Fernando Alonso took victory as a Ferrari driver on his first Italian GP with the marque. He held 2nd place for most of the race behind Jenson Button who he passed late on in a pitlane strategic manoeuvre meaning the current world champion had to settle for 2nd.
Felipe Massa was 3rd.
Button had the choice of starts from the front, and got ahead of an ailing Fernando Alonso through the first few corners. There was no love lost between Alonso and Massa who banged wheels until the second chicane when Alonso fought in front to chase Button down.
At that second chicane, Lewis Hamilton tried to slide down the inside of Massa but hit the Brazilian’s sidepod and broke his steering, putting him out of the race just a handful of corners in. Not a weekend to remember for the ’08 champion.
The only consolation prize for Hamilton was that title rival Mark Webber had been shuffled back down to 9th place as others, including his team mate Sebastian Vettel managed to get around him.
The top 3 cars pulled well away from Nico Rosberg in third who cruised around for majority of the race unharmed in his Mercedes. However he would eventually drop down to 5th, as Vettel who had struggled with brake problems and seemingly let his team mate round would gain 4th by staying out for 52 of the 53 laps on the same set of tyres.
Alonso chased Button down for most of the race until lap 35 when the British driver blinked and pitted for tyres, while Alonso stayed out on extra lap to do a quick one on the old heavily worn soft Bridgestones. Button’s stop was 4.2 seconds. Alonso pitted at the end of a quick lap, his stop was less and he drag raced Button out of the pitlane, just managing to stay ahead.
He would hold that position until the end of the race scoring a win for Ferarri at home in his first season. Button and Massa both picked up vital points, but Alonso is now right back into the thick of the championship action thanks to Mark Webber’s low finish and Hamilton’s DNF.
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 + 1:04.213 11. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:05.056 12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes + 1:06.106 13. Petrov Renault + 1:18.919 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 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 47 Senna HRT-Cosworth 12 Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1
Fernando Alonso has described the Italian Grand Prix as a critical race to gain a result from for both himself and for the Ferrari team.
The Italian race, held at Monza is Ferrari’s home Grand Prix. It will be Alonso’s first in Ferrari red and he wants the home tifosi fans to have something to shout about.
He is lagging behind in the championship standaings after his DNF at last weekends Belgian Grand Prix where he suffered a string of different problems before eventually crashing his Ferrari out of the race in the rainy conditions.
“There is no denying that the Monza race will be very important,” he wrote in his blog for the Ferrari website.
“At our home circuit we will have to do everything to avoid losing any more points: a good result here would be a great boost. If things go badly, it won’t be over but it would be a hard knock for team morale.”
He is adamant that all is not yet lost for Ferrari this season and that a change of luck could make a massive difference.
“I have always said – and I repeat it now – that in the course of the season, good luck and bad luck tend to balance one another out, so let’s hope that from now on it’s payback time,” said Alonso.
“The first ‘final’ went badly, but there are still six to go. Going into these seven races, I had said that whoever did the best job in them would take the title: clearly, there are now three of us who need to make up for ground lost in Spa.
“With this points system and the way races swing one way or another, I am convinced we still have a significant chance. There are 150 points up for grabs, enough to turn the situation around. We must remain calm and concentrate, to try and make up the difference as soon as possible.”
Adrian Sutil topped the times in session 2 of practice at Monza, while the championship top buys lost their way down to the bottom of the timesheets.
Giancarlo Fisichella “did a Badoer” and found himself languishing in last place.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:23.924 28 2. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:24.163 + 0.239 31 3. Alonso Renault (B) 1:24.297 + 0.373 35 4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:24.482 + 0.558 41 5. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:24.622 + 0.698 40 6. Glock Toyota (B) 1:24.634 + 0.710 36 7. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:24.693 + 0.769 34 8. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:24.796 + 0.872 39 9. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:24.799 + 0.875 36 10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:24.884 + 0.960 44 11. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:24.902 + 0.978 32 12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:24.921 + 0.997 39 13. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:24.967 + 1.043 40 14. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:24.979 + 1.055 25 15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:25.003 + 1.079 34 16. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:25.140 + 1.216 35 17. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:25.215 + 1.291 38 18. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:25.386 + 1.462 27 19. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:25.424 + 1.500 32 20. Fisichella Ferrari (B) 1:25.543 + 1.619 36
The Italian capital city of Rome is said to be considering a bid for an F1 race.
Former racing driver Maurizio Flammini had the idea for a street race around the classic city in 1984, but after having previous hopes dashed he has once again proposed it to the mayor. The mayor appars keen on the idea, and plans for the route of the new course and said to be in the process of being drawn up.
“It’s an idea Flammini has proposed and mayor Gianni Alemanno has said it is possible,” a city council spokesman told Reuters.
Rome was visited by the Renault F1 roadshow in 2006, where the R26 was demonstrated by Giancarlo Fisichella, himself a local Roman and Franck Montagny.
The Italian GP currently takes place at the historic circuit of Monza, so it is unlikely to take the Italian GP away from that much loved circuit. However, with the Italian’s loving F1, and with the San Marino GP not in place at the moment it could do a title swap, or even take Valencia’s role as a European GP. How about the Mediterranean GP?!
2011 is the target date, but whether it happens is yet to be seen.
Many F1 drivers have become increasingly outspoken about their distaste for Lewis Hamilton’s on track attacks and agression after a spate of incidents in last weekend’s race at Monza.
Hamilton defended and attacked too harshly on more than one occassion. The first being when he overtook Timo Glock, but when the Toyota driver tried to come back at Hamilton, Lewis forced him off the rod and onto the grass, very dangerous given the seriously bad weather conditions.
The second incident was worse, going down the main straight he was neck and neck trying to overtake Mark Webber, Hamilton got just ahead, the Australian tried to go down the left-hand side bu the McLaren driver bumped straight into him. At this incident he cannot blame the spray as the weather was better. It forced Webber off track, and put him off having another go incase Lewis ended his race.
Fernando Alonso, Hamilton’s former team mate commented to Spanish television: “There was some unnecessary movements he made, and he repeated them with Glock and Webber. It is his way of racing.”
Timo Glock was much more angry, and threatened Hamilton with a taste of his own medicine.
“I do not know what he was thinking. I was right next to him but he left me no room. Sometimes he drives as though he is completely alone on the track,” the German told RTL.
“The next time I am with him (on track), I will behave with him in exactly the same way,” Glock promised.
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.
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.
The Santander Italian Grand Prix;
Autodromo D’Monza, Italia;
Weather: Heavy Rain, turning light then damp track.
|1||S. Vettel||Toro Rosso||1.26.47.000|
|3||R. Kubica||BMW Sauber||+20.471|
|5||N. Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+27.748|
|8||M. Webber||Red Bull||+32.048|
|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
|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.”
Adrian Sutil took Force India to the top of the timesheets in FP1 at Monza, which was pretty much deemed pointless thanks to heavy persistent rain fall.
Many drivers didn’t even bother setting a time, and those that did admitted they were not competitive. Felipe Massa pushed hard in the Ferrari to find its limits claiming he wasn’t interested in an overall time.