Race Review - Italian Grand Prix
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What a race weekend we just witnessed.
During this Italian GP re-cap, I'll be looking at the key points of the race and expressing my opinion on the results and what happened. It was a pretty good race, not the best by 2012 standards but there was also that tactical aspect which was interesting to see.
What really interests me (on the tactical and strategy side) about the top 2 is that they both chose different strategies which highlighted their cars potential at different times of the race. Lewis Hamilton and McLaren chose to stop him at about 1/3 race distance, meaning the MP4-27 would be fastest at the start of the race and after his pit stop but would be slower on low fuel. Sauber did the complete opposite to McLaren and put Perez on the harder tyre compound, as apposed to the medium for Hamilton, and ran a long first stint. This meant that the cars potential would not be shown until after the stop, which was on lap29 , and we saw how hard he could push on the low fuel and medium compound. The time after his stop was when he started catching the lead pack. The fresh tyres really helped him because he had better grip and traction, while he could also attack with the Sauber’s high top speed. His car was hitting the rev limiter quite early on, but Sauber had higher downforce than some so he made up for that in the corners.
Now lets get on to Button’s retirement, which was so painful for me being a JB fan. After such a great qualifying lap and a decent start (despite him losing a place to Massa) he was showing strong pace. Obviously he got faster once he disposed of Massa and a podium was definitely on the cards until he had a fuel pump failure. The question is, if he did not have the problem would Perez have caught him? I think so, but the Sauber had poor straight line speed so the Mexican would probably have found it difficult.
Another key talking point was the harsh defensive move Vettel did on Alonso, when the Ferrari tried to overtake on the run around turn 2. Vettel was forced on the grass last year, but this time round it was Alonso who bumped along the grass. The move by Vettel deserved a penalty in my opinion, he left no room for Alonso and by the time Fernando had realised that he was partly alongside and travelling at a higher speed compared to the Red Bull. Last year there was a clear gap between the two cars, so Vettel running off was slightly unnecessary. This year there was no room, so the penalty was right in my view. We also found out after the race that the detour damaged Alonso’s car, so his 3rd place looks even better now.
I can also say how relieved I am that Jean-Eric Vergne was not badly hurt by the big impact suffered after hitting the kerbs at turn 1, backwards. It was a scary incident, where the STR was travelling at over 200mph. The team say they are not sure of the cause, but at the time we thought there was a suspension failure. It could have been a driver error, but it was an unusual incident. He hit the high kerbing for the turn 1 apex and was launched up, before landing back on the ground. He was taken to the medical centre but is fine, thankfully.
I know what you are thinking, Massa? Where did he come from?! I thought that too, especially at the start when he nearly took the lead. Felipe needs a strong result to stay with Ferrari and I think they will keep him, for 2013 at least. Alonso does not want a team mate challenging for a championship and Ferrari know Felipe, and he is a good driver. If he was not, he would not be racing in F1. He just needs that podium or win to show that to everyone because people only see Alonso’s performance and Massa blends into the background. It was refreshing to see him on form, so it is a shame the podium was snatched away at the end.
This is a controversial topic and it really angered me. When Lewis Hamilton walked onto the podium and was given the victory trophy, I heard boo’s. Now this is not acceptable, especially from the Tifosi. They are world renowned for their support and passion for F1, but they also need to respect the other drivers. They have been described as “the best F1 fans in the world” but frankly any that boo a driver for such a great result does not fall under that category. You can have favourites and not like certain drivers, but to boo someone is just low. I was extremely disappointed and I hope other Tifosi who were not there are too.
Author: Rick McCabe
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