HAMILTON IS VICTORIOUS WHILST RED BULL LOSE THEIR WINGS

10 Sep

The Michael Report- GRAN PREMIO SANTANDER D’ ITALIA 2012

MONZA plays host to the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar and this prestigious venue has seen triumph and tragedy over the years and viewers were treated to a cornucopia of emotions during today’s race.

Lewis Hamilton fought off Felipe Massa’s astonishingly quick start and began the race comfortably, managing to gain a considerable lead, whilst Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso chased down the competition, and after starting tenth, managed to be battling Vettel for fourth place a few laps later, gaining the place later on in the race when Vettel was issued with a drive through penalty for forcing Alonso off the track. This manoeuvre mirrored a similar battle last year, when Alonso nearly forced Vettel off the track at the Curva Grande, and played well into Ferrari’s hands.

Jenson Button eventually took back second place from Massa, meaning that McLaren were looking forward to a 1-2 victory, but when Button was forced to pull up at the side of the road, we immediately knew that something had gone terribly wrong for last week’s champion- when asked, McLaren said on the radio that there had been an irreversible problem with the fuel pressure and the pumps, but the race was over for Button.

Things went from bad to worse for Red Bull- Vettel was told that at any point he may have to pull over and stop, and he eventually did so with the distinct order “Stop the car, we need to save the engine!” It was an alternator fault that brought disappointing memories of Valencia for the German. Webber looked strong towards the end but clipped the Ascari chicane and spun sideways and nearly crashed into a wall- he damaged his tyres and was stuck in seventh gear, and was forced to retire to the pit lane early.

More race casualties included Jean-Eric Vergne, whose suspension broke, causing him to fly into the escape road after the pit straight, and Nico Hulkenberg, who hasn’t featured well over the entire weekend.

In the end, victory went to McLaren, and Lewis Hamilton managed to take the chequered flag at Monza in front of the roaring Tifosi for the very first time, and twenty five points are very welcome, as we shall discover soon. However, the driver of the day was most certainly Sergio Perez- Sauber’s Tyre strategy paid dividends today as he managed to finish second after a disappointing twelfth place qualification- he managed to find pace in his tyres like no other, and lapped driver after driver up to the chequered flag, finishing only five seconds behind Hamilton. Eighteen points were awarded to the young Mexican.

Ferrari must have been pleased with the retirement of three of their main opponents, and clearly pleased with Alonso completing the podium, and team-mate Massa finishing fourth- his badly needed twelve points were added to Alonso’s fifteen to secure a good haul for the Scuderia team in front of their roaring fans in the grandstands. Kimi Raikkönen was the victor of his bout against Michael Schumacher- the two veterans finished fifth and sixth respectively, earning ten and eight points, and Nico Rosberg secured seventh place and six points for Mercedes.

Paul Di Resta finished eighth and received four points, and Kamui Kobayashi finished ninth, receiving two points, and final scrap for the final point was tight- Bruno Senna finished tenth and fought off his team-mate Pastor Maldonado and Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The competition is still on, and it is getting more and more entertaining- both Championships are still up for grabs, and as F1 heads out of Europe for the fly away stage, it may still go down to the wire, but congratulations should go out to Sauber and also Lewis Hamilton, who deserved champagne after his Spa disappointment, and it was most certainly a weekend for Red Bull to forget.

OFFICIAL STANDINGS UPDATE

Although Fernando Alonso still leads the Driver’s Championship with 179 points, the competition is creeping up to the Spaniard- Lewis Hamilton’s victory today has meant that he is now in second place with 142 points, and Kimi Raikkönen is a mere 1 point behind with 141 points. Mark Webber retains his 8 point deficit behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who has 140 points, and Jenson Button stays with 101 points, and has an almost impossible task now to claim victory, but good points scores will still help McLaren seek the Constructor’s title. Lower down in the driver standings is Nico Rosberg in seventh place, with 83 points, and Romain Grosjean in eighth place and 76 place, he will hope to build when he returns next time in Singapore. Sergio Perez’s stunning performance sees him increase his tally to 65 points, ahead of Felipe Massa, who is tenth with 47 points.

McLaren could still claim the Constructors title, as they are now only 29 points behind Red Bull who still have 272 points. McLaren’s score of 243 sees them ahead of Ferrari in third place, who have 226 points, sending Lotus back down into fourth with 217 points. However, the top four are secure as Mercedes only have 126 points, 91 points behind Lotus, and Sauber have stayed in sixth place, and have creeped into triple figures, with 100 points. Force India’s tiny four point gain sees them seventh, with 63 points, ahead of William’s haul of 54 points in eighth place. Toro Rosso remain in ninth with 12 points, and, as I write with ever increasing pessimism of anything changing with my final sentence, HRT, Caterham and Marussia are yet to score- who’d have thought that?

I will have another update in a fortnight’s time, when F1 returns to Asia for the Singaporean Grand Prix, which sees drivers manoeuvring the twisting roads of the Marina Bay circuit under the spotlights in the only night time race on the calendar, and then the early wake ups start again!

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