Max Verstappen poised to take grid penalty at 2022 Italian Grand Prix

Mercedes are still searching for their first win in 2022 after Sir Lewis Hamilton came close at Zandvoort.

Max Verstappen’s victory at last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix has all but sealed the Dutch driver his second consecutive title, with the reigning World Champion set to win the title at the Singapore Grand Prix if he wins this weekend at Monza.

The Italian Grand Prix should once again suit Red Bull Racing’s RB18 to a tee, with the high speeds seen at the ‘Temple of Speed’ set to make Red Bull the team to beat this weekend.

With the RB18 having shown such impressive speed, it makes this weekend the perfect chance to take another engine-related grid penalty, with upcoming rounds at Singapore and Japan being incredibly difficult to overtake at.

Whilst Monza isn’t the easiest to pass at, it should be an easy task for Verstappen due to the pace of which he’s demonstrated at recent rounds.

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Should Verstappen take a grid penalty at Monza, it would then mean he probably won’t have to take another grid penalty later in the year, whereas Charles Leclerc most likely will.

Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel has tipped Verstappen to take a penalty this weekend but believes a podium finish will still be possible for the 24-year-old.

“In Monza it is low downforce, the least there is on the entire Formula 1 calendar,” Coronel told the RacingNews Podcast.

“High speeds, difficult to overtake, but with the tyre strategy and the Red Bull car we should still be able to reach P2.

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“That is why my feeling is that Verstappen will take a grid penalty there, because you have to choose a place. You do not do that in Singapore and also not at Suzuka.”

Should Verstappen take a penalty, then it could open the door once again for the Mercedes F1 Team.

Mercedes are still yet to win a race this season, with the Silver Arrows having just seven more chances to continue their streak of winning at least one race every season since 2012.

The German’s came agonisingly close at the Dutch GP but fell just short of claiming P1.

Coronel predicts that Mercedes’ unbelievable tyre wear management is “their weapon” and could be the defining factor that sees them claim victory this weekend at Monza.

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“Their weapon is the tyre wear,” he added.

“Mercedes has that seriously well under control.

“You saw that during the Grand Prix of the Netherlands when Lewis Hamilton and George Russell drove on the white, hard tyres. And Zandvoort is normally really a tyre-eating circuit in that regard! That’s the only reason!”