F1 News, Views and Reviews

Vettel Takes Maiden Victory At Monza

Sebastian Vettel has taken his first ever win at Monza this afternoon.  The 21 year old from Germany takes the record as the youngest ever grand prix winner (previously Alonso), and also makes Toro Rosso’s first ever win.

Race Review

The race started under the safety car as conditions were very wet, and the FIA wanted the drivers to have a “taster” of the circuit before they went racing.  Sebastien Bourdais luck was out before he started, the Toro Rosso wouldn’t go anywhere, and being under safety car there is no formation lap and he had to be wheeled to the pits to try and get him started.

In the beginning everyone was ambling around, but when the safety car came in it all kicked off.  Vettel was tenths of a second faster on every lap than anyone else, he showed great courage and probably luck in the fact he had no spray to deal with!

Further back drivers were trading places, but everyone was paranoid about driving over chicanes after “Chicane gate”.  Massa had to give a place back, as did many others.

Lewis Hamilton pushed his way through the field, passing Raikkonen like he was stood still despite having much more fuel than the Finn.

Both he and Raikkonen had previously dispatched Giancarlo Fisichella, but when the Italian tried to defend against David Coulthard he knocked his nosecone.  coming down to the parabolica, Fisichella’s nose completely disintegrated and he went straight into the barriers.

Hamilton was going fast still while most of the other drivers were struggling to make overtakes stick. The track was growing drier and drier, and while most made a stop and put Extreme wets on, Hamilton continued and stopped on lap 27, a clear 1 stop strategy.  Intellegence was coming frmo the radars that rain was coming so Hamilton put extreme wets on his car, it would prove to be a mistake.

No rain was coming, and the track was getting drier all the time.  David Coulthard then Fernando Alonso came in and gambled on the wets.  It worked for Alonso who was lapping well faster than everyone else.  Felipe Massa changed too at his scheduled stop, as did most of the rest of the field.  Robert Kubica’s stop was perfectly timed to take the intermediate tyres, and this paid dividends turning a quite race into a podium finish.

This meant that Hamilton was losing time on the wrong tyres, and his strategy of 1 stop was thrown out of the window as McLaren acknowledged his need to change to inermediates.  He did so, but ruined his chances of winning.  Webber was catching Hamilton very easily as the Brit wasn’t getting them up to temperature.  Webber tried to outbrake Hamilton round the outside into the first chicane, but Hamilton bumped wheels with the Australian forcing him across the grass.

From there, Massa kept Hamilton behind easily, it never really looked like the McLaren would gain enough advantage to pass.

Towards the end there was more incident.  Jenson Button crossed the chicane into turn 1 and clean scraped the side of Nelson Piquet, not really sure what was going on but there was carbon fibre all over the place.  A lap later Piquet would powerslide his Renault across the grass, just a couple of incidents the driver had there.

Kimi Raikkonen came right through, passing laods of people and getting the fastest lap time, bringing it down 4 times in a row, this will anger many Ferrari fans who will be left feeling “why didn’t he do it sooner?” once again, 3 races in a row without points for the Finn.

Rubens Barrichello pitted late to put extreme wets on, but it was a stupid gamble as no rain ever came.  Late stops for Intermediates from Toyota and Williams drivers left them nowhere near any points.


Classified Results:

The Santander Italian Grand Prix;

Autodromo D’Monza, Italia;

53 Laps;

Weather: Heavy Rain, turning light then damp track.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 S. Vettel Toro Rosso
2 H. Kovalainen McLaren +12.512
3 R. Kubica BMW Sauber +20.471
4 F. Alonso Renault +23.903
5 N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber +27.748
6 F. Massa Ferrari +28.816
7 L. Hamilton McLaren +29.012
8 M. Webber Red Bull +32.048
9 K. Raikkonen Ferrari +39.468
10 N. Piquet Renault +54.445
11 T. Glock Toyota +58.888
12 K. Nakajima Williams +1.02.015
13 J. Trulli Toyota +1.05.954
14 N. Rosberg Williams +1.08.635
15 J. Button Honda +1.13.370
16 D. Coulthard Red Bull +1 lap
17 R. Barrichello Honda +1 lap
18 S. Bourdais Toro Rosso +1 lap
19 A. Sutil Force India +2 laps

Fastest Lap: K. Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1.28.047


Driver Team Lap Reason
G. Fisichella Force India 12 Crash


Interview with the race winner:

“It’s Unbelievable,” said Vettel.

“The whole race we had no problems, the car was working really fine. I had a fantastic race, a really good strategy but all that was gone when I crossed the chequered flag, and the lap back to the pits all the podium ceremony was unbelievable.

“For sure this is the best day of my life, these emotions I will never forget, it is so much better than you might think it is.

“I can just say a big big thank you to the guys in the team, they did a fantastic job, who would have thought it at the start of the season, in these conditions we can do a bit more. It is fantastic, I am speechless.”

“Looking back, being first and having no visibility problems was the key,” he added. “I could make a good, solid gap to Heikki straight away and then I was pushing very hard, sometimes I went over the limit and it got hard.

“I think it got more tricky in the middle of the race as there was no standing water any more. People were going left and right to cool down the tyres, it was very, very slippery, in the last stint.

“A perfect weekend, pole position, race win. I don’t know what to say.”

“All the people might be used to hearing the Italian national anthem but for Scuderia Ferrari.  It is a special day and for all the team they won’t forget this day as long as I won’t.”

“I have seen every angle of the grid now. It is difficult when you start from the back. Now we can be proud of ourselves. Celebrating our victory is great, putting these words together sounds unbelievable.

“The mentality has changed, the atmosphere is fantastic. When I jumped into the car before the race they said: ‘Now destroy them’.

“I was pushing like hell, they were looking forward, in that sense you could say we had the balls to do it today.

“Compared to BMW or McLaren or Ferrari, we have not that amount of manpower at the factory, we have about 160 people working at Faenza and they can feel very special. I am one of them we are one team and I feel extremely happy.”


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