Italian Grand Prix Results – Ferrari
Italian GP – A Ferrari on the Monza podium
Monza, 11 September – Fernando Alonso took Ferrari to third step of the podium in the Italian Grand Prix, its home race. After an incredible start that took him from fourth on the grid into the lead, the Spaniard finished behind the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button in the McLaren. In the other 150º Italia, Felipe Massa came home sixth. The next round takes place in a week’s time on 25th September in Singapore.
Italian GP – A Red on the Monza podium. Alonso what a start! Felipe what bad luck!
One driver, Fernando Alonso, on the podium and the other, Felipe Massa, in sixth place: that was the outcome of Scuderia Ferrari’s Italian Grand Prix. This takes the Maranello team’s number of podium finishes in this event to 62. For Fernando, it is his 23 rd third place to go alongside 18 wins and 24 second places. This result moves Fernando up to second place in the Drivers’ championship, although a very long way off Vettel, while Felipe consolidates his sixth place. The Scuderia is third in the Constructors’ championship.
Stefano Domenicali: “Honestly, this result is the best we could have hoped for, given our current technical situation. The fact Fernando is second in the Drivers’ championship is amazing and I think it highlights the stuff our driver is made of. Once again today, he delivered a majestic performance, either attacking, as he did at the start, or defending as in the closing stages. Felipe also did well and I am sure he could have been right up there in the fight behind Vettel, if he had not been pushed into a spin by Webber: all the same he delivered a good race. Clearly Ferrari must always aim for victory and a third place is not and should not be something to get excited about, but the team worked well, keeping its cool and concentrating and, step by step, the situation is improving. Our aim for the final part of the season remains the same: we will try and win races and always do our best. We owe that to ourselves and to our fans who once again today, were magnificent. I am sure Fernando felt goose bumps up on the podium: standing there in a red suit is something special…”
Fernando Alonso: “Returning to this magnificent podium wearing the Scuderia race suit is always very exciting. I said it yesterday: a podium place is within our grasp. We knew we needed to get a great start and we managed it, partly down to a great preparation job done with the engineers over the past two days. The start was really a magical moment, like in Barcelona, although we knew this was not our true position and that sooner or later we would have been passed. However, it was still very nice to see our fans cheering during those laps at reduced speed behind the Safety Car. There was nothing we could about Vettel, he was much quicker than us and passed me easily. The situation was better up against the McLarens: with the Softs, we could defend well, but on the Mediums they still have a significant advantage and I think that if the race had gone on a few more laps, I would have been off the podium. Having said that, I am happy with this result: we were better in the race than in qualifying, but that has been a constant factor since the start of the season. Sure, it would have been fantastic to do the double after 2010, but we must stay cool and concentrate and try to reach targets that are within our reach: today we did just that. It’s true the title has gone now, but there is still great motivation: we want to win races and try to defend the position I have just reached in the Drivers’ championship.”
Felipe Massa: “I can only be disappointed with this sixth place, because today I could definitely have fought for a place on the podium. Unfortunately, the incident caused by Webber cost me too much time and I dropped to tenth place. That meant I had to pass so many drivers to try and catch up to the leaders again, but by then it was anyway too late. The collision with Webber did not do any damage: he hit my wheels and that pushed me into a spin when we were at the second corner. I braked slightly late, taking the inside line and, going round the outside, he would never have got past. I am really disappointed, because the car was not bad today in terms of pace and even when we were running the Medium tyres in the final stint of the race, we were reasonably quick and degradation was pretty low. Now we hope to have a bit more luck in the final six races of the season.”
Pat Fry: “We expected a very close race and that’s what we got right from the start. These twenty three points are more or less in line with what we could have expected from our potential at this track. Over the weekend, we worked a lot to improve the performance of the car and the result of that was there to see, considering where we started from on Friday morning. The drivers were great, always getting the most out of the car and the guys were also impeccable during the pit stops. From a strategy point of view it was a relatively simple race to interpret and, given how the early stages of the race evolved, we tried to cover what our main competition was doing. We knew that on the Medium, the performance gap would be higher than on the Soft, but we still managed to maintain this podium place which was our realistic target going into the race. The European season is over and the final part begins, which will see us travel the world for two months: we will look to do our best and bring home some wins.”
Driver Pos. Time Gap Laps FL
Alonso 3rd 1:21.03.081 +16.909 53 1.27.191
Massa 6th 1:21.29.165 +42.993 53 1.26.924
Weather: air 32 °C, track 38/37 °C; sunny. Chassis: Alonso 291, Massa 290
Italian GP – Alonso returns to Monza podium
Monza, 11 September – After 53 of the most thrilling Formula 1 laps witnessed in many years, the loyal Ferrari “tifosi” were able to charge onto the track in their thousands to cheer a Prancing Horse driver on the magnificent podium which hangs over the Monza pit lane. For the second year in succession, Fernando Alonso was able to savour the special moment. In 2010 he was there as the winner and this year, the Spaniard was third, which was absolutely the best result available to Ferrari in its home race. On the top step was Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull driver now only needs one podium finish at the next race to clinch his second consecutive title. In second place was McLaren’s Jenson Button. The result sees Fernando go second in the classification on 172 points, a slim 5 points in front of Button and Mark Webber, who crashed out of today’s race. Felipe Massa finished in his grid position, sixth, but he too would have been fighting at the front, but for a spin in the very early stages when the blameless Brazilian was nudged by Webber.
Monza looked at its best with the sun shining and a packed crowd, in mainly red grandstands, many of them flying giant Prancing Horse banners and with these flags waving him on as the lights went out, Fernando made a fantastic start, heading off three abreast along with pole man Vettel and Hamilton, with the Ferrari diving into the lead going into the first corner. Behind the McLaren came Schumacher who had made a great start from eighth to fourth, one place ahead of Felipe who moved up one position. However, a collision towards the back of the field which knocked out Dambrosia, Petrov, Rosberg and Liuzzi meant the Safety Car came out immediately. The Safety Car came in at the end of lap 3, and Button passed Webber to go sixth, while at the front Fernando had Vettel glued to his rear wing. Lap 4 saw Schumacher move ahead of Hamilton and thus started a fantastic duel. On lap 5, Vettel went into the lead and further back, Webber drove into the back of Felipe, knocking the front wing off the Red Bull and sending the Brazilian into a spin which dropped him to tenth. A bit further on, the Australian crashed off the track. By lap 6, Vettel led Fernando by 2.8 seconds, with Schumacher and Hamilton locked in battle for third, a second down and one lap later, Felipe was recovering from his spin and was seventh and by lap 10 he was sixth, but a long way behind Button. Vettel was gradually pulling away from Fernando but all eyes were on the thrilling battle between Schumacher and Hamilton for third, with the Englishman finally getting past on the way into the first chicane on lap 13, but Schumacher got past again, as Button now closed right up to his team-mate. Button then made the most of the train to nip past Hamilton and pull away, as the German Mercedes driver pitted for fresh rubber at the end of lap 16 with Button coming in on 17 and Hamilton on 18. At the front, Vettel led Fernando by over ten seconds, until the Ferrari man changed tyres at the end of 19.
Vettel relinquished the lead on lap 20 as he changed tyres and out on track, Schumacher and Hamilton were still locked together, now battling for fifth. Yet to pit, Felipe changed rubber on lap 21. With all the front runners having changed tyres, the order on lap 22 was Vettel, 11.7 ahead of Fernando, with Button third followed by the Schumacher – Hamilton duo who appeared to be tied together, so close were they for lap after lap. Perez had not yet pitted the Sauber and was sixth ahead of Felipe, but on lap 24 the Brazilian passed the Mexican for sixth. Button was now closing on Alonso’s 150º Italia and on lap 27, Hamilton finally took fourth place off Schumacher. Round lap 30, Button’s challenge appeared to fade as he was over a second behind Fernando, but that would change. Felipe meanwhile was now having a solitary race in sixth, 13 seconds behind Schumacher and 12 ahead of Perez.
On lap 33, Button was the first of the leaders to make a second tyre change, as Perez retired the Sauber at the side of the track. Alonso and Hamilton both pitted on lap 34. The leader in the Red Bull came in next time round. Lap 36 and now it was Button and Fernando racing wheel to wheel, with the McLaren coming out on top and the Englishman then pulled out an instant lead as the Spaniard was slightly delayed behind a Lotus backmarker. Schumacher pitted from second on lap 37. The top four order was Vettel, 15.7 ahead of Button, with Fernando 0.7 behind the McLaren, with Felipe yet to stop in fourth. Felipe changed tyres on lap 41 dropping to sixth behind Schumacher. From then on the positions remained unchanged at the front, except that with a few laps to go, Hamilton started to close on Fernando, even pulling alongside the Ferrari at one point. But the Ferrari man kept cool as the crowd had its collective heart in its mouth on the last lap.
The race, which will go down in history as a classic, saw Michael Schumacher come home fifth ahead of Felipe, with Alguersuari seventh for Toro Rosso, then came Di Resta in the Force India, Bruno Senna in the Renault, with the final point going to Sebastien Buemi in the second Toro Rosso. The F1 circus now says farewell to Europe and heads off for the first round of the final sextet of races, the night time Grand Prix around the streets of Singapore, in a fortnight’s time.