Italian GP - Last minute podium Monza, 13th September 2009 - Kimi Raikkonen finished the 53 lap Italian Grand Prix, in third place, but his appearance on the podium at the Prancing Horse's home race was in doubt until the very last lap. His ...
Italian GP - Last minute podium
Monza, 13th September 2009 - Kimi Raikkonen finished the 53 lap Italian Grand Prix, in third place, but his appearance on the podium at the Prancing Horse's home race was in doubt until the very last lap. His Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella just missed out on a points place crossing the line ninth. The race was dominated by the Brawn team, who finished first and second, Rubens Barrichello, taking his second win of the year, ahead of Jenson Button. With four races remaining, Ferrari is still third in the Constructors' classification, with 15 points in hand over McLaren.
As usual at Monza, the predominant colour in the grandstands was Ferrari red, the devoted tifosi enthusiastically waving flags, caps and anything else they could find, before the start. Kimi Raikkonen started from the inside of Row 2 and Giancarlo Fisichella was making his Ferrari race debut from Row 7 in fourteenth place. When the lights went out, Kimi immediately attacked pole man Hamilton in the McLaren and got ahead of Sutil's Force India to be second on the opening lap. Giancarlo also got a good start moving up three places to eleventh. Webber spun and retired in the Red Bull after tangling with Kubica. The order after two laps was Hamilton, Raikkonen, Sutil, Barrichelllo, Button, Liuzzi, Kovalainen, Alonso, Kubica, Vettel in tenth, then Fisichella, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Nakajima, Trulli, Glock, Buemi, Alguersuari, who started from pit lane and Grosjean, 19th and last.
Rosberg went down to last after pitting to repair accident damage on lap 4. Giancarlo lost a place to Heidfeld's BMW to go twelfth and after six laps, Kimi trailed leader Hamilton by 3.5 and was one second ahead of Sutil. On lap 8, Kubica was shown the black and orange flag, meaning he had to come in and have damage to his car repaired as it was a danger to other cars. By lap 10, Sutil had closed the gap to Kimi to just 0.5 and three laps later it had grown to 0.7 while Giancarlo was back in eleventh, after Kubica pitted. Hamilton was the first to refuel on lap 14, promoting Kimi to the lead, as the McLaren rejoined fifth. Sutil pitted on lap 17 and one lap later, Kimi brought the F60 in. On lap 24, the two Brawns, yet to pit, were leading, Barrichello ahead of Button, while Hamilton was third ahead of Kimi, with Alonso fifth and Sutil sixth. Giancarlo was tenth.
The interest would now centre on the difference between those refuelling once --the Brawns for example and those pitting twice, Kimi and Hamilton, of the leading group. Liuzzi, on his Force India debut, retired with transmission problems. Sixth placed Alonso came in on lap 26 and took on enough fuel to get to the flag, as did Kovalainen next time round. In fourth place, Kimi now trailed Hamilton by 4.7 seconds as the Englishman got ahead in the run of stops. Button refuelled from second place on lap 28 and Barrichello came in one lap later, so that Kimi was now second behind Hamilton, with Sutil 1.4 seconds behind the Ferrari. Yet to stop, Fisichella was now up to seventh, until he made his only pit stop on lap 30, rejoining thirteenth.
The race leader made his final stop on lap 34, rejoining behind the two Brawns, so that Kimi led again, 0.9 ahead of Sutil. The Finn made his final stop on lap 37, at exactly the same time as Sutil. Kimi lost fractions of a second when pulling away, while Sutil knocked over one of his wheel men and lost a mirror. Barrichello and Button therefore occupied the two top slots again, with Kimi fourth, 7.3 behind Hamilton. Kimi had said earlier in the weekend that a podium would be a tough task and it was looking that way as Barrichello and Button were fuelled to the end of the race. Not only was a podium looking unlikely, but with ten laps remaining, the Ferrari man could still not shake off Sutil who was just 0.6 behind. Giancarlo was lying tenth, 6.3 behind Vettel.
It seemed as though the race order would now remain unchanged, however on the very last lap, Lewis Hamilton spun and crashed heavily, thus guaranteeing Kimi a trip to the podium in third place. Giancarlo therefore came very close to a points finish, classified ninth as he crossed the line, as the race ended behind the Safety Car. Also in the points were fourth placed Sutil, then Alonso, Kovalainen, Heidfeld and Vettel.