circuit layout and length has changed several times, most notably in the mid-50s and early 60s when the famous banking was utilised as part of a 10km layout. The current 5.793-km version has been in use since 2000.
  • As well as being the most used venue, Monza is also the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar. Michael Schumacher completed the fastest ever race in 2003, averaging a staggering 247km/h (153mph). The fastest lap meanwhile was set by Rubens Barrichello in 2004 - a 1m 21.046s, which equates to a breath-taking 257km/h (159mph) average.
  • The Brazilian was able to claim the second of three wins at Monza that weekend, which puts him an equal-third in the all-time win lists (alongside Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Ronnie Peterson, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel). Michael Schumacher leads the way with five victories, while Nelson Piquet claimed four.
  • Vettel could make history this weekend though: having won previously with Toro Rosso (2008) and Red Bull (2011, 2013), he could prevail with a third different team. Only one other man in history has achieved that at Monza - Stirling Moss, who triumphed in 1956 (Maserati), 1957 (Vanwall) and 1959 (Rob Walker Racing).
  • Of the other drivers on the grid this year, only two have tasted victory at Monza - Fernando Alonso, who stood atop the podium in 2007 and 2010, and Lewis Hamilton, who did likewise in 2012 and 2014.
  • Kimi Raikkonen meanwhile is a notable absentee on the victors list. The Finn has started on pole at the Italian venue (in 2006), has led 26 laps in total, and has also set the fastest lap on a record-equalling three occasions (2005, 2006 and 2008), but victory continues to elude him.
  • History suggests that a Hamilton victory this weekend is unlikely - the last time a driver took back-to-back wins at Monza was 1993/94, when Damon Hill and Williams proved too strong. The Briton is in rarefied company - only six other drivers have won in consecutive years in Italy, with Nelson Piquet (1986/87) the only other driver to have done so in the last three decades.
  • A look through the record books also suggests Saturday has an exaggerated importance at Monza, with the polesitter going on to triumph in eight of the last ten races. Since 1950, in contrast, the polesitter has won in just 21 of the 64 races.
  • Monza can also lay claim to producing the closest finish in F1 history: the slipstreaming classic of 1971. Peter Gethin was the man who prevailed, at the head of a six-car train covered by just 0.61s at the chequered flag (see main image). Ronnie Peterson in second was classified as being just 0.01s behind Gethin as the pair crossed the line.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ferrari have claimed more victories (18) than any other team at their home race. McLaren (10), Williams (6) and Lotus (5) are next up. Of that trio, McLaren were the most recent winners through Hamilton in 2012. Williams' last win was in 2001 via Juan Pablo Montoya, while Lotus last triumphed in 1977, with Mario Andretti at the wheel.
  • In total, 83 Italians have started a Grand Prix - and from that group three have triumphed on home soil. Alberto Ascari managed the feat twice in 1951 and '52; Nino Farina once, in 1950; while Ludovico Scarfiotti was the last home winner all the way back in 1966. The last Italian-born driver to win at Monza was Mario Andretti in 1977, but he of course competed for the USA.
  • Back to the present day, both Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton can edge closer to making history this weekend. Mercedes are chasing their 23rd consecutive pole position, which would leave them just one shy of Williams' all-time mark of 24, set over the 1992/93 campaigns. Hamilton meanwhile could book a 19th straight front row start. Only one driver sits above him - Ayrton Senna, who racked up an amazing 24 front-row starts between 1988 and '89.