The Tuscan Grand Prix has arrived with the F1 2020 calendar screeching beyond the halfway mark in the season.
We chatted exclusively to Sky F1 favourite David Croft for our weekly In The Pit Lane feature, assessing the big storylines leading up to the race.
Crofty discusses the newest Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly, a possible return to form for Red Bull, drivers changes for Racing Point and what fans can expect from a tricky track at Mugello.
Check out what the Sky Sports F1 man has to say below.
Gasly to continue hot streak
DC: We now have 109 different Grand Prix winners, still five times fewer people than have been into space. That shows you how difficult it is! Pierre Gasly earned his moment to shine. Five races this season he has scored points, in the last three in a row, he keeps getting into Q3, and I just see him continuing to do a fine job in that car.
It has a great opportunity to score points in that car. It’s possible to be a consistent point-scorer for Alphatauri. This might not be a bad track for them because they quite like high-downforce circuits. He could have another top-eight finish this weekend.
Verstappen in victory contention
DC: His engine was overheating last week, that’s why he didn’t finish the race. It was a missed opportunity for Red Bull last week. The temperatures here and the nature of this track should see them back up at the front again. I’d be surprised if they’re not, to be honest.
Max Verstappen will be on the top two rows and be a likely contender for a win here. Overtaking is really difficult, so they’ve got to maximise their chances in qualifying, so do they run a slightly higher engine mode, put more strain on the engine, possibly pay a penalty for that later in the year but maximise their chances at a track they may well be winning at.
Driver changes = mentality changes?
DC: I don’t think it changes much. Perez will be desperate to end his Racing Point time on a high and do as well as he can. Seb will be desperate to try and do something with that Ferrari that is not exactly bringing him a lot of joy, but at least he can relax a bit and know he’s still going to be in the sport next year and going to a team further up than Ferrari at the moment.
Seb has won many, many times. On the track, you could argue Sergio is having a better time of it – he is, he’s in a better car – so I don’t think the anti-Seb opinion on this stacks up. I don’t think he’s completely lost it, I think he’s trying to over-drive a car that doesn’t have the performance there.
DC: It’s hilly. It’s relentless. Apart from the straight – which is 1.1km where the drivers can get a bit of a breather – the rest of the lap is just a series of medium and high-speed corners. It’s got a great flow to it, wonderful undulations. It is tricky to overtake here, the tyres are going to take a pounding, it’s going to be hot; where can you overtake? They say you can overtake into Turn 1, but you can probably overtake anywhere if you’re good enough. This is going to test the best of the best and is quite literally going to be a pain in the neck for them because their neck muscles will be so sore after this one, they’ll need a week off.
How to watch the Tuscan Grand Prix
The race starts at 2:10pm on Sunday 13th September live on Sky Sports F1.
For full TV details as well as timings of practice, qualifying and the race itself, check out our comprehensive guide to the Tuscan Grand Prix.
For the full breakdown of F1 races coming up check out our F1 2020 calendar guide.
If you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV guide.