Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 4. syyskuuta 2016

Italian GP: First victory for Rosberg at Monza!

The start was the most exciting moment of the Italian GP. Hamilton on pole got a very poor start, which cost the Briton five positions immediately! Teammate Rosberg stormed to the lead. Sebastian had taken the most impressive start of the top five and was right at Rosberg´s tail. It was quite close actually, that Sebastian would have been able to challenge Rosberg for the lead. Kimi in the second Ferrari was right behind his teammate. Williams´ Bottas was fourth and Red Bull´s Ricciardo managed to overtake the Briton on the opening lap as well. Hamilton dropped as far down as P6.  Ricciardo´s teammate Verstappen, on the other hand, had also had a problem at the start. His RB12 got into anti-stall mode, which cost the Dutchman many positions.

Already on lap 2 Hamilton made an overtaking move on Ricciardo and jumped 5th. Only a moment later the Briton had chased down the Finnish Williams pilot Bottas and started putting serious pressure on the Finn. After 8 laps of intense battle and defensive driving, there was nothing Bottas could do to prevent the storming Briton from overtaking him. Meanwhile Kimi was right at his teammate´s tail, but the Iceman was told on the team radio to leave bigger a gap to Sebastian to cool down his engine.

Kimi pitted on lap 16 for a fresh set of super soft Pirellis. Teammate Sebastian came in a lap later, and opted for a similar tyre choice. This was a clear sign, that both Ferraris were on a 2-stop strategy, as they had used only the red-marked super soft compound so far. Sebastian had a small delay during his pit stop, as there was an issue with his rear-left tyre. However, the German re-joined the track right ahead of teammate Kimi.

At this point Rosberg was leading the race with a safe 12-second gap to his teammate. Sebastian and Kimi were some 21 seconds behind Hamilton, so it was going to be close in terms of the track positions after Hamilton´s pit stop. Rosberg pitted not until on lap 25, which was almost the halfway point of the race! Mercedes´ tyre strategy differed significantly from that of Ferrari´s; both Mercedes drivers had started to the race on the yellow-marked soft Pirellis. Pit stop saw Rosberg to opt for the white-marked medium Pirellis! Hamilton pitted a lap after his teammate -for a similar tyre choice. This meant, that Mercedes were on a 1-stop strategy. Hamilton re-joined the track behind the Ferraris of Sebastian and Kimi; but the red team had one more pit stop to make!

Sebastian came in for his second pit stop on lap 34; this time for a fresh set of soft tyres. The Iceman pitted a lap later -also for the soft rubber. It wasn´t a big surprise, that Kimi re-joined the track right behind Red Bull´s Verstappen, as these two have got into a  duel in so many previous races as well. This time things didn´t get heated, as the Dutch Red Bull driver pitted shortly after Kimi. Teammate Ricciardo had his second pit stop not until on lap 38. The Australian "smiling avenger" opted for a fresh set of super soft tyres -which meant an aggressive last stint.

Towards the end of the race there was only one battle on track -between Bottas and Ricciardo for the 5th place. Six laps before the chequered flag the Australian made a bold move on the Finn at the end of the finish straight, and managed to overtake Bottas! Otherwise there was no fight for positions, so all in all it was a bit boring race. Rosberg took his first win at Monza and decreased Hamilton´s lead in the drivers´ championship standings into just 2 points! In spite of the poor start Hamilton made it 2nd quite easily due to the pit stop strategy. Sebastian made all tifosi overwhelmed with joy by completing the podium. Kimi finished a strong 4th. It´s such a shame, it would have been such a pleasure to see both red-suited drivers on the podium at Ferrari´s home race! Ricciardo finished 5th ahead of Bottas. Verstappen had made a stunning (and not questionable!) overtaking move on Force India´s Perez, which made the Dutchman jump 7th.

It´s incredible, how good the Silver Arrows are at the moment. If a driver of any other team got a poor start like Hamilton today, his race would be practically ruined. It would be crazy to even dream about a podium finish. But in terms of Mercedes, even after a poor start, you are able to finish second! It tells all about Mercedes´ superiority at the moment. However, I´m so happy that Sebastian made it on the podium! I´m sure my friend, who was watching the race live at Monza, was so touched to see Sebastian celebrating his 3rd place today!

So now the season in Europe is over and it´s time for the fly-aways... Singapore has always been good to Sebastian, so I´m really looking forward to the next GP weekend!

P.S. You´re welcome to read my thoughts on this weekend´s F1 action also here:

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