This year’s Italian GP ended up being a fairytale for Ferrari fans, who accounts for probably about 80% or more of the spectators that come to the track over the weekend. They got what they came for, a Ferrari win and double podium and as a bonus, they achieved it without any shady tactics being deployed, which I’m glad about.
The start of the race was exciting and eventful as always. Jenson got a great start to jump Alonso, just edging him into the second turn. He did receive some damage from Fernando’s nose cone in his rear wing which caused some pretty big damage which may have compromised his race pace. Massa was in third, while Lewis Hamilton was right on his tail coming into the second chicane. He made a mistake however and broke a steering column on his front right wheel that took him out of the race. This was a massive error which cost him serious points and his lead in the championship. With 5 races to go, it will be interesting to see how crucial that error will prove at the end of the season.
The battle at the front was really a two horse race right from the beginning to the end, with Massa not quite able to keep up the pace. The win seemingly came down to the pit stop phase when McLaren pitted button first because they were worried about the pace of Kubica on the harder tire. However, Ferrari were able to wait until the lap after to pit and had a fast enough in-lap to jump Button barely when Fernando emerged from the pit lane.
Button must have felt that if the team had somehow managed to pit on the same lap as Ferrari, then he would have been able to keep Alonso behind him and take the win, because in true race pace the Ferrari was clearly faster. The damage Button’s car suffered at the first corner may have added to the performance gap as well.
Further down the grid, it was a case of damage limitation for Red Bull. Vettel will be very happy with 4th after starting 6th especially with a short lived engine issue that cost him time. Webber started 4th and finished 6th and will be less happy after being cost the 4th place by Hulkenberg who continually cut the chicanes and didn’t get penalised for it. When he did get past, it was too late as Rosberg and Vettel were too far ahead. Singapore should suit their car though so both drivers will be feeling upbeat about that race. Especially Mark as he goes there leading the championship by 3 points over Hamilton.
Mercedes had a solid race with 5th for Rosberg who qualified 7th and Schumacher who qualified 12th and converted that into 9th. Williams also had another solid race, even if Hulkenberg’s 7th was a bit controversial. Barichello maintained his grid slot to finish with a point in 10th.
Force India will be disappointed following their success at Monza last year, as will Renault who could only manage 7th with Kubica. Sauber also had a race to forget with Kobayashi retiring on the first lap and no points for De La Rosa who has now been replaced by Nick Heidfeld. It’s a harsh decision I think but Nick has experience with the tires for next year so he may have an advantage at the start of next season if he maintains this drive.
At the back of the grid, Virgin overcame Glock’s 5 place penalty for a gearbox change to finish ahead of Lotus in what would be considered a small victory for them.
The Singapore GP weekend starts in about 8 days time. It’s always an incredible spectacle and it should be an exciting race.