Ah dear, Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri is being pushed off the track and towards, I imagine, the garage. Hopefully there’s nothing major wrong, but he’s only got four minutes to have them resolved.
Ricciardo is nicely relaxed, listening to tunes and clambering into his powder orange car. This is a huge afternoon for the Honey Badger, but he’s going to act like it’s just another day on the Scalextric.
Bolt shares a moment with Vin Diesel, who has bestowed upon him the rich reward of being hollered at by Sky’s reporter … who then calls him “Son”. Goodness me.
Usain Bolt is trackside, and he lets us know that Hamilton is ready. He likes fast cars and Cristiano Ronaldo, he tells us. More news as I get it.
Lando Norris is a confident young man and he’s hoping for a podium today saying that the team are prepared for any eventuality.
There’s something so beautiful about the green on the Italian flag, which I’ve just learnt is called fern green (bright white and flame scarlet are itss neighbours).
We see some lovely drone shots of lovely Italy and a fly-past. In the stands, someone holds a red flare.
Daniel Ricciardo hasn’t been on the front row since 2018, and given he doesn’t exactly need points, we can be sure he’ll give the start everything, going for the win not a place.
Christian Horner isn’t too bothered by what Hamilton said about an easy win for his man Verstappen. On this circuit you want to get in front and settle in, so he’s wary of the McLarens’ acceleration, but will be delighted to be leading around the first corner.
Gasly seems to have a mechanical issue and though he was always scheduled to start from the pit lane, that’s a problem for him. Ah but all seems fine.
On telly, they reckon Hamilton will start on softs, but reiterate the need for better control of the starting thrust – not just a driver issue but a mechanical one.
George Russell’s brakes might be jiggered; he’s parked up on the side of the track waiting for assistance.
There’s something wrong with one of the AlphaTauri cars, around which folk are huddled in earnest manner.
The start is always huge, but it’ll be especially so today because with so few overtaking opportunities, reaction speed counts as a serious chance to make something happen. Hamilton’s been struggling with wheelspin, so his ability to control that – or not – will be a huge factor in the race.
Afternoon all and welcome to what should be a jazzer of an Italian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen leads the driver standings and is in pole, but if there’s one thing he and we’ve learnt, this season and over the years, it’s that Lewis Hamilton can win from anywhere.
That looks especially tricky this weekend – even Hamilton concedes that it should be “an easy win” for his rival. Still the few overtaking opportunities on the might give us more of the needle we crave, and if all else fails at least we’re guaranteed to hear Il Canto degli Italiani, the indisputable and feelgood song of the summer. Siiiiiiiiiiii!