Italy analysis - Vettel lands the knockout blow 12 Sep 2011 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Italy analysis - Vettel lands the knockout blow 12 Sep 2011
Italy analysis - Vettel lands the knockout blow 12 Sep 2011
One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 11 September 2011

Spa and Monza - the last two rounds of the European season - were meant to be Red Bull’s bogey circuits. Sebastian Vettel won at both, meaning he could now be crowned 2011 champion at the next round in Singapore. His Monza drive was masterful. Opting for shorter gearing than his rivals proved to be a canny decision and his forceful pass on Fernando Alonso silenced once and for all critics who claimed he could only win from the front. Some of the driving behind him was arguably less masterful, but it made for 53 laps of enthralling entertainment. We take a team-by-team look back at a memorable Italian Grand Prix…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, Retired lap five, accident
Vettel lost out to Alonso at the start and then had to pull a bold, wheels-on-the-grass move on the Ferrari in the Curva Grande on lap five, but thereafter he was in a class of his own as he raced away to his eighth victory of the season. Webber was unlucky, getting his front wing taken off in Turn One as he and Massa battled for fifth on the fifth lap; he tried to make it back to the pits but got caught out as the front wing folded under the car as he braked for the Parabolica, and crashed out. As a result he drops to third in the drivers’ championship.

Jenson Button, P2
Lewis Hamilton, P4
Button made a poor start but soon caught team mate Hamilton as he was trapped behind Schumacher. When the latter closed the door on Hamilton in Curva Grande on lap 16 Button used KERS to pass his momentarily stricken colleague and then jumped Schumacher at Ascari. Later he passed Alonso in Curva Grande to take second. Hamilton finally got by Schumacher when the latter hit the rev limiter on lap 27, having been warned about weaving, and a valiant charge left the Englishman just half a second behind Alonso at the flag. McLaren, however, were left to rue their downforce settings and the effect of poor starts for both cars. They were ultimately quick enough, however, for Hamilton to set fastest lap with Button next.

Fernando Alonso, P3
Felipe Massa, P6
Alonso made a stunning start and grabbed the lead in the first corner, but could not hang on to it and was soon overtaken by Vettel. He clung to second but lost pace on the medium Pirelli tyres. By the finish Hamilton was breathing down his neck, but the Spaniard said he’d had a good race and said that third was the best he could reasonably have expected. Massa was running strongly until there was contact with Webber in Turn One, which dropped him down the field. He lost a lot of ground, but fought back to sixth.

Michael Schumacher, P5
Nico Rosberg, Retired lap 1, accident
Mercedes lost Rosberg in the first-lap accident, but Schumacher ran very strongly in third place until he was warned about moving around too much on the entry to corners and eventually faded to fifth.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari, P7
Sebastien Buemi, P10
Alguersuari enjoyed payback after his disappointment at Spa by taking a career-best seventh place after a strong drove, while Buemi’s 10th place brought the team’s points haul to six. Buemi, however, said his STR06’s rear end was damaged by Kobayashi in the first-corner accident, which affected its performance.

Force India
Paul di Resta, P8
Adrian Sutil, Retired lap 10, steering
Force India’s race was compromised at the start when Sutil got caught up in the first-corner melee, and as he recovered his VJM04 developed a power-steering problem. Di Resta, however, drove strongly to an eighth-place finish after avoiding a Williams at the start and then adopting an aggressive tyre strategy to make up lost ground. His four points lifted the team into sixth place in the constructors’ championship, ahead of Sauber.

Bruno Senna, P9
Vitaly Petrov, Retired lap 1, accident
Renault lost Petrov straight away, in the Liuzzi accident, and Senna was also delayed. The Brazilian fought back superbly, climbing to ninth and just failing to catch Di Resta at the finish by half a second after he had reduced a 5.5s gap. His result marked the first time the Senna name had been in the points since the 1993 Australian Grand Prix.

Pastor Maldonado, P11
Rubens Barrichello, P12
Once again the FW33s simply weren’t fast enough, even though circumstances promoted Maldonado into the top 10 early on. Barrichello, however, believed he could have scored points had he not got trapped in the first-corner incident after the start.

Heikki Kovalainen, P13
Jarno Trulli, P14
Kovalainen and Trulli made great starts thanks to the first-corner melee and ran as high as 12th and 13th on the opening lap before inevitably falling back as faster cars hit their stride. Kovalainen finished 13th, while Trulli lost ground thanks to accident damage when he got caught up in the aftermath of the Webber/Massa incident and needed a new front wing.

Timo Glock, P15
Jerome d'Ambrosio, Retired lap 2, gearbox
D’Ambrosio’s MVR-02 lost second gear at the start and was an early retirement, but Glock soldiered home to the finish in the new-spec version, putting valuable miles on it.

Daniel Ricciardo, Unclassified, 39 laps
Tonio Liuzzi, Retired lap 1, accident
Ricciardo was left on the grid when the anti-stall activated itself, and was unclassified after several stops once he had got going, to attend to rising water temperature. Liuzzi made a blinding start after jinking round D’Ambrosio on the grid, but had to go round Kobayashi’s slower-moving Sauber on the run down to Turn One and lost control after putting a wheel on the dirt. His spinning HRT took out Rosberg and Petrov, and as a result he will get a five-place grid penalty in Singapore.

Sergio Perez, Retired lap 33, gearbox
Kamui Kobayashi, Retired lap 22, gearbox
Both drivers were in the hunt for seventh-place points, but neither finished. Kobayashi dropped out after 22 laps, Perez 33, both with gearbox problems. The disappointment dropped the team to seventh in the constructors’ stakes, one point behind Force India.
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