Formula 1 2013 circuit guide: Italian Grand Prix

The ghosts of racing's past stalk this evocative old track, which has hosted more grands prix than any other venue

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Italian Grand Prix, Monza
8 September, 1pm GMT
Live on BBC and Sky Sports F1

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First Grand Prix: 1950
Track length: 5.793 km
Number of laps: 53
Lap record: 1:21.046 – Rubens Barrichello (2004)

Monza became only the third permanent race track in the world when it was completed in 1922, behind Brooklands in the UK and Indianapolis in the United States. But this is the true historic circuit of Formula 1, part of every season save one in F1’s 63 year history.

Fantastic races and horrific crashes contribute to the folklore of Monza in equal measure, the Italian ‘Tifosi’ remembering in hushed whispers the drivers and spectators who have lost their lives on ‘La Pista Magica’, the Magic Track that winds through the woodland park.

The track itself is all about speed – Michael Schumacher averaged 153.8mph in his 2003 victory, and the lack of serious braking zones makes qualifying positions all important. Drivers are at full throttle for 80 per cent of the lap.

The atmosphere at the 2012 grand prix was as loud as ever, the grandstands a sea of Ferrari red. But it was Lewis Hamilton who topped the podium ahead of Fernando Alonso and a surprise second place for former Sauber driver Sergio Perez, who replaced Hamilton in McLaren this year.

For all the changes in F1, it is circuits like Monza that remind grand prix drivers of the tradition they are writing themselves into.

2012 memory: All three podium finishers racing through the midfield to the top: Alonso from 10th to third, Perez from 12th to second and Hamilton climbing from 5th for the win.

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Previous winners
2012: Lewis Hamilton
2011: Sebastian Vettel
2010: Fernando Alonso
2009: Rubens Barrichello
2008: Sebastian Vettel