Monza – Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has clinched his 32nd career victory at the Italian Grand Prix, Pirelli’s home race and the fastest circuit of the year. Vettel’s third win at Monza makes him draw level with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in overall Formula One race victories, with both drivers having won 32 races apiece.
Alonso also used a one-stop strategy to boost himself from fifth on the grid to second at the end of the race, having started on the P Zero White medium tyre and then switching to the P Zero Orange hard tyre on lap 27.
The race started in ambient temperatures of 26 degrees and despite some drops of rain which fell just before the drivers went out on the grid, conditions remained dry for the full 53 laps. All the drivers started on the medium tyre, apart from the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez who opted to start the race on the hard compound.
The first of the front runners to make a scheduled stop was Lotus’s Romain Grosjean on lap 20, swapping to hard compounds which soon proved to be the popular choice. Race leader Vettel pitted from the lead three laps later, also fitting hards which he ran to the chequered flag.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “With some light rain 30 minutes before the race, some of the cars went onto the grid with the Green intermediates but as the rain subsided we saw the majority of drivers start the race on the mediums. This was a straight-forward one-stop race with no degradation and many cars set their fastest laps towards the end of the race.
Any strategy would have been dependant – as always – on a number of factors, but as the rain held off, Vettel’s decision to start on the mediums with one stop to change to the hards proved a winning combination. Monza is a big test for the tyres with the surface temperature of the tyres heating up to 130 degrees Celsius as the cars exit La Roggia but the tyres coped well with the demands for the whole weekend.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the fans here this weekend – as always the atmosphere is electric at this circuit and we are truly proud to call this our home race.”