September 12, 2011

2011 Italian GP: the Michael and Lewis show.

It was an exciting race...for three laps, then it became an interesting race to fill the rest of the podium.

It would have been an even shorter race for first had Alonso not managed to shoot around everyone, driving his Ferrari on the grass from fourth place on the grid to first at the end of the straight. The tifosi's roar could be heard over the field of 24 screaming Formula 1 cars.
Liuzzi tried the same move, over precisely the same patch of grass and quickly ran out of talent and taking out Rosberg and Petrov and giving herr Maylander a few laps in the big SLS safety car.

That mess just delayed the inevitable for one lap. On lap three, Vettel put in a spectacular move on Alonso and from then on, he was gone. Pole, win and fast lap, complete domination.

Two lingering questions have been answered this week end: of course Vettel can race and yes Schumacher still has a place in Formula 1. Vettel's pass on the Ferrari at 200 mph with two wheels in the dirt has to be one of the moves of the year and the fight between "Grandpa" Michael and Hamilton was just great fun to watch.

Well, probably not if you are a big Hamilton fan as Lewis was the big loser today (along with Mark Webber).
Lewis has to be seething, he could not not get free of Schumacher despite the Mclaren being clearly the second best car in the field. After Spa Lewis made such a big deal about passing Alonso on the outside, he must have freaked when Schumacher re- passed him on the outside on the Curva Grande. In a post race interview Lewis certainly smirked enough to make it clear that he was saying one thing but thinking another when asked about the Schumacher duel. Probably a good thing, looking at the onboards, Schumi's supposed weaving does not look as extreme and the fact remains that Jenson Button was able to dispatch the German in less than half a lap.

However you feel about the fight between Hammy and Schumi, It was great to see some sustained hard racing for a change.

(photo: Steve Etherington/LAT Photographic/ agpc)

Vettel is obviously World Champion, but it's great to see he will not go all Prost on us and be content to cruise for the rest of the season, I'm positive he would not be happy to clinch the championship with anything less than a win.

Another great race by Jenson Button who is really the man at Mclaren right now, fantastic pass on Schumacher , had to laugh when I heard him say he closed his eyes and went for it. Fernando Alonso managed a third which is good for second place in the championship over Button, Webber and Hamilton, not bad considering the Ferrari is certainly the third best car on the grid.

Pos Driver Team Time

1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h20:46.172
2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 9.590
3. Alonso Ferrari + 16.909
4. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 17.471
5. Schumacher Mercedes + 32.677
6. Massa Ferrari + 42.993
7. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
9. Senna Renault + 1 lap
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
14. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
15. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps

Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1:26.187

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap

Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 40
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 34
Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 23
Sutil Force India-Mercedes 11
Webber Red Bull-Renault 6
D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 3
Petrov Renault 1
Rosberg Mercedes 1
Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1

World Championship standings, round 13:

Drivers: Constructors:

1. Vettel 284 1. Red Bull-Renault 451
2. Alonso 172 2. McLaren-Mercedes 325
3. Webber 167 3. Ferrari 254
4. Button 167 4. Mercedes 108
5. Hamilton 158 5. Renault 70
6. Massa 82 6. Force India-Mercedes 36
7. Rosberg 56 7. Sauber-Ferrari 35
8. Schumacher 52 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 29
9. Petrov 34 9. Williams-Cosworth 5
10. Heidfeld 34
11. Kobayashi 27
12. Sutil 24
13. Alguersuari 16
14. Buemi 13
15. Di Resta 12
16. Perez 8
17. Barrichello 4
18. Senna 2
19. Maldonado 1



  1. Vettel didn't capture fastest lap - Hamilton did with Button, I believe, having 2nd fastest lap; both toward the end of the race, natch.

  2. Hamilton was pretty cautious after all the recent incidents. If he had done what Button did and "closed his eyes and gone for it" and not pulled it of he would have been hammered. Button got a luckly break.
    Vettel logged an offical complaint against Alonso after the race for the push on the grass so will be interesting to see what happens with that. Not sure Vettel would have pulled of that pass against a McLaren (Ferrari slow to get their tyres up to temperature).
    Hamilton is obviously trying to clean things up a bit (his driving and talking).

  3. Well technically Ferrari is not the third best car. Theyre the Third best team and hence the 5th best car at best. That makes that podium a teeny weeny bit more special. nevertheless I'm so glad that my support for schumi is getting duly justified!! nice article axis!

  4. Watching the Italian GP I got a bit disturbed about the comment Hamilton made over the board radio. Hammi was trying to overtake Schumacher but Shummie blocked Hamilton entering the first Lesmo and then had to go back to the racing line for the simple fact just to make it through the corner and not go off the track

    Hami complained about shummie changing twice from the racing line against his team hoping the FIA would paniltylize Schumacher.

    Hamilton being such a talented racing driver has really no need to complain,just RACE!



  5. When you block on the inside, you don't have the unfettered luxury of going back to the outside for the racing line. As Mercedes repeatedly warned Schumi over the radio, when he goes back out to the racing line, he has to leave enough room for a car to fit or risk a penalty.

    Which he did... all props the Michael for a great show in tactical defense. If Hamilton had made it back up to a podium place, maybe he would have been happier about that scrap, but as he didn't, he wasn't.

    Button is more and more making the team his own. Simply because he doesn't mess up. He's en route to overtaking Alonso for second in the championship. Shocking... as Lewis clearly has the better pace and has shown the ability to conserve tires as well as Button when the situation requires... but Button's racecraft is incredibly polished compared to Lewis's.

    What more can be said about Fernando Alonso? Them man's ability to punt an uncompetitive car up into the stratosphere is beyond reproach. Hell, that's what won him two championships with Renault.

    But Vettel... that gutsy move on the outside... who says the boy can't overtake? He's fast, he's motivated, and he seems to truly enjoy racing. There are no more doubts that we're seeing another Schumacher-esque era in the making... but without the dirty driving. :D

  6. It was interesting to see Weber go into the wall after the straight.... I guess those front wings actually do something :p
    But seriously, I'm surprised he went as fast as he did with a damaged car.

  7. Derek Daly would have punished Schumacher if he had been given the opportunity.


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