Archive for the ‘Italy- Monza’ Category

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Alonso Wins Ferrari’s Home Grand Prix

September 12, 2010

Fernando Alonso won the Italian Grand Prix this afternoon, while Jenson Button kept him honest, and Lewis Hamilton saw the end to his race within six corners.

Alonso was forced to go defensive off the start after losing the lead to Button, who got a clean, strong getaway, and after trying to run Button wide into the first corner, he had to settle into second, ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa, who fancied his chances off the start as well. Hamilton got a good getaway, to pass Mark Webber for fourth, while the Australian slipped back, but while trying to dive up the inside of Massa into turn four, Hamilton made contact with the Ferrari, snapping his steering arm, before running off the road at turn six, the first Lesmo, due to the damage.

Button lead Alonso and Massa through the first lap, while Nico Rosberg made up three positions off the start to sit fourth, with Robert Kubica up to fifth, Nico Hulkenberg up to sixth, Sebastian Vettel down one to seventh, Michael Schumacher up four to eighth, Mark Webber down five to ninth, and Sebastien Buemi up in tenth.

The Red Bulls got a poor start compared to the Ferraris and the McLarens, but after Hamilton’s early elimination from the race, it didn’t seem too bad for Webber, who was guaranteed to regain the lead of the championship as long as he finished eighth or higher.

By lap six, he passed Schumacher for that eighth position, and while Schumacher tried to squeeze back past him, Webber was able to keep hold of the position.

Button maintained the lead, with Alonso maintaining the pressure for the majority of the race, as Button seemed to be struggling with pace after having lost a piece of his rear wing end-plate following first corner contact with Alonso. As Button and the Ferrari’s led the rest of the pack, Vettel started suffering with engine problems on lap 21, losing seventh to Webber, and falling back into the clutches of Schumacher. Luckily for Vettel, it seemed to be just electrical problems with his engine, and the problem ended up solving itself, and he was able to make up time in the remainder of the race.

The pitstops came later in the race, and on lap 34, Kubica became the first of the front-runners to pit. Rosberg and Webber were next on lap 36, with Webber dropping behind Kubica as he rejoined the track. On lap 37, Button pitted from the lead, followed shortly by Hulkenberg, who rejoined the track ahead of Kubica. Webber was then making moves on the squabbling pair, managing to make a move round the outside of Kubica stick into turn four on the same lap.

Alonso was next to pit from the lead, which he had been gifted by Button, who after his stop was in third. Alonso’s stop was smooth and having made a few tenths on his inlap, he was able to stay ahead of Button as he rejoined the circuit. Massa was next to pit on lap 39, and he rejoined in third.

As the race headed into its final ten laps, Vettel was the only driver of the front-runners who was yet to pit. Alonso led, from Button and Massa, who was just ahead of the recovering Vettel. Rosberg was fifth, ahead of Hulkenberg, Webber and Kubica. As speculation grew over when Vettel would pit, and where indeed he would rejoin the track, Webber was able to pass Hulkenberg, who he had been squabbling with for the majority of the race.

Vettel finally pitted at the start of the final lap, and was able to maintain fourth after pulling out a comfortable lead over Rosberg, while Alonso was busy heading for the chequered flag, with Button between him and his Ferrari teammate.

Alonso’s win pulls him closer to the title, while Mark Webber took advantage of a handful of points and Hamilton’s retirement to regain the lead of the championship on 187 points, with Hamilton on 182 and Alonso third on 166. Button’s second place means he holds onto fourth in the standings on 165 points, while Vettel slips to fifth on 163, with just 24 points and a win separating the top five drivers as the season heads into the final five, long-haul races of the season.

Red Bull maintain their lead in the championship on 350 points, while McLaren slip back by a further two points on 347. Ferrari’s first and third places see them on 290 constructors’ world championship points.

The next race will be in Singapore in two weeks, with qualifying on Saturday 25th September, and the race live on BBC1 at 1pm on Sunday 26th.

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Alonso on Pole on Ferrari Home Soil

September 11, 2010

Fernando Alonso took his first ever Ferrari pole position on Ferrari home soil in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza this afternoon.

Jenson Button will start alongside the Ferrari in second, in the F-duct-sporting McLaren, while teammate Lewis Hamilton, who will be running less downforce and no F-duct, will start fifth.

Alonso didn’t let the media-hype surrounding Wednesday’s World Motor Sport Council meeting over Ferrari’s team orders in Germany get the better off him, and he set the pace early on in Q3, setting a time of 1:21.962 – a time that no one could beat. Button came close, but wasn’t close enough, while Alonso’s teammate, Felipe Massa, couldn’t do better than third. The Red Bulls, for the first time this season, seemed off the pace, with Mark Webber managing to steal P4 from Hamilton at the last possible second, and Sebastian Vettel the slowest of the leading teams in sixth.

In Q1, once the top teams had set their fastest times, with Massa setting the pace, it was a battle of the new teams for the remainder of the session, to try and be the quickest of the knock-outs in the first round. Vitantonio Liuzzi lost out early on, with electrical problems with his Force India, forcing him to bow out. Lotus were the fastest of the new teams, with Jarno Trulli in 18th, Heikki Kovalainen 19th, with Luizzi eliminated early on and forced down to 20th. Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi set the 21st and 22nd fastest times for Virgin, with Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto 23rd and 24th. Due to a five-place grid-drop penalty for changing his gearbox, Glock will start from 24th, elevating di Grassi, Senna and Yamamoto.

Alonso set the fastest time in Q2, while Adrian Sutil, Michael Schumacher, Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi, Vitaly Petrov, Jaime Alguersuari and Pedro de la Rosa were eliminated in 11th down to 17th, respectively.

In the end, it was Alonso who was unbeatable, and for just the second time this season, Red Bull won’t start from pole, in fact, they won’t be on the front row at all. Elsewhere in the top ten shoot-out, Nico Rosberg will start seventh, Nico Hulkenberg 8th, Robert Kubica ninth, and Rubens Barrichello will round out the top ten in tenth.

The race is live on BBC1 at 1pm tomorrow.

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Barrichello Heads Brawn 1-2 in Monza

September 13, 2009

Rubens Barrichello took two more points out of teammate Jenson Button’s championship lead this afternoon, taking victory in a tense Italian Grand Prix, that saw pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton ditch his McLaren on the final lap.

Hamilton took an early lead from pole, putting in fastest lap after fastest lap to pull out a comfortable lead over Kimi Raikkonen, who had snatched second off Adrian Sutil on the first lap. With the front three on a different strategy to the Brawns, Hamilton was the first to pit on lap 15, rejoining the track behind Barrichello and Button in 3rd and 4th respectively.

Lewis regained the lead after both Button and Barrichello pitted for their first and only scheduled stop of the afternoon on laps 28 and 29 respectively. On lap 34, Hamilton was in again having only managed to pull out a 16 second lead over Barrichello. He rejoined behind Button, and it was there that the fight for victory began.

Barrichello had it in the bag, with the one-stop strategy working in the Brawn team’s favour, and it was Button who needed to hold off the charging Hamilton. With the gap down to a second between the two Brits, Rubens had the victory in touching distance on the final lap, while an aggressive Hamilton, hungry to snatch back second, pushed too hard and dropped his McLaren on the exit of the first Lesmo, having just set the fastest time for the first sector, for the whole race.

Hamilton said of the incident: “Every lap I was pushing like a qualifying lap. I was pushing as hard as I could.” He apologised to the fans and to the team for the accident.

Martin Whitmarsh said that Lewis’s accident just showed his aggression to racing, pushing as hard as he could to gain second in the closing stages of the race.

It seemed Brawn chose the perfect strategy for both their drivers, as the two-stoppers of Hamilton, Raikkonen and Sutil, who had all qualified on the front two rows of the grid, failed to maintain their lead when it mattered. Barrichello said of his win: “It feels great, like I said on the lap after the chequered flag. I have no words.” He added: “The car was there all the time, and it felt great.”

Barrichello’s win edges him closer to Button in the drivers standings, with just 14 points now separating the two. Sebastian Vettel, who currently sits third in the standings, is twelve points behind Barrichello, managing to pick up a single point in eighth after Hamilton’s accident. Mark Webber remains fourth in the championship after his race finished on the first lap after a tap from Robert Kubica sent him sideways into the gravel trap.

Prior to the race there had been high hopes for Hamilton’s teammate Heikki Kovalainen, who fuel corrected, would have been on pole. However Heikki, who started fourth with a heavy fuel load, lost out to fifth place starter Barrichello at the beginning of the first lap, and a half a lap later lost fifth to Button in the second Lesmo corner. From there his afternoon remained rather quiet, and he finished sixth, bringing home just three points for the McLaren team.

Kimi Raikkonen filled the final step of the podium following Hamilton’s crash, finishing just ahead of Sutil. Fernando Alonso finished fifth ahead of Kovalainen in sixth, Nick Heidfeld in seventh and Sebastian Vettel in eighth.

As the European leg of the season draws to a close, all eyes are now on the Brawn boys for the final four races of the season. With Button maintaining a comfortable gap of 26 points to third place man Vettel, it is looking more likely that the title fight will be between Button and Barrichello.

 

The next race takes place on the flood-lit streets of Singapore, with qualifying on Saturday 26th September, and the race live on BBC One at 1pm on the 27th.

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Hamilton on Pole in Monza

September 12, 2009

Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix from pole position after stealing the top spot from Adrian Sutil in the final moments of qualifying this afternoon.

The reigning world champion was on the pace throughout the whole of Q3, retaining the fastest time for most of the session. After Sutil momentarily went faster at the end of quali three, Hamilton put in a charge to go even faster and secure the top spot in 1:24.066, ahead of Sutil in the Force India, and Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari.

In terms of tomorrow’s race however, it remains to be seen who has the upper-hand, as the weights will confirm who is two-stopping and who is going for just one stop.

It looks likely that Hamilton will stop twice, while the Brawns of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button, in fifth and sixth respectively are set to stop just the once.

Hamilton’s teammate, Heikki Kovalainen will start in fourth, ahead of the Brawns, with Vitantonio Liuzzi, who is filling Giancarlo Fisichella’s seat in the second Force India, starting in seventh. Liuzzi, who has not raced in F1 for 2 years, managed to get into Q3, while Fisichella, who makes his debut at Ferrari this weekend, failed to get into the top ten shoot out, and will start in 14th.

Fernando Alonso, whose team has made the headlines throughout the weekend over Nelson Piquet’s crash in Singapore last year, will start in eighth, ahead of the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in ninth and tenth.

BMW got both their cars through to Q2, however, engine problems saw both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica fail to finish the session. Kubica will start in 13th, with Heidfeld in 15th.

However, there is a slim possibility that pole-sitter Hamilton could get a penalty for impeding the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi in Q1. Hamilton had been exiting the pits, while Buemi had the racing line going down to the first corner on a hot lap, however, Lewis failed to see the Toro Rosso, which meant the latter had to take the escape road. Buemi, who it is likely wouldn’t have made it through to Q2 anyway, will start in 19th, just ahead of teammate Jaime Alguersuari in 20th. Time will tell whether the stewards will take any further action.