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!”
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.