Vettel Wins on Ferrari Home Turf!

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Updated: September 8, 2013

Vettel has cruised to another crushing victory at Monza, his 6th of the season. Alonso finished 2nd and Webber took 3rd.

Once again qualifying was an exciting affair in itself, with Hamilton and Raikkonen missing out on Q3 by the smallest of margins. Hulkenberg put in a marvellous time to put himself 3rd on the grid for the race. Both McLarens and both Toro Rossos also managed to make it through. For the first time since Australia though it was a Red Bull front row lock out.

As the lights went out the Ferraris flew away. Nico Hulkenberg had a relatively poor start in his Sauber. The poor start blocked in Alonso which allowed Massa to get alongside Mark Webber. Into turn one Vettel locks a wheel defending from Felipe. Into the tight chicane there is a crunch and some carbon fibre goes skyward, but everyone more or less makes it through the chicane unscathed, albeit missing an end plate in someone’s case. One excepting is Sergio Perez. He has to take to the grass as he dives down the escape road but a different camera angle reveals he didn’t just out brake himself. Kimi Raikkonen misjudged the braking point and clattered into the back of the McLaren. This uncharacteristic mistake means that Kimi needs a new front wing.

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Heading up to the second chicane Paul Di Resta is sent careering across the run off area with his front left wheel bouncing around uselessly. Coming up to the corner he’s taken by surprise by the slow speed of the traffic, and despite his best efforts, he can’t help but lock up and plough into the back of Grosjean. The Lotus seems fine but Paul’s race

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is well and truly over. His races seem to be getting shorter and shorter as of late. At the end of the Lap Kimi Raikkonen peels of into the pits to change the front wing, his race is pretty much ruined.

Lap 3 and Alonso is right up behind Mark Webber. He’s alongside him through Curva Grande and it’s into the chicane he makes his move. Going round the outside through the first part Webber looks safe, but Alonso has the inside line through the second part and and makes light work of the Red Bull. It could have been better though, as Fernando takes the Red Bull’s end plate with him. Could that put Webber at a disadvantage?

Sebastian Vettel does what he does best, and continues to pull away from the rest of the pack, setting the fastest lap on the way. No smiles for Mercedes though, as they inform Hamilton that his radio no longer works. Looks like it’s back to good old fashioned pit boards for Lewis today. The mic issues don’t seem to be affecting Hamilton too much though, as he races Jenson Button down the main straight. Albeit for 10th place. Meanwhile it’s a bit of Red on Red up at the front, as Fernando sweeps past Felipe through turn 1 for 2nd place. Well Felipe was hardly going to put up much of a fight right? Still I would have like to see Massa hold on for a bit longer, especially considering this is only lap 8.

Nico Hulkenberg is quite impressively still in 5th place, I felt for sure that he’d be overtaken by now. Either way he’s definitely showing his stuff to the big boys, especially Ferrari. Though he has got to worry about the other Nico, who is slowly but surely catching him. Disaster for Hamilton! For whatever reason he has a slow puncture, and because he can’t hear his team he cruises straight past the pitlane. He eventually figures out something is up, and comes into the pits. The Mercedes guys have a rather ‘low tech’ way of communicating with Lewis. One of the engineers holds up a board with a command written on it in what can only be described as a felt tip pen. It’s an instruction on how to solve the communication problem. Whether it works remains to be seen.

Lap 14 and Webber and Massa are vying for position, Massa needs a good result for the sake of his career, and Webber has never been on the podium in Italy before. A few laps later and Jean-Eric Vergne parks his Toro Rosso at the side of the track. It was going so well for the Frenchman, but that tell tale puff of smoke out the back of the car showed the engine was about to give up the ghost. This season is reminding me of the bad old days of engine failures, when they used to explode in huge plumes of smoke. After their respective pit stops Hamilton and Raikkonen are embroiled in a mini battle. It’s a shame it’s for practically last position.

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On lap 19 Nico Hulkenberg gets a message all racing drivers love to hear. ‘kill the tyres, push like hell’ Clearly he is going to pit soon, so he may as well open up a bit more of a gap to Rosberg before then. On lap 24 the Tifosi get what they love to see, a Ferrari 1-2. It won’t last, but they can enjoy it for the time being. Sure enough Massa pits in and the Ferrari guys are slightly slow than the Red Bull guys. That brings Webber out in front. A few laps later Hamilton passes his team mate. Unfortunately Hamilton is 2 stopping, so it’s a pretty temporary move. Shortly afterwards Hamilton passes Hulkenberg, I guess Hamilton is climbing as far up as he can before he has to pit.

At this point Vettel is over 10 seconds ahead, but Alonso is catching him. Though only just. Hamilton is throwing himself into the mix as well, as he gains considerable ground on Massa. It’s looking like Rosberg is going to pass Hulkenberg for 5th place, until Rosberg locks up the front tyres and has to use the escape road. Hulkenberg will be breathing a sigh of relief after that. It’s Hamilton’s time to pit in, but because he can’t hear the team, he gets all confused at sets the fastest lap of the race instead. Eventually he does pit and comes out a lowly 14th, what a disappointing weekend for him.

Could Red Bull have issues? Both Vettel and Webber are told to short shift the lower gears. Hard to say if that is a gearbox problem or just saving fuel. A couple of late race battles going on at them moment, but they’re all for low positions. Grosjean is in the midst of most of those battles though. He seems to be on a charge, and in the space of just a few laps gets past both McLarens to secure 8th place. Lewis Hamilton is another man on a mission. He disposes of Raikkonen through Curva Grande, and soon after makes short work of Sergio Perez, and Jenson Button. This day is turning into a day to forget for McLaren. Hamilton attempts one final move on Grosjean, but decides to settle for 9th instead.

Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel wins the Italian Grand Prix for the 3rd time in his career. This place really is special to him, as he secured his first ever win here, back in 2008. Fernando takes 2nd place and Mark finishes a somewhat close 3rd. My driver of the day though Nico Hulkenberg, manages to hold on and get his car home to 5th. A much needed respite for the struggling team.

Results as follows:

  1. Sebastian Vettel-Red Bull
  2. Fernando Alonso-Ferrari
  3. Mark Webber-Red Bull
  4. Felipe Massa-Ferrari
  5. Nico Hulkenberg-Sauber
  6. Nico Rosberg-Mercedes
  7. Daniel Ricciardo-Toro Rosso
  8. Romain Grosjean-Lotus
  9. Lewis Hamilton-Mercedes
  10. Jenson Button-McLaren
  11. Kimi Raikkonen-Lotus
  12. Sergio Perez-McLaren
  13. Esteban Gutierrez-Sauber
  14. Pastor Maldonado-Williams
  15. Valtteri Bottas-Williams
  16. Adrian Sutil-Force India
  17. Charles Pic-Caterham
  18. Giedo van der Garde-Caterham
  19. Jules Bianchi-Marussia
  20. Max Chilton-Marussia
  21. Jean-Eric Vergne-Toro Rosso-Engine Failure
  22. Paul Di Resta-Force India-Collision

F1 article by Harry Wright

Some handsome fellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter-@hazzwright

 

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