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Italian Grand Prix: David Tremayne: Red Bull do the damage

Three time Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year Award winner David Tremayne casts his eye back over the Italian Grand Prix at Monza…
In his latest exclusive feature on Crash.net, David Tremayne - three time Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year Award winner and multi-award winning F1 author - takes a look back over the Italian Grand Prix at Monza…

According to Sebastian Vettel, Adrian Newey went to Monza expecting that Red Bull would have to go into damage limitation mode on such a low-downforce track that has rarely suited his cars.

As he celebrated his fourth victory in the past six races, Vettel smirked and said, “I told him that if that's damage limitation, then I want damage on my car at every race!”

There was a lot of damage done at Monza, but it was Red Bull doing it.

Vettel and Webber battled for pole and locked out the front row. And but for the tightness of the first corner after the start and a slow exit from the first chicane on the third lap which enabled Fernando Alonso to squeeze spectacularly by him in the second chicane, slightly damaging the RB9's right front wing endplate in the process, the Australian should have completed his European F1 career by following his team leader home.

Ferrari again lacked Red Bull's pace and a cock-up with an attempted slipstreaming effort in Q3 ruined Alonso's qualifying effort and prompted him to say some rash things about his crew. But once again his feistiness proved decisive as he battled to second and then fended Webber off for the rest of the race. Felipe Massa looked strong, qualifying fourth and sprinting up to second for a while before fading to a decent points-scoring fourth, but with all the hoopla going on in Monza about Kimi Raikkonen it's highly likely the Brazilian won't be in red next year [NB: This feature was written prior to Massa's announcement that he was to leave Ferrari at the end of 2013].

Two stars in the Ferrari firmament might boost both in 2014, but it might also tear the team apart…

The good news for the Scuderia in the political hotbed of its homeland was that second and fourth places outscored Mercedes' sixth and ninth, pushing them back ahead of the silver arrows in the constructors' stakes by three points.

Mercedes just got it wrong again this weekend, though there were some mitigating factors. The revised low-downforce package worked better but Nico Rosberg lost valuable set-up time with an hydraulic issue in FP3, and thus didn't qualify brilliantly, while Hamilton damaged his W04's floor over a kerb and later admitted that he'd driven like “an idiot” after qualifying only twelfth due to an off on the exit to Parabolica on his first run in Q2.

As Rosberg got beaten by Nico Hulkenberg, Hamilton drove a blinder and should have finished much higher than his eventual ninth. But his right front Pirelli began to deflate after seven laps, and as everyone else bar Kimi Raikkonen got by with single stops, he had to make two. That screwed him completely.

That drive by Hulkenberg in the Sauber was a stunner but as somebody said, it was like having the 2012 car on the tyres it had last year (following Pirelli's recent revisions), so should it have been a surprise? The bit came because The Hulk was in all sorts of gearbox trouble on Friday, so he and the team got things turned around nicely by Q3 as he planted the C32 on the second row of the grid in third, behind the Red Bulls and ahead of the Ferraris.

Pretty impressive… as was his fifth place in Sauber's best run of the season.



by David Tremayne



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Podium: Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 (race winner), Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 (2nd position) and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9 (3rd position)
Podium: Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 (race winner), Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 (2nd position) and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9 (3rd position)
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 and Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director
08.09.2013- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9
Podium: Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 (race winner)
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 during pit stop
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 during pit stop

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Firestorm

September 11, 2013 9:33 AM

I must admit that Red Bull was incredible at Monza. Vettel controlled the race as Webber was faster than the two Ferraris even with a gearbox problem and damaged endplate. At the start of the season if someone would have tell me that Vettel will win at Monza with Webber on the podium as well, I would call him crazy. But that's the harsh reality. When Schumacher dominated back in 2001, 2002 or 2004 he had a race not suited particulary to his Ferrari, the Monaco circuit, which he won only in 2001 because polesitter Coulthard started from the pitlane after some problems with his car. Monza is mean to be the most difficult track for Red Bull, their impossible mission. They won it in 2011 as well but the RB7 was a dominating car. Does it mean that the RB9 has become a dominating car, after the summer break? Until now it looks so.



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