F1 Grand Prix of Italy Monza

10 September 2012

Quali 1 saw huge disappointment for Hulkenberg who lost all gears in early running when the Force India was looking so quick, whilst Schumacher destroyed his tyres under heavy braking early on. Lack of top speed was hurting the Red Bull drivers with Webber particularly suffering on hard rubber.

Alonso topped the session with 1.24.175 with Hamilton on 1.24.211, followed by Button, Rosberg, Di Resta, Massa and Vettel, Maldonado, Senna and Raikkonen rounding out the top ten followed by Perez, Schumacher, Kobayashi, Webber, Verne, Ricciardo and D’Ambrosio in his fill in drive for the Lotus scraping in to 17th place.

Quali 2 and the fight for the last 10 places got underway with track temperature at 40 with all apart from D’Ambrosio on Medium rubber. Alonso taking an early lead in the session which saw Webber still struggling in the Red Bull. Button initially charging to 2nd but still losing time in the final sector. With less than 5 minutes to go, the top 5 cars remain in the pits, whilst the Red Bull drivers attempt to get into the top ten, Webber failing to do so by just 6/100ths of a second

The session ends with Alonso fastest on 1.24.242, followed by Button .013 down Di Resta, Hamilton, Massa, Rosberg Schumacher, Kobayashi Vettel and Raikkonen filling the final place.
The fight for Pole in Quali 3 begins with Ferrari sending their cars out first and together. Hamilton sets an impressive 1.24.010 to head the initial charge, with Ferrari pitting both cars. With just over 2 minutes to go the Ferraris leave the pits together, with the talk being of slipstreaming tactics! Di Resta in the Force India, but with a 5 place grid penalty to come, edging up to 2nd with 10 seconds to go.

Finally Massa on 1.24.247 out qualifies Alonso to finish in 3rd place, behind Hamilton with his initial 1.24.010 and Button 0.123 down, with Di Resta, Schumacher, Vettel, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Kobayashi and Alonso making up the top 10. A front row lock out by McLaren and a great looking grid for the race.

With race day looking good for McLaren, Button suffered too much wheelspin at the start allowing Massa to take an early second place behind Hamilton, Rosberg also suffered a poor start dropping to 10th in early running, this time thankfully everyone making it past the first corner. Alonso commenced his charge through the field taking Schumacher on lap 7 to move into 5th place behind Vettel. Di Resta and Senna wheel to wheel, with Senna on the grass having to take evasive action, allowing Webber to get ahead. Vergne on lap 10 losing control and going out.

Rosberg was an early pitter, followed by his team mate on lap 16, Raikkonen dropping behind Schumacher on his stop. Meanwhile on lap 19 Button moves into second place after passing Massa who was having telemetry issues, and pitted shortly afterwards.

Lap 21 saw Vettel and Alonso side by side exiting the pits, Vettel rejoining in 9th, just ahead of the championship leader. At this stage it appeared that some of the teams were employing a one stop strategy. Button with an unusually slow stop rejoins in 3rd, Perez yet to stop, leading the field on lap 24.

On lap 26 Alonso had all four wheels on the grass after a passing attempt on Vettel at 200mph, in the fight for 5th, Alonso finally getting ahead on lap 29. On lap 30 Perez finally pitted after losing the lead to Hamilton, rejoining in 8th.

Lap 32 saw a drive through for Vettel after his incident with Alonso, whilst 2 laps later, Button’s luck again ran out after fuel feed problems with the McLaren whilst running a strong second.

Good battles with Rosberg and Raikkonen, and the two Red Bull team mates entertained, whilst the two Ferraris were also running together with Alonso taking second with 11 laps to go, but more than 13 seconds behind Hamilton. Perez meanwhile had charged up to 4th and closing on Massa, who had no answer, and lost 3rd on lap 43, with Perez on softer compound tyres then closing on Alonso in 2nd by about a half a second a lap. On lap 46, inevitably Alonso gave up 2nd to Perez who was running considerably faster than the Ferrari.

Retirements in the last 5 laps saw first Vettel with electrical issues, then Webber after flat spotting his tyres in a dramatic spin, then Hulkenberg.

Hamilton finished ahead of the still charging Perez, followed by Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Rosberg, DiResta, Kobayashi and Senna in the final points scoring place.

The win moves Hamilton into second in the Championship behind Alonso who stretches his lead, Raikkonen in 3rd. The next race looks very interesting in prospect