Italian GP, Monza – Legends drive

The race delivered what we were expecting, a crashing start, great battles, some excellent over-taking moves, retirements and what not. The Italian GP marked an end to the European leg of the season and it was a befitting end. Vettel started from pole yet again and finished the race as the winner with Button at P2 and Alonso at P3 giving some cheer for the tifosi’s. The weather remained dry throughout the weekend which was good to see after so many rain affected races.

Here is the detailed report of the whole weekend:

A dry and hot weather welcomed the teams and drivers to Monza. There was not much to talk about during the session as all went smoothly for the teams, there were some spins and stops but it was relatively uneventful session. Hamilton ended at P1 at the end of the session with his team-mate behind at P2 and Vettel at P3. Force India as expected looked good from the onset with Sutil ending at P5 and Hulkenberg at P12. Chandhok got another chance in his Team Lotus car, his first dry run where he ended at P20.

The hot and humid weather continued as the teams and drivers too continued with there programs and set-up. Another uneventful session for the teams as they got enough data’s for qualifying and race. Vettel piped Hamilton to end as the front runner by the end of the session with Schumacher behind them. Force India had a decent outing as Sutil ended at P12 and Di Resta at P13, however both felt the pace was a bit down.

A new day but the weather remained hot. All the Friday’s data must have been analyzed and improvements would have been duly made. Vettel continued his last practice performance ending at P1 with his team-mate Webber behind him and Massa at P3. Force India looked good and strong, with Sutil ending at P9 and Di Resta P10, they were hoping to make it to Q3 in qualifying.

Assessing the practice session, I think Force India had a good chance to make it to Q3, if not both the cars atleast one could have. They were a bit off pace but were still looking good. As for the top battles, Red Bull once again dominated (the circuit where they haven’t fared well) and were set to snatch the pole position again.

It was fairly a smooth start to the first session of the qualifying. The teams venturing out to secure there places in the Top 17 in order to get to Q2. It’s an easy task for the top teams, a bit tough for the mid-field and very tough for the back teams. Hamilton ended the session at P1. Both the Force Indian made it to Q2 easily. Alguersuari and the rest of the new team’s drivers bowed out of the session. Though all made it under the 107% time and were safe to race.

The second session of the qualifying is always a tricky one for the mid-field teams and the lower top field with all eyeing for the spot between P5-P10 in order to get through to Q3. Vettel sprung back to the top as the RBR was looking strong. Unfortunately, both the Force Indian bowed out of the session. Di Resta was very close to making it to Q3 but a late surge from Senna knocked him out of Q3, thus he ended at P11 ahead of his team- mate Sutil at P12.

The top five in CC reached the final leg of qualifying. Ferrari were the first to come out and use the advantage of slipstream with Massa leading and Alonso behind him. But nothing could stop the mighty Vettel (who had a clear half a second gap to Hamilton) and Red Bull, yes for the 13th time Red Bull snatched the pole position, this time it was Vettel at pole with Hamilton at P2 and his team-mate Button at P3. Home team Ferrari managed P4 (Alonso) & Massa (P6). Only Senna didn’t set anytime.

Well, after the qualifying it was evident that Red Bull is just unbeatable, they overcame all odds and qualified at P1 on a circuit which doesn’t suit their car normally. As for Force India, they had a decent qualifying. Though I expected one car to be in Q3 but nevertheless the competition was too much and P11 & P12 is all they could have got, points were surely possible.

Wasn’t the start we all fans were waiting for? Ok, this was a bit too much but deep inside we were missing those mayhem starts. As the race began, we saw one the HRT of Daniel stalled at the grid while the other one of Liuzzi trying to get up the field, he even got up but then lost control as he was pushed to the grass and slid across the grass and rammed into the cars of Rosberg and Petrov, resulting in DNF’s for all of them. Rubens got stuck in this melee, as was Kobayashi, while the others managed to get away with perhaps little damage. Safety Car was out straightaway. In all this we forgot the start which Alonso got, squeezed Hamilton & Vettel to get ahead but he couldn’t hold for long as Vettel overtook him just after SC came in, in one of a superb and aggressive moves.

Behind them the battle between the legends Schumacher, Hamilton, Button raged on and they closed him to Alonso pretty soon. It was absolute a treat to watch them battle so fiercely yet no mistakes. Button took the advantage and took both his team-mate Hamilton & Schumi in one move, later on Hamilton overtook Schumi as well. As for Force India, Di Resta was saved by cutting through a chicane in the first corner melee, and got to P8 position while Sutil had some problems in getting away from the mess, perhaps damaged some parts of his car and soon he had to stall and retire (his only 2nd DNF), later it was said it was a power steering problem.

Meanwhile, Vettel started to get away from the field as Button was too far back to get close to him. The biggest gainer we could see was Alguersuari who was doing a pretty good job. The race went smoothly since the mid-laps with some good overtaking moves and curtailed racing. By the end, it was clear that Vettel will get another win under his belt and stretch his lead to that position where it will be impossible for him to loose the title. Button finished behind him, another P2 for him and behind him with some cheer for tifosi fans Alonso at P3. Di Resta brought home his Force India car at P8, 4 vital points ahead of a challenging Senna. Paul had a tough race to deal with but he hung on. There were 8 DNF’s, most this season and one Not Classified that of Ricciardo.

Italian GP, marked the end of the European leg of the season. The last part will have 5 Asian races, including the Indian GP and the last race being held in Brazil. Red Bull certainly will wrap up the Constructor’s Championship pretty soon and the Driver’s Championship too as it all Vettel’s now. As for Force India, with the 4 points they get ahead of Sauber by one point in the CC (Sauber’s double DNF’s helped as well). I hope they hang on to the P6 position but surely it will be tough for the team as both Sauber & STR are looking strong. Next up will be the only night race in the calendar, yes it’s the Singapore GP..!!

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