Sebastian Vettel got pipped at the start of the Italian Grand Prix by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso but when Vettel eventually passed the Ferrari at the end of lap five, that was all the ‘racing’ he had to do as the Red Bull’s phenomenal pace, superior cornering speed/downforce/aerodynamics/tyre handling/whatever meant that the race win was in the bag even before the lap counter ticked into double digits!
The race for second place was won by Jenson Button who had passed Fernando Alonso after both of them fitted the harder prime tyres as Alonso had to settle for third place with his car not really as good as it was on the softer tyres. Lewis Hamilton came close to snatching the last step of the podium but had to settle for fourth place as his race didn’t go quite to plan. He was jumped at the start by Alonso who drove right around him into the lead and then lost out to Michael Schumacher for third place and was stuck behind him for the best part of the initial half of the race.
Michael Schumacher was fifth for Mercedes, which meant the top five places were held by the five World Champions on the grid! Felipe Massa was sixth for Ferrari, ahead of the Toro Rosso of Jaime Algersuari in seventh, Force India’s Paul Di Resta in eight, Renault’s Bruno Senna ninth and the second Toro Rosso of Sebastian Buemi in tenth.
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull tamed the super fast Monza Circuit – which has traditionally never suited them – and racked up his tenth pole position of the season. McLaren were their closest competitors as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button took P2 and P3 with Fernando Alonso starting from P4 at Ferrari’s home grand prix.
Mark Webber couldn’t replicate his team mate’s pace and had to settle for fifth place on the grid ahead of Felipe Massa in sixth, Renault’s Vitaly Petrov in seventh, the two Mercedes’ of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg in eighth and ninth. Bruno Senna, who replaced Nick Heidfeld at Renault, elected not to run in Q3 and will start from tenth place on the grid.
Red Bull were expected to struggle at the track where they’ve never managed a podium finish or a pole position but that statistic was consigned to history as their aerodynamic modifications and Vettel’s aggressive driving style yielded yet another pole position. McLaren will no doubt be strong in the race, with Jenson Button looking impressive. Hamilton looked to be trying too hard and that led to a mistake on his final run and had to settle for second place. Ferrari never seemed to have the pace to challenge for pole but Alonso nevertheless eked out the fourth fastest time.
I expect both the McLarens to challenge Vettel at the start and that might open up for an opportunistic move for Alonso . Over the race distance, I kinda fancy Button for the win!