Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has added a few more points to his Championship campaign after winning the FIA Formula One 2013 Italian Grand Prix.
The reigning World Champion has finished the race weekend with double success. The German not only secured the team’s 50th pole position in qualifying yesterday, but went on to end up on the top step of the podium giving Red Bull their 40th race victory to date.
Vettel remained in control from the start all the way to take the chequered flag at the end of the 53 lap marathon and managed to keep second place man, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso behind him in the process. Alonso did not appear to match the pace of Vettel to fight for the victory in front of the team’s home crowd in Monza, but still made it on the podium and received a rapturous cheer from the fans in any case.
Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber had a few ups and downs in the race when his car suffered damage to the front wing, but he overcame this issue by the end. The Australian went on to complete his final European race in Formula One, to take the third and final spot on the podium and this being his first and last appearance in the top three at this Grand Prix circuit.
Alonso’s team mate, Felipe Massa sadly missed out on a podium finish to accompany the Spaniard there for the team’s home race and had to settle for fourth place.
Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg was the surprise in qualifying yesterday when he finished the session to line up on today’s grid in third place. The German driver seemed to maintain a similar level of performance in the race and just dropped down by a couple of places to secure fifth place for himself.
Mercedes’ driver Nico Rosberg appeared to keep out of the limelight through the majority of the race with the exception of a few scraps for position with his rivals on the track. His fellow countryman Hulkenberg may have pipped him to the post for fifth place, but Rosberg followed closely behind to finish in sixth place.
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo seemed to be on good form in terms of race pace and fought with some of the other midfield runners on the track. The Australian had a solid end to the proceedings as well despite finishing where he started the Grand Prix in seventh place.
Lotus Renault’s Romain Grosjean had a bit of a rocky start to his race on the first lap. The Frenchman unexpectedly got knocked from behind by Force India’s Paul Di Resta, who reported that his tyres locked up which resulted in the incident between the pair. Grosjean seemed to escape from this unscathed, but Di Resta was forced to retire from the race due to suspected front wing and suspension damage which makes it his second consecutive one this season. The incident between Grosjean and Di Resta caught the attention of the stewards who decided that it would be investigated after the race for the purpose of causing a collision. It has not yet been confirmed as to whether the stewards will take any further action with the incident or not. Grosjean crossed the finish line to claim eighth place for himself.
Rosberg’s team mate, Lewis Hamilton did not seem to have the best race weekend, after qualifying in a disappointing 12th place yesterday and the Englishman faced more during the Grand Prix. It was reported on lap 12 that his car had a slow puncture developing which he seemed to nurse for a few laps before visiting the pits for a tyre change. Hamilton’s race then went from bad to worse at that point when it was reported that there was a problem with the team radio and he could not hear the team trying to communicate with him. The team then had to revert to the old fashioned way of using the pit board to send messages to Hamilton. The 2008 World Champion did manage to overcome these issues towards the end of the Grand Prix and moved through the field to take ninth place.
McLaren’s Jenson Button had alarm bells ringing prior to the race start when the team discovered that there was a fuel system related problem with the car. Fortunately, the mechanics worked their magic on the car and Button was able to start the race alongside the other 21 drivers on the grid. As the action was drawing to a close, Button did seem to struggle for pace which was reflected in the two positions he lost to Grosjean and Hamilton who got in front of him. Button did keep Lotus Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen at bay though and he picked up the top 10 final point scoring position for himself.
Raikkonen was accompanied by the rest of the drivers who also failed to secure a place in the top 10 by the end of the race. The Finnish driver had a slight mishap early on in the race when it was reported that he ran into the back of Button’s team mate, Sergio Perez. Raikkonen had to visit the pits for his front wing to be repaired which was damaged as a result of the incident. Perez seemed to be unaffected from the close encounter with Raikkonen and he continued in the race straight away.
Di Resta had an unfortunate start and swift end to his race on lap one and the Scotsman was joined in retirement by Ricciardo’s team mate, Jean-Eric Vergne, who stopped at the side of the track on lap 15 with smoke coming from the back of his car which was due to a suspected engine or hydraulic failure.
Di Resta and Vergne were the only two retirements in the fairly problem free race, but Di Resta’s team mate, Adrian Sutil, came into the pits on the final lap and did not return to the track. Sutil may not have crossed the finish line but his position outside of the top 10 was still seen as classified in any case.
Hopes of Ferrari success on home soil may have been dashed this weekend by Vettel’s triumph, but on a personal level the German seems to be going the right way about aiming for his fourth consecutive Drivers’ title and Constructors’ for the team as well with the consistent results he his achieving. The Monza circuit has a particular significance to Vettel as it was where he secured his first Formula One victory back in 2008. Vettel has now won the Italian Grand Prix on three occasions and it proved to be third time lucky for him today.
The drivers and teams now have two weeks until their Championship battle resumes on the track when they head to the Marina Bay circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix.