Monza 8 September - Scuderia Ferrari finished the Italian Grand Prix with a second and fourth place courtesy of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa respectively. The Spaniard thus consolidates his second place in the championship.
The total points tally from Monza sees the Scuderia move ahead of Mercedes in the Constructors’ classification to take second place.
Both Massa and Alonso made up places at the start, with the Brazilian going second at the first chicane, behind Vettel and ahead of Webber and Fernando.
Alonso immediately began lapping very quickly and dispensed with Webber on lap 3, followed by Massa five laps later. In second place, the Spaniard kept the leader in sight up until lap 24, when the German pitted to change tyres. Next time round Felipe came in, re-emerging behind Webber. Fernando’s stop came on lap 27, switching to the Hards and getting back on track in second place, ten seconds off the leader.
After that, the positions remained unaltered to the chequered flag, the top four drivers crossing the line within 10 seconds of one another. Sebastian Vettel won the race for Red Bull.
Stefano Domenicali: “Today we fought with all the means at our disposal to try and stick with the race leader, but given Vettel’s performance, in the end we could not have done better than this. I send him my congratulations. We know we are up against very strong opponents, but I’m pleased to have seen Ferrari run competitively, being the only team that tried to put Red Bull under pressure. It’s normal to feel some regret, because here at Monza we wanted to repay our fans for their incredible support, which is a great incentive to never give up. The gap in the Drivers’ classification has grown, but in the Constructors’ we have managed to move up to second place. On top of that, there were four Ferrari engines in the top seven at the finish line, which is a very impressive result. Now we must maintain this current form and be ready to make the most of whatever opportunities arise, counting on reliability, which from now to the end of the season will play an important role, while also hoping for a bit of a good luck. Today, Fernando drove an impeccable race, during which he managed the pressure from Webber, who was very competitive and this second place is the result of his great tenacity. I am very a great pity for Felipe because he ran a great race, just missing out on a podium that he absolutely deserved. Looking ahead, Singapore will be important because it will reveal our level of competitiveness on a high downforce circuit: the outcome of that Grand Prix will also be decisive in helping us draw conclusions linked to the gradual changeover of our resources to the 2014 project. While we still have a mathematical chance this year, we will not slacken our efforts one iota”.
Fernando Alonso: “Stepping onto the Monza podium is always a special feeling, as it’s the only one where you can feel all the love that the fans have for the team and it’s the best prize at the end of what was an almost perfect weekend. ‘Almost’ because our championship rivals won and we send them our congratulations.
We went well on both Friday and Saturday, getting both cars in the top five, but Red Bull was able to do better. When Vettel pitted, we were still doing green sector times and so we opted to lengthen the stint as much as possible, at least while Webber was not becoming a threat.
That way, we could have tried to get Vettel on Hard tyres that were fresher by a few laps. We tried our best and even if we have to be realistic about our championship chances, as it’s not an easy task to close down a 53 point gap in the few remaining races, in Formula 1 anything can happen and we will believe in our chances all the way to the finish line in Brazil, always trying to give a hundred percent”.
Felipe Massa: “I am very happy with my race, which went fantastically well right from the beginning, thanks to a nice start which moved me up two places. The pace was good on both compounds and we ran consistently throughout the whole race. It was a shame I lost the place to Webber at the pit stop, because today, the podium was within our grasp and it would have been brilliant to celebrate with our fans at our home race.
Today, overtaking wasn’t easy, because, when you find yourself behind another car, especially in the second sector, you loose a lot of downforce. Overall, the weekend has been very positive for me and for the whole team. We brought home a good points haul, but we know we still have a lot of work to do if we want to improve. As far as that’s concerned, I will be doing my utmost right to the very end of the Championship”.
Pat Fry: “As is traditional here at Monza, we were expecting a very tough race and once again this year, it was extremely close fought from start to finish. It was not hard to interpret the race in terms of strategy, because right from Friday practice, the indications were that tyre degradation levels meant one stop would be enough.
After one of his great starts that we have now grown to know, Felipe lost the place he had gained over Webber who, by bringing forward his pit stop, gained enough of an advantage to ensure his third place. From then on, the gap between the two was never less than a second, therefore Felipe wasn’t able to use the DRS to try and get closer.
Fernando also got a great start and his passing move on Webber at the Roggia was the mark of a true champion. When Vettel came in, Fernando’s times were very competitive and that’s why we tried to delay our stop. We knew that on the Hard tyres our performance deficit would be higher than on the Mediums and we tried to exploit the fresher tyres for the final stages of the race.
The European leg of the season has come to an end and now comes a final rush around the world during which we will try our hardest to continue to put our closest rivals under pressure”.