Italian GP 2012

Seven Moments of the Italian GP

1. Ferocious Ferrari

This is the sort of slicing through the grid some drivers can only dream of, Fernando Alonso again had a fantastic start a took on any driver who he found himself behind. Making up four places in a couple of laps, Schumacher held him up for five but by lap seven Alonso went from a disappointing P10 to a dangerous P5. Alonso’s start in tenth was a contentious one for the team when an attempt to use the slipstream advantage in Q3 worked for Massa first time around but not for Alonso in the second run. Luca de Montzemelo was visibly irked, but the under-pressure Brazilian had a great start himself on race day

Considering the dent that was made in his championship lead in Spa, Alonso’s gained almost all of it of those 40 points back. And with Massa now looking like he’s in the position to help, Alonso has left Europe as strong as he’s ever been.

2. All eyes on Perez

Perez has now cemented his status as the king of the rubber, it may not always go his way but when he’s on the bubble the young Mexican glides through the field with ease. Another one stop race in the bag where it went right. Sauber have made questionable strategy decisions before that have left their youngest driver with little to work with, and today’s wasn’t perfect. If Perez had kept Hamilton behind him for a couple more laps he may have closed his post pit stop gap, in the end he had to settle for another second place, but for a team on the comeback from the departure of BMW it’s a fantastic result.

Perez executed a terrific pass on Raikkonen on the outside of the Roggia chicane on lap 18, pushed had on his first set of tyres he stops on lap 29 and feeds back into P8. Then to drive the point home he does it again to Raikkonen on lap 37 around the second turn. On lap 44 the rumoured would-be Ferrari pilot overtook the rumoured soon-to-be-ex Ferrari driver Massa, a startling reminder as to how much this season is hurting the Brazilian’s chances of remaining in the sport. Then to hammer the point home the Mexican took on and won the battle with Alonso with seven laps to go, he chomped on the 15 second gap to Hamilton but could only get it down to an impressive 4.3 seconds. A bright future beckoned.

3.Telemetry, what telemetry?

Of late that little word has been making headlines, Hamilton tweeted an overlay from qualifying in Spa and this time it decided to go AWOL. Massa’s car was refusing to send anything back to the pitwall which left a lot of agitated Ferrari staffers running around the garage instead of scratching their heads on the pit wall. Starting around lap 18/19 it soon returned but it coincided with a slow in lap times from the Brazilian, but it was soon fixed to see him finish off the podium.

4.CC: Monza 2011

Thankfully we didn’t see a Luizzi style smash and grab on the start, but instead we saw Alonso attempt a Vettel with very different results. In 2011 Vettel went around the outside of Alonso at Curve Grande and gained position while bravely dipping his tyres onto the grass, lauded and praised he went on to win the race. Present day and Alonso does the same to Vettel at the same place but the Spaniard is squeezed off track and sent bumping over the grass.

“Okay, okay, I’ve had enough.” Was the radio transmission made by Alonso back to Ferrari and Vettel is handed a drive through penalty and effectively shoved off the podium. Cue ‘Ferrari International Assistance’ trending and calls of injustice, however Vettel left less than a cars width for Alonso and since the rule clarification since the Ferrari was ahead of Vettel’s rear wheel he was entitled to that space.

5. From top of the world to bottom of the pits

This pretty much summarises Button’s Sunday, hailed as ‘back in the game’ after a stunning race in Belgium he is all but out of the championship chase. Now 78 points adrift of Alonso he is looking less and less able to mount to serious campaign back to the top when his team mate is now occupying second place. Granted McLaren are looking triumphant and revitalised, but whether they are willing to share the wins is another matter, especially when Hamilton is courting attention from other members of the paddock. Stopping on lap 32 with a fuel issue he graciously waved to the crowds before disappearing into his garage.

6. The Monza blues

Many suffered from this, from Hulkenberg in qualifying when he couldn’t set a time, to a whole host of championship hopefuls on Sunday, nobody suffered no more than Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel stopped on lap 47 with a dodgy alternator he was offered an apology from Renault but it saw him slip down to an unfamiliar fourth. Mark Webber span after a one stop strategy didn’t suit his tyre degradation at Ascari, and with self-inflicted ‘square’ tyres he retired to avoid the risk of damaging the car and further incidents.

Life at Toro Rosso wasn’t much better, Jean-Eric Vergne lost the rear of his car under breaking into the first chicane on lap 9. Questions had been raised over the severity of the kerbs throughout the circuit, and when Vergne was launched into the air after hitting one he was lucky to stay the right way up. Daniel Ricciardo was looking set to scrape a point but was let down by his car on the last corner on the last lap, he tried to accelerate out of Parabolica but the car didn’t respond. Overtaken by Senna and Maldonado with a few hundred metres to go…ouch!

7. H.A.M.tastic!

Emulating Button’s performance from Spa, Hamilton led the charge from pole to flag, with a few laps spent behind Perez. Becoming the second driver of the season to secure three wins for himself Hamilton lands in second place as he leaves the shores of Europe for faraway lands. Has he signed for Mercedes? Who knows, but with McLaren on the up, if he has now is not the time to announce it.

Shh: Sneaky Kimi

The super cool Finn may not have taken his first win yet, but it seems more and more likely that he will. Jerome d’Ambrosio was standing in for the banned Romain Grosjean and was hoping to snatch his first points, but a KERS problem hampered any chance of that happening after qualifying in 15th. But now Raikkonen is third in the championship chase…

Awesome-O-Meter

Both the driver and constructor championships have been blown wide open, Red Bull are suffering from uncharacteristic realiability problems, McLaren are looking strong and Ferrari still manage to keep themselves in the game.Not a classic race, although performances from Perez and Massa (despite the late switcheroo) lifted the mood, the race fell a little flat.

Race Stats

Qualifying Hamilton Button Massa
Pole Hamilton  1:24.010 (McLaren)
Laps 53
Weather Dry
Safety Car None
Results 1. Hamilton McLaren 1:19:41.221
2. Perez Sauber 1:19:45.577
3. Alonso Ferrari 1:20:01.815
Fastest Lap Rosberg Mercedes 1:27.239
Retirements Vergne Toro Rosso [8] Spin
Button McLaren [32] Fuel System
Vettel Red Bull [47] Alternator
Hulkenberg Force India [50] Brakes
Webber Red Bull [51] Spin
Penalties Vettel Forcing Alonso off the track Drive through
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