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Italian Grand Prix – Monza Race Day

September 13, 2009

There was no sign of rain, as the Italian Grand Prix got underway today, and it looked like it would be a strategy battle between those on a one-stop and those on two.

Mark Webber’s championship hopes were pretty much shot on lap , after he was swiped by BMW’s Robert Kubica at the Roggia chicane, and ended up in the gravel. BBC pundit David Coulthard said afterwards he had seen Webber on his return to the Red Bull motorhome, and

He didn’t look like he was in a talkative mood, so I left him to it

You can’t blame Webber – there was nothing he could have done about this other than qualify better yesterday, but he was only one place behind team-mate Vettel, suggesting the car was about where it should have been. Webber’s only hope now is third, realistically, and for that he’s going to need Vettel to blow another engine and get a penalty. So, he may be in luck at Singapore!

Back in the race, the Brawns got a good start, getting past Heikki Kovalainen, who was the main danger, and not letting Fernando Alonso through. Kimi Raikkonen continued to display his ‘lack of motivation’ to outgun Adrian Sutil in the first corner to steal second. Hamilton drove away at the front, and needed to open up a good lead before his first stop to retain the lead.

This he failed to manage, as Rubens Barrichello was well on pace, and Jenson Button was keeping up too. After the first stop, Hamilton had lost places to both Brawns, but was on course for third. He had no help from team-mate Kovalainen who was still going backwards, and was tangling with Alonso and Liuzzi, until Liuzzi’s retirement. As Hamilton faced his second stop, he knew he could not win, but he managed to stay ahead of Raikkonen and Sutil, both of who came close to blowing their second stops. Raikkonen just got out ahead of Sutil to keep fourth. At this, Hamilton decided to pick off Jenson Button and aim for second, throwing everything into each lap. Ultimately, this was his undoing, as he spun off at the second Lesmo curve, crashing into the barrier and ending his race. Jenson also tells in this interview how confident he was, and how he ended up telling his race engineer to ‘chill’. It was also pointed out in the post race on BBC, that Jenson had it together, whilst Lewis was the one getting ragged as he tried to go faster.

Kimi Raikkonen held off Adrian Sutil, whilst managing not to take him out of the race, as he has so often before, to take a gifted third on the podium, in front of Ferrari’s famed tifosi. I believe he nearly smiled in the press conference, but that may have been down to the champagne.

The final race result was

Pos  Driver        Team                      Time
 1.  Barrichello   Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1h16:21.706
 2.  Button        Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  +     2.866
 3.  Raikkonen     Ferrari               (B)  +    30.664
 4.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  (B)  +    31.131
 5.  Alonso        Renault               (B)  +    59.182
 6.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  +  1:00.693
 7.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber            (B)  +  1:22.412
 8.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault      (B)  +  1:25.427
 9.  Fisichella    Ferrari               (B)  +  1:26.856
10.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       (B)  +  2:00.000
11.  Glock         Toyota                (B)  +  2:43.925
12.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  +     1 lap
13.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  +     1 lap
14.  Trulli        Toyota                (B)  +     1 lap
15.  Grosjean      Renault               (B)  +     1 lap
16.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota       (B)  +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Sutil, 1:24.739

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                      On lap
Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes  (B)    23
Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)    20
Kubica        BMW Sauber            (B)    16
Webber        Red Bull-Renault      (B)    1

Jenson Button now has a fourteen point lead over Rubens Barrichello in the drivers championship, and should have gone some way to dispelling the rumours that he’d lost his nerve and would bottle the title race.

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