September 12, 2010

Matador! Alonso and Ferrari Dominate Monza.

Race win, pole and fast lap: Fernando Alonso showed why he gets paid the big bucks this week end but if anyone had any doubts about Formula being a team sport, today's race should change your mind.

Ferrari had the measure of Mclaren on speed but it was strategy that played the key role. Alonso and his engineers did well to bide their time, pressuring Button but saving tires just enough for a quick in lap. On lap 37 Ferrari's crew made what has to be the pit stop of the year, 8/10th faster than Mclaren's one lap earlier, allowing Fernando to come out just ahead of Jenson.

Over at Red Bull, Vettel's crew gambled on what seems like an insane strategy gamble, going 52 of 53 laps on the soft tires. It worked.

Now team orders, many wondered why teams fight for every single point, Alonso who seemed to be out of the running for the championship after Spa is now third, one point ahead of Jenson Button. Red Bull probably used team orders today and ended up salvaging precious championship points for Webber who had a lousy start, 4th to 9th on the first lap.

Yesterday we wondered if Lewis Hamilton would choose to defend his championship lead or try to win it on the first lap. Ironically, interviewed before the race in a segment about Sebastian Vettel's supposed immaturity, he opined the German is still young and has some learning to do before he can be champion... I'll leave it at that.

The Italian Grand Prix
Autodromo di Monza, Italy;
53 laps; 306.720km;
Weather: Sunny.


Pos Driver Team Time
1. Alonso Ferrari 1h16:24.572
2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 2.938
3. Massa Ferrari + 4.223
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 28.193
5. Rosberg Mercedes + 29.942
6. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 31.276
7. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth + 32.812
8. Kubica Renault + 34.028
9. Schumacher Mercedes + 44.948
10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:04.200
11. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:05.00
12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes + 1:06.100
13. Petrov Renault + 1:18.900
14. De la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
17. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
18. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 2 laps
19. Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
20. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps

Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:24.139

World Championship standings, round 14:

Drivers: Constructors:

1. Webber 187 1. Red Bull-Renault 350
2. Hamilton 182 2. McLaren-Mercedes 347
3. Alonso 166 3. Ferrari 290
4. Button 165 4. Mercedes 158
5. Vettel 163 5. Renault 127
6. Massa 124 6. Force India-Mercedes 58
7. Rosberg 112 7. Williams-Cosworth 47
8. Kubica 108 8. Sauber-Ferrari 27
9. Schumacher 46 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 10
10. Sutil 45
11. Barrichello 31
12. Kobayashi 21
13. Petrov 19
14. Hulkenberg 16
15. Liuzzi 13
16. Buemi 7
17. De la Rosa 6
18. Alguersuari 3


  1. It was a good race - good win for Ferrari to help knock Hamilton off his duff. Regarding Vettel's call into the pits about engine problems - could that have been some sort of smoke screen for Webber to pass?

    Also, this race really made the second tier teams look bad. Every time they got to the first chicane or second it seemed like either HRT or Hulkenburg had to cut it to get through without crashing.

  2. I think Hamilton's been spending too much time playing Playstation.

    @Murph, if Vettel passing Webber was pre-orchestrated, it was very well executed, and a miracle he agreed to it.

  3. I think it was pre-orchestrated or at least discussed prior to the race. After Vettel reported a weak engine he set his fastest lap.

    What threw a wrench in it was Hulkenburg for about 4 laps "defending" against Webber. He probably should have conceded that position after cutting the chicane 3 times - that was ridiculous I know you should fight for position but you have to be able to actually be on the same track as your competition.

  4. 'supposed immaturity'
    comon now. vettel has driven like a 22 year old this season.

  5. After watching the Vettel incident again I don't really think it was team orders. Shortly after the radio transmission and Webber's pass you see Vettel fiddling with the mixture knob on the steering wheel. I'm kinda thinking he might have had a bit of a lean mixture and it was heat soaking the lump in the back. If he turned the wick up on it to cool it he also would have gotten the side effect of more power, hence the improved time. If it was team orders though I agree with the leprechaun that Vettel's in the running for a BAFTA.

  6. Well the latest claim is that it actually was sticking brakes.... If you buy that. If it was team orders ( and this is just for fun, I have no issue if it was or was not) it didn't quite work out I guess because Webber could not get around Hulkenberg in time to take advantage of the new tires.

  7. Good on Vettel for executing such a ballsy strategy, but what I really don't understand is how Hulkenburg got away with biffing the chicane (2? 3?) several times within a few laps and not suffer a penalty of some sorts.

    Steve Matchett said you cannot "defend or gain a position" by cutting a corner. I don't know if thats verbatim from the sporting regs, but I was disappointed to see Webber held up. In the future, blowing the Variante del Rettifilo (T1/2) complex should result is more pain for the driver.


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