Vettel puts on a clinic in Monza
Vettel took the lead from pole at the start and used his superior skills to open up enough gap in the opening laps to prevent second place (in this case Felipe Massa) from using DRS and then pulled away to control the remainder of the race.
It was the third win at Monza for Vettel and his 32nd career F1 win in 113 starts. He is now tied with Fernando Alonso for 4th on the all-time list one spot ahead of Nigel Mansell. It was the 6th win of the year for Vettel and he now leads Alonso in the points by an almost insurmountable 53 points.
Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Sauber, holding off Nico Rosberg, who finished sixth. Ricciardo hung onto seventh place at the end with Romain Grosjean eighth and Lewis Hamilton on his gearbox in ninth position.
After ten laps, the order was Vettel, 5.2 ahead of Alonso, who had a 1.3 lead over his team-mate, while in the other Red Bull, Webber was 0.7 behind the Brazilian. Fifth was Hulkenberg in the Sauber, followed by Rosberg (Mercedes,) Ricciardo (Toro Rosso,) Perez (McLaren,) Vergne (Toro Rosso) and Button completing the top ten for McLaren. Alonso was being informed from the pit wall that Red Bull was concerned about a problem with Vettel’s right front tire, possibly because he locked the wheel at the first corner after the start and on lap 13 Hamilton had to pit the Mercedes with a puncture. Meanwhile, Massa was coming under a lot of pressure from Webber. Lap 19 and Webber was pushing Massa hard. Lap 23 and Ricciardo pitted the Toro Rosso from seventh place while one lap later, Red Bull double pitted both their drivers so that Alonso led temporarily, as Massa and Hulkenberg came down pit lane together on lap 25. This was a key moment, as Webber managed to get ahead of the Ferrari man at this point. The Scuderia waited until lap 28 to bring Alonso in for a switch to the Hard compound and when the run of pit stops was over, Vettel still led from the Spaniard, with their respective team-mates in third and fourth places.
In fact, the top four positions never changed from now on, but there was still plenty of action to keep the fans entertained. Lap 31 and Hamilton was moving up the order, passing Mercedes team-mate Rosberg and then setting off to chase Hulkenberg whom he passed to go fifth on lap 34. Webber was gradually reeling in Alonso and they were nose to tail on lap 39, the Australian getting the gap down to under a second so that DRS would play its part soon, but the Ferrari man fought back, pulling out a couple of tenths next time round.
With ten laps remaining, Vettel led Alonso by 12.2 seconds and the Spaniard had Webber just 0.6s off his tail, although the Australian was being told to look after his gearbox. Massa was a further 2.2 behind the Red Bull and 4.7 ahead of Hulkenberg who was having a great dice with fellow German Rosberg. Ricciardo was seventh, with Button, Grosjean and Perez making up the rest of the top ten. There was a change to this order on lap 45, when Grosjean got his Lotus ahead of Button’s McLaren. In these closing stages, the most thrilling action involved the fight for a lowly eleventh place between two former World Champions, Raikkonen and Hamilton as the Englishman tried all he could to pass the Finn, pulling alongside and even ahead in the first part of the chicane, but not making it stick. Eventually he did get past and also dispensed with Button. But Hamilton and Raikkonen must now believe their slight hopes of title glory are over for this year.
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It's fantastic to win this event again. I just managed to make turn one! I locked the front right and it just didn't seem to come back. I had a big flat spot, which I felt straight away and I wasn't sure if the tire would survive, but fortunately I managed to make it round and have a strong first stint. I pushed straight away to get a bit of a gap, in case we had to stop early and change to a two-stop strategy. We had a gearbox issue and I had to short shift, which meant we dropped some time in the straights ‚ but I tried to make it up in the corners. It's great to finish on the top step. The podium here is always very passionate. We are in Italy and when you walk around outside the track, you see Ferrari clothing and merchandise in all the shops starting from the smallest sizes upwards; it's part of their DNA, which I understand. It was great for the Tifosi to have Fernando on the podium today. The season is going well and we're pushing hard, but we take each race as it comes. We're looking forward to Singapore next, which I want to finish; I think it's the toughest race we have all year."
Mark Webber (3rd): "It's a great place here and it's very special to finish on the podium. It's not the circuit where I've had the best results in the past, so it's a bit of a personal best for me in qualifying and the race. I felt better on the soft tires today; I had a good battle with Fernando, fair play to him on that and then afterwards I settled in to getting my head down and getting on with the race. We got Felipe on the stop, which was great. I was happy with my in-lap, the pit stop was great and then my out-lap was strong, so we cleared him reasonably comfortably. We had to nurse the gearbox a bit at the end, but overall it was a good result. Seb is very strong around here and it was great to get such a good result today."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A fantastic way to achieve our 40th victory and Sebastian's 32nd. To win and finish third in Monza, which is one of the most historic events, is testimony to our strong team work today. It's been a fantastic effort behind the scenes in preparation for this event. We had some issues that we had to manage during the race and the pit stops in particular were great and enabled Mark to get ahead of Felipe Massa. It's very impressive how the whole team have all contributed to this fantastic result."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "Everyone knows it's special to win at Monza, but particularly for an engine manufacturer. It is the last time the V8s run round here so we are naturally over the moon to finish the era with a win and a podium today. I would like to thank everyone at Renault for getting the job done all weekend - first a 1-2 in qualifying and then both drivers on the podium at the end of the race. It shows the competitiveness of everyone at Renault and the Red Bull team and the strength of the partnership. Everyone pushed hard to get this fantastic result. A great race and a great day."
Fernando Alonso (2nd):
Felipe Massa (4th):
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal:
Luca di Montezemolo:
Jenson Button (10th): "I had a bad start when my clutch slipped, and I dropped a few places. That first stint was quite good fun, but, once I got stuck behind Daniel [Ricciardo], there was no way of getting past him. We didn't get the gear ratios quite right today. Consequently, as our fuel loads decreased, and our cornering speeds should have increased, we were hampered by our rev-limiters, and that made it easier for the cars behind to overtake us and harder for us to overtake the cars ahead of us. In clear air, our pace was pretty good ‚ but, with such a short top gear, especially with DRS deployed, we were hitting the rev-limiter while other cars weren't being rev-limited. Moreover, about 15 laps from the end, I locked up into the first corner and severely flat-spotted my front-right tire ‚ I couldn't really see a lot after that, because of vibration, but I still managed to bring it home and score a world championship point for the team. Finally, I just want to say a big 'thank you' to all the guys in the garage today. They had to really work hard to repair my car's fuel system before the race, in record time, and they pulled out all the stops to get it all done. It was touch-and-go for a while, but they responded really well and did an incredible job. In a tight spot, they're the best guys out there ‚ and, once again, they were faultless today."
Sergio Perez (12th): "It was a disappointing afternoon, and I think we deserved more than that. I got hit from behind into Turn One and had to cut the chicane, unfortunately. Then, throughout the race, I was held up by Daniel's Toro Rosso. My car was quicker overall, but its straight-line speed just wasn't strong enough to get me up and alongside him to try a pass. We stopped one lap later than we'd planned, and I lost a position to Jenson when the stop didn't go too well. From then on, I was stuck in a train of cars; and, without a straight-line speed advantage, I just couldn't get past anyone."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Today's race was a disappointing end to a frustrating weekend. Jenson lost a few places at the start, and thereafter spent most of the race stuck behind one of the Toro Rosso cars ‚ as indeed did Checo. Had that not been the case, our cars would have been able to lap significantly faster than in fact they did. However, although as I say our cars were faster in terms of overall lap-time, their comparative lack of straight-line speed prevented Jenson and Checo from being able to pass the Toro Rossos in order to exploit that greater pace on a clear track. Jenson was mighty at the end of the race, however, holding off Kimi [Raikkonen] to retain 10th place by just three-tenths of a second at the checkered flag. Checo was unfortunate to finish only 12th ‚ a slower-than-usual pitstop costing him track position through no fault of his own. All in all, I'd summarize our weekend by saying that we've come away with a very hard-won world championship point."
Romain Grosjean (8th): "It isn't easy to follow another car with the aero configurations that we had for the race here but we got the best result we could have done having started in P13. Unfortunately we had a poor pit stop where we had an electronic problem and the light didn't turn to green, so we lost a few seconds there. I think we could have come out in front of the two McLarens and the Toro Rosso, which would have made things a bit easier for a stronger result. I had a good battle with Lewis on the last lap. I think we did the best we could here in Monza and I hope that for Singapore we can get back to the level of performance that we had in Budapest."
Kimi Raikkonen (11th): "When I lost the front wing I had to come in and change to a new one meaning an extra pit stop which we hadn't planned. It's not just the time in the pits, but you have to work your way through the field afterwards. We did a pretty good job of that and the car felt good, surprisingly good given where we were on Saturday. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do after the start to the race we had."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "If you want to be competitive for the Championships you need to be able to fight every weekend at the front on Saturday as well as on Sunday. The positive from this weekend is that we showed fantastic race pace and both drivers drove exceptionally well. Romain withstood great pressure and performed great overtaking moves on both McLarens. Kimi fought back from a first lap incident in a superb display of his talents. The negative from this weekend is that we couldn't qualify where we needed to be. The results at the end of the race aren't rewarding for the team, but there are plenty of positives to take from the final European race of the season and we head to the final flyaway races with plenty of fight."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "Our damage was done yesterday by our poor qualifying positions. We actually had good race pace today and if you compare Kimi and Sebastian Vettel's races, after Kimi's first stop we only lost a second to Seb and we gained four seconds on Fernando [Alonso]. Seb won the race and Fernando finished second, so that gives an illustration of what could have been. We obviously will be dissecting where we lost the pace on Saturday and have some solace that we don't visit another circuit of this level of downforce for the rest of the season as it certainly wasn't beneficial for us in terms of qualifying. Starting where we did put us in the middle of the pack where incidents happen on the first lap and that was the case for both our drivers, but both made great recoveries."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "Monza is always a tough race for engines with a high percentage of the lap spent flat out. Today the race was even harder. Kimi's early stop meant he went down the pack and had to fight to regain position. Fuel consumption was considerably higher than that expected as a result, so we had to manage the settings very carefully to give him the power he needed to fight without running dry. Sadly he missed the points by under a second ‚ on the strength of his drive he really deserved it and the car had the pace to score. Romain did a great job to keep hold of eighth, which is a more representative indication of where we are this weekend."
Nico Rosberg (6th): "This hasn't been one of our best weekends and it feels like everything was a little compromised from the outset. It's a real shame as the pace of the car looked really good in the race but we weren't able to take full advantage because of the issues from yesterday. It's so important here to feel comfortable with the set-up and I wasn't able to get the car as I wanted after losing the time in third practice. I tried everything to overtake Nico for the extra place today but he was very quick at the end and it didn't work out. Now we'll look forward to Singapore in a couple of weeks. I love street circuits so hopefully that will be a better weekend for us."
Lewis Hamilton (9th): "That was a difficult weekend for me but these things happen and you have to say that it's been a good year so far. I gave it my all out there today; the pace of the car was great but unfortunately we paid the price for not qualifying far enough up the field. My radio failed right at the start of the race and it's really tough when that happens as you rely on the advice and information from the team to manage your race. I didn't even know about the slow puncture until after the race so now it makes more sense why we had to make the extra stop. I did have some fun this afternoon, particularly fighting with Kimi. It's just tough fighting so far down the field when our car was clearly really quick. We'll keep pushing together as a team and I know that we'll bounce back for Singapore. We'll be giving it everything to make up for this weekend with a stronger performance there."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "In the end, that was a frustrating race because we had a very quick car today. We can never be certain what Vettel's ultimate pace could have been at the front of the field but we saw Fernando and Mark fighting hard for second place and our drivers were matching their pace all the time. Lewis' slow puncture in his first stint obviously compromised his strategy by forcing us to make two stops. But he drove a fantastic fighting race, complicated by the radio failure, and got everything out of the car this afternoon to climb back to P9. With Nico, we have the frustration that he found himself stuck behind a slower car in terms of lap time that was too quick at the critical parts of the lap to be able to overtake. It's a disappointing result and this weekend reminds us that we need to be on top of our game at all times if we want to maximize our potential. But this afternoon also suggested that we have a competitive car."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Our afternoon was compromised by our starting positions, which resulted from yesterday's problems, and further difficulties in the race. Nico found himself stuck behind the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg and although we were quicker over the lap, we didn't have the speed to make a pass when it counted. Lewis' slow puncture forced him to make an extra pit stop. After that, he showed everybody just how quick the car was and that gave a glimpse of what might have been this afternoon. But we can't take comfort from what might have been. The result was P6 and P9, well beneath the standards we set ourselves. We now need to focus on delivering on the car's potential in the next races."
Nico Hulkenberg (5th): "It's a great result and, after yesterday, another great performance by the team today. I am very happy and fifth was the ideal result. Despite starting third, it was always clear keeping the Ferrari and Red Bulls behind was not realistic. I lost two places right at the start, but then the pace was good and, especially towards the end, I was able to catch up quite a bit again. I kept the Mercedes behind with Nico leaving no room for me making any mistakes. It's a very nice result for the team, and finally we have some points again. I hope this will give us some momentum, so we can carry this form on to the next couple of races."
Esteban Gutierrez (13th): "The start of the race was quite reasonable. I gained one place, but the first corner was tricky. It was important to keep the car together. I was able to settle down well during the first few laps. I was trying to manage the tires as best I could, but, of course, you can't compromise too much. Overall, it was a good race. Obviously, we cannot be happy, because it's not a great result. However, the race was positive. Now we have to improve in qualifying, so we can start in a better position. I'm confident we will get there."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We are happy about such a great result. Nico fought hard and drove a fantastic race. The crew did a great job as well today. Esteban was held up several times and thus lost the chance to score points. Overall, however, he drove yet again a very strong race and showed he is constantly improving. We are pleased to see that, for the first time, the result reflects us making a step forward with the development of the car. A big thank you to the race team here in Monza and the team back in Hinwil."
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "After the rain during the lap to the grid, the race settled in to being dry. It's a fantastic result for Nico, who withstood pressure from Nico Rosberg throughout, and didn't put a foot wrong. Finally he was rewarded for the fantastic job he did yesterday. Esteban was unlucky with traffic, but again showed strong race pace. It was clear that it would be difficult from P16. On this track our car's race pace was stronger than in recent races and that should put a smile on a lot of faces here and in Hinwil."
Adrian Sutil (16th): "A tough race today and in the end we had to retire the car because of issues with the brakes. I tried my best and I don't think we could have delivered any more because I was on the limit throughout the race. The pit stop was good, but the team had to hold me on the exit because Maldonado was coming in, which meant I lost a position to Gutierrez. I was able to pass him again on the track, but there were some quick cars [Kimi and Lewis] with fresher tires and there was no way to hold them off. Points were not too far away, but overall we didn't have the pace this weekend."
Paul di Resta (DNF, Accident): "It has been one of those weekends to forget, starting with the brake failure yesterday and the early retirement today. I just got caught out going into the second chicane because the cars ahead of me got backed up ‚ I guess they were reacting to the tussle going on ahead of them. I locked both fronts trying to stop the car and ended up hitting Grosjean. Unfortunately it was too late to take avoiding action. Now we need to look forward to Singapore and put this one behind us."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "We leave Monza empty-handed after a difficult weekend. We've struggled for pace and had our share of misfortune. Paul's race was over on lap one after contact with Grosjean at the second chicane, which was very disappointing. Adrian had a better start, made up some ground and moved onto the tail of the top ten. He drove a strong race with a great overtaking move on Gutierrez, but was missing the speed to fight for points. In the closing laps we were forced to retire the car with concerns over the brakes. It's clear we need to recapture the form we showed before the summer break if we are to continue fighting for fifth in the constructors' championship."
Pastor Maldonado (14th): "It was a poor race for us from the beginning because of losing a couple of positions at the start which were then hard to recover. There was little pace from the car, I think we did quite well on the strategy but whatever we did today it was not enough to recover places. It was a disappointing race but I am looking forward to the next one."
Valtteri Bottas (15th): "I maintained my position at the start but from the first few laps I couldn't really challenge any of the cars ahead as we just didn't have the race pace today. It was good that we were able to do our planned one-stop, but most of the others did this as well. I'm now looking forward to Singapore; it's a new track for me so I hope we can do better there."
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: "There was some risk of light rain during the race but we thought we would be able to stay on dry tires so opted to start both cars on the medium compound tires. We were aiming to achieve a one-stop strategy with both cars following the pace we saw on Friday. Our strategy and tire management went as planned but we just didn't have enough pace to challenge the cars in front. We now go from a circuit with the lowest downforce level to one with the highest downforce level in Singapore, so it's a completely different challenge and we hope to perform better there."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "Together we expect more than 14th and 15th so we can't be satisfied with today. That said, we do expect our relative level of performance to be higher in Singapore where the tight corners will play more to the strengths of the car. There should be a better chance to finish in, or closer to the points, than we could do today."
Daniel Ricciardo (7th): "I am pleased with that! After qualifying well yesterday, it was nice to maintain that position at the end of today. In recent races where we have managed to qualify in the top ten, we didn't have the pace to stay there in the race, but today we did. I think I got the most out of the car, managing to keep the guys behind me and the low downforce setup certainly helped us down the straights. The others got close to me in the second sector, but I was able to pull away once we got to the high speed sections, which we knew from yesterday would be our strong point. We must keep pushing hard on the car development for the next few races, because hopefully, a top five finish is not too far away."
Jean-Eric Vergne (DNF, Transmission): "Everything was going well, I wasn't actually in a battle at the time and was conserving my tires and controlling Button behind me quite easily. Then I felt something was wrong and had to stop at the side of the track. I said on the radio I thought the engine had gone, but actually it was still running and it seems I had some sort of transmission problem. A real shame, especially as I knew my final stint on the Hard tire would be even stronger. I would definitely have finished quite high up in the points as the guys ahead were not pulling away from me. I seem to be suffering a lot of bad luck this season, but I keep believing the turning point will come soon."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "An excellent performance from Daniel and the entire team resulted in us finishing a well deserved seventh at one of the most famous races on the calendar, which also happens to be our home grand prix. With Daniel, our race ran to plan, although in the early stages we had some concerns about whether tire degradation would allow us to run our one-stop strategy, but it actually worked out fine. He did a great job of maintaining his position, while looking after his tires. His afternoon was complicated by the fact he was hardly ever in a position to use DRS, except when coming up behind backmarkers, while the cars behind him were able to use it and close right up to him. As for Jean-Eric, it was a real shame that he again had some bad luck. Having made a good start, he too was holding position but had to retire with a transmission problem, the cause of which we now need to investigate."
Charles Pic (17th): "My start was good and I held position into turn one and was up with Bottas and pushing to keep pace with him. Up to the first pitstop I was just about keeping him range but then in the second stint he was a lot quicker and I simply didn't have the pace to fight with him. The car felt ok, the first set of tires worked pretty well and we stuck to the strategy, coming in for the first stop on lap 17. We went onto the primes for the second and third stints and, honestly, from the time I rejoined the track after the first stop the rest of the race was pretty quiet for me. When the blue flags started coming out we had to manage the traffic and that obviously cost us more time, but our pace meant we were able to cover off our nearest competitors one-stop strategy and that was a the main target today. We've shown over the last few races that we definitely have a pace advantage over them, and we have enough races left to keep fighting for tenth place in the championship. Next we go to Singapore which is going to be an incredibly busy race off-track, and on track I think our car will be suited to the heat and layout of the track. After a quiet race today it'll be good to have a few more battles!"
Giedo van der Garde (18th): "After good starts for most of the season I have to say this wasn't one of my best, but I overtook the Marussia halfway through lap one and was up with Charles until he pitted for the first time. I came in a lap later and with a new set of hard tires the car felt good ‚ my pace was on target and I was easily able to pull away from the cars behind and push on to Charles. We were running a two stop strategy and I came in for the second stop when I was given the command to box. There was a communication mistake on the pitwall and when I came in the guys weren't ready for me which obviously cost me a lot of time and I came out behind Bianchi, but I passed him pretty quickly and set about trying to catch my teammate. It's a shame as my pace in the second stint was really good and I'd have had a chance to pass Charles, but sometimes these things happen ‚ that's racing."
Jules Bianchi (19th): "I was really pleased with my start as I got ahead of both Caterhams into the first corner. Unfortunately our early pace was not sufficient to hold them off and they regained position by the end of the first lap. In the first stint we had started to make some good progress and were catching them but after the pit stop the balance was not there and we struggled on the Hard tire, dropping back from them again. We were on a one stop, Caterham on two, and I was able to move up to P18 and keep van der Garde behind for a while, but not long enough unfortunately and it was especially tough to make any progress during the blue flag phase. It is a shame I could not have a strong race today at a track I love, but on to Singapore now, which I am really looking forward to."
Max Chilton (20th): "Another tough race today and one which underlined the balance problems we've been experiencing all weekend. The start was okay but we weren't able to keep pace with the competition today. What I was encouraged by was my pace versus my team-mate ‚ there was nothing between us for the first 25 laps but every time I got close enough to overtake I lost downforce, so I couldn't do anything to improve. I kept with him throughout the rest of the race, despite experiencing the toughest blue flag phase of the season, when it was really hard to make sure I gave the space needed at the right time and not suffer a huge loss of time myself. Time now to say goodbye to the European phase of my debut season for what will be a very challenging run of long-haul races I think."
John Booth, Team Principal: "Coming into the race today we had quite a bit to contend with. The weather in the half hour prior to going to the grid was very mixed and deciding which tires to start on was tricky. In the end we gave the drivers a compare between intermediate and the dry tires in case we experienced further rain before the start of the race. In the end the weather held off for the rest of the race and we were able to run to our planned strategy of a one-stop race. We've seen very good levels of degradation on our car all weekend, which is an improvement over the last few races and the work we have done in this area has paid off to allow us to complete a one-stop race versus Caterham's two-stop. Unfortunately we still didn't quite have the pace we needed to finish in front of them but it was very close with van der Garde at the end. In the dying stages we were getting very low on fuel and given that we had tried to race van der Garde as hard as we could, we had to dramatically slow the pace on the last three laps to ensure we could make it to the flag."
Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1:25.849
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