BAR-Honda driver Jacques Villeneuve describes a lap of the Monza - site of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix:

"Monza is a great racer's circuit and is the last really high-speed race on the calendar today. It has a very special atmosphere and provides a real challenge with some good fun sections.

"Having crossed the start/finish line at around 320km/h, you accelerate towards the first corner, reaching a speed of nearly 355km/h before braking very hard for the very tight first chicane. Braking is at over 4G for this corner and you're on the brakes for over 110 metres before taking the corner at less than 70km/h in first gear.

"At the first chicane you need to cut the corner by jumping on the kerbs. This is important in achieving a quick lap time. A good exit from the second part of the chicane is crucial because of the following long straight.

"You remain in first gear for the second part of the chicane before accelerating through Curva Grande, which is easily taken flat, and approaching the second chicane - the Variante della Roggia - at around 330km/h. Again it's hard on the brakes, and then into second gear at 95km/h for the first part of the chicane.

"There then follows a short fourth gear straight where you reach up to 260km/h by the end and this leads into the first of the Lesmo corners.

"You brake slightly before the first Lesmo and turn into the right-hand corner in third gear at 165km/h. The first Lesmo is quite fast and banked, but not as fast as it used to be. The area between the two Lesmo corners has a lot of shadow, because of the trees, so the temperature of the track can be different there. You then accelerate through fourth gear to just under 260km/h before dropping down to third gear for the second Lesmo corner, which is taken at around 150km/h. The second Lesmo is slower than it used to be - it was a lot faster and you used to take it in 5th but it is now a 3rd gear corner.

"The exit out of the second Lesmo is important because of the long straight that goes through the Curva del Seraglio and leads to the Ascari chicane.

"You then drive through this long, very narrow straight, and you go under the bridge which carries the old banked circuit. At the end of this straight you reach 335km/h in sixth gear before you break hard for the Ascari chicane, dropping to third gear and turning left to take the first part of the chicane at 140km/h. You then turn right for the second at 180km/h, before quickly turning left again as you come out of this chicane. The Variante Ascari is the fastest chicane of the Monza circuit. You must get it right at Ascari, because it's a sequence of corners left, right and left, and if you get the first or second one wrong then you have a bad exit and you don't have the speed on the next straight. Then you just try to get on the gas. It depends very much on the front end of the car, because you don't want too much understeer.

"Thus, you need to come as quickly as possible out of Ascari and drive over the kerbs and use all the road to carry the revs with you for another long straight that leads down to the Parabolica. At the end of this straight you reach 340km/h before entering this very long Parabolica corner, the minimum speed of which is just under 160km/h.

"The Parabolica, one of the nicest corners on the Monza circuit, is a right hand corner which opens up as you go through. It is fast, very long and very important, because it ends and starts the lap. You brake much later than 100m, and you go through in third or fourth gear, depending on the ratios. You have to balance the car by playing with the throttle and your exit must be good enough to get the power down as early as possible, the same as with many other areas of the circuit. You have very low downforce, so you're either going to have oversteer or understeer there. It's probably the most important corner and a good exit is therefore imperative to carry good speed back onto the long pit straight."



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