• Sep 12, 2010

2010 Italian Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

"When all is said and done," wrote the English poet Margaret Sackville, "monotony may after all be the best condition for creation." That may be, but it sure doesn't bode well for motorsport, where the domination of a single team can (and often does) lead to boring racing.

Enthusiasts tuning in for Saturday qualifying have been met with just such monotony, as Red Bull Racing has taken the pole in all but two races so far. The exceptions came when Lewis Hamilton took pole (and rode it all the way to the checkered flag) in Montreal, and this weekend, where the final starting grid could hardly have given the local fans more hope if Silvio Berlusconi, Leonardo da Vinci or Luciano Pavarotti had taken it himself. Follow the jump to find out how it went down.




After three hotly contested rounds of qualifying at Monza, Red Bull's Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were consigned to fourth and sixth places on the grid, respectively. Sandwiched between them in fifth was former world champion Lewis Hamilton, his defending champion teammate Jenson Button wedged between the two Ferraris of Felipe Massa in third and Fernando Alonso on pole.

2010 Italian Grand Prix

With the stage set in a sea of red, it was Button who got the drop on his rivals at the start, edging out Alonso into the first corner. Massa looked even faster off the line, but was forced to back off with no room to pass.

Starting from fourth, championship leader Mark Webber stammered off the line and dropped to ninth, but the start proved far more disastrous for one of his chief rivals: After passing Webber, and in a bid to join his wingman in out-maneuvering the Ferraris, Hamilton came into contact with the back of Massa's Ferrari, sending the McLaren into the gravel. Hamilton's race was over almost before it started, while his teammate led the pair of Ferraris, the three leaders opening up an insurmountable gap ahead of the trailing field.

Once the race settled into its pace, Button held the lead, with Alonso right on his tail and Massa only a heartbeat behind them. Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg trailed in fourth, ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica (5th), Williams' Nico Hulkenberg (6th), Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel (7th) and Mark Webber, having barely squeezed by longtime local hero Michael Schumacher (8th and 9th respectively) and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi in tenth.

2010 Italian Grand Prix2010 Italian Grand Prix

As the frontrunners rattled off one fast lap after another, Force India's Tonio Liuzzi surprised his countrymen with some blistering lap times of his own, passing Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa for 12th place as he worked to advance up the field.
Around a third of the way through the race, Vettel gave way to Webber while reporting unspecified engine trouble.

Little had changed, however, by the midway point, with Alonso and Massa still trailing Button in the lead, and Nico Rosberg still in fourth – now fifteen seconds off Massa's tail – followed by the rest of the field (Kubica, Hulkenberg, Webber, Vettel, Schumacher and Buemi to tenth). Once the ambulance brought in to assist an HRT mechanic hit by Sakon Yamamoto cleared the pit lane, the first round of stops began, opening up the field for shake-ups on the calendar's fastest circuit.

2010 Italian Grand Prix
2010 Italian Grand Prix2010 Italian Grand Prix

Rosberg and Webber were among the first to pit, abandoning fourth and seventh places respectively and rejoining in seventh and ninth. The most crucial pit stops, however, came in the following couple of laps as the front-runners headed in for their obligatory tire changes.

Button pitted on lap 37, handing the lead (in the interim) to Alonso. The defending champ (Button) rejoined in third behind both Alonso and Massa, but after the double champion (Alonso) headed in on the following lap, he rejoined just – and we mean just – ahead of Button, initiating a wheel-to-wheel battle straight into the first corner. Massa, meanwhile, pitted on the next lap, and rejoined in status-quo third place, sandwiching Button's McLaren once again between the two Ferraris.



And so the race proceeded largely without incident for the remaining laps. Jarno Trulli retired his Lotus-Cosworth in a puff of smoke on lap 49. Webber advanced past Hulkenberg on lap 50 for sixth place. And Vettel, evidently recovered from whatever was troubling his Renault V8, waited until the penultimate lap to fulfill the obligatory tire-swap rule, rejoining in the same fourth place he was in prior to the stop.

Button never managed to get past Alonso and reclaim the lead, taking a jubilant and well-earned second place finish ahead of Felipe Massa on the podium. Palpable was the excitement among the tifosi to see the podium draped in scarlet, monotony the farthest thing from their minds. And you can bet that Santander – the financial group that not only title-sponsored the race but also (like Marlboro before them) both the Ferrari and McLaren teams – got its money's worth.



With the remaining points going to Vettel, Rosberg, Webber, Hulkenberg, Kubica, Schumacher and Barrichello (who edged out Buemi for tenth place), Webber retains the lead in the drivers' standings with 187 points. Hamilton remains securely in second (182) despite his mishaps this weekend. Alonso now trails in third place with 166, Button just behind in fourth with 165 and Vettel in fifth with 163, leaving things still fairly open with five races to go as the circus sets sail for Singapore for the nighttime race two weeks from today.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The race was ok; after the first lap it got really boring. The only real entertainment came from the first three cars battling it out and some of Webber's passes (why the hell wasn't Hulkenberg penalised?).

      And I totally agree about the previous comment re the Red Bull clutches at launch; both of Webber's last two races have been flawless barring the start. If he hadn't engaged the anti-stall at Spa I reckon he'd have won it...
      • 4 Years Ago
      hey we're talking about cars...
      • 4 Years Ago
      If anyone thinks that Vettel let Webber through they are completely delusional. Vettel knows he's the RedBull favorite.

      As a matter of fact pitting Webber when it would have been smart strategy to leave him out made me wonder... why? Were they trying to allow Vettel to do that?

      If Webber didnt pit he could have finished as high as 4th

      But anyway, great drive by him none the less, he showed he can do what his teammate can't, be both fast, and overtake.
        • 4 Years Ago
        For crying out loud.... Webber won in Hungary because of different strategy and would have won even if Vettel hadn't had to do a drive-through. In Monza, same kind of approach worked for Vettel. Banzai laps on old tires, stay out as long as you have a clear track ahead. End of story.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Then MAYBE they done it to allow vettel to not pit and to get Mark into the pits.

        It wasn't in a move to further marks position thats for sure.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Webber is higher in the driver's standings. That's why he let him pass.

        Vettel's fastest lap of the race so far was right before he claimed his engine went away and he quickly returned to speed, Vettel set the fastest lap of the race after his engine "troubles", IIRC.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly. Conspiracy theories of team orders at Red Bull for this race are obviously rubbish when you see how Vettel leapfrogged Webber with a better pit stop strategy. The two teams were battling eachother as much as anyone else and not colluding, which is the way it should be.

        Which makes the choice of no punishment to Ferrari for team orders at the WMSC meeting the other day such a disappointment. Having one driver pull over to let his teammate past rather than actually race is just a slap in the face for fans. And without fans this series would not exist.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good race. it really came down to the pits in the end. Button and Alsono were racing at about the same level. The distance between them didn't change and they kept one upping each other on fastest laps. The pits is where the race was one and it's a good lesson in strategy. I wouldn't say Mclaren was worse in the pits, just Ferrari was better.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is right. Race came down to a good pit stop by Ferrari; Alonso acknowledged the in lap wasn't anything too special.

        The bigger issue is the relative lack of pace by Red Bull... Webber needs to put together a few more podiums to sew this thing up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good race?!? Seriously it was yet another boring race in F1 season. Only intresting part of F1 is start and after that it's dreary parade driving for rest of the race. They should ditch all aerodynamic downforce and only allow mechanical like many experts have been saying for years. Most of the rule changes haven't fixed fact that overtaking is too hard due aerodynamics. Try watch BTCC or DTM and you find what true racing is.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Congrats to Webber for actually making some passes on the track. And a very interesting start. Otherwise, just a regular parade with the position changes taking place in the pits.

      I think we also probably saw with Vettel's theater about his engine why barring team orders may seem like a good idea in practice but has no actual effect.

      Finally, how many people does F1 have to injure before they start taking safety in the pit lane seriously?
        • 4 Years Ago
        safety is paramount in F1. the mechanic who got injured was because of the lollipop man raising his sign too early and the driving reacting to it being raised
        • 4 Years Ago
        I thought long and hard. Yes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Safety isn't taken as seriously as it could be.

        They allow so many people out there, including those unfamiliar with being in an active pit lane (as happened today) and they don't even have anyone watching them. They can get someone out there to monitor safety practices in a sports car race but can't do it in Formula One?

        As long as injuries are tolerated, producing no on-the-track penalties, teams will be tempted to trade safety for pit times and injuries will continue to be higher than they need to be.
        • 4 Years Ago
        do you actually think vettel would obey team orders and allow webber passed?

        think long and hard
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm sorry, all mechanics have to wear fireproof, padded vests, gloves, full helmet and goggles and they are only allowed to stay out of the boxes for two laps at a time when they must do the pit stop. safety IS taken seriously, but the chance of an accident can never be reduced to zero.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And speaking of cars pulling over, seeing so many cars pull off track to let the cars near the front pass bothered me. It's already tough enough to pass because everything is so automatic in the cars that there are few opportunities to take advantage of driver mistakes. But at least slower cars can still present a chance for one driver to take advantage, right? Not when they pull over.

      I really wish Formula One worked more like sports car racing. I know the drivers wouldn't like it, but maybe the fans would.
      • 4 Years Ago
      “I obviously lost lots of time behind Hülkenberg; he spent every second lap going through the chicanes - the stewards did a hard job on him - they left him alone - so that was interesting.”

      spewing, and rightly so!
      • 4 Years Ago
      For the record, any Italian with a grain of salt even in his pockets dislikes Silvio Berlusconi.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Fantastic race for the italians, but please don't put on the same level berlusconi with the others; in Italy he's like al capone, nixon and bush put together. thx
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is a shame that they can't fix the clutch issue on race day for Webber's car; how many GP's has it been now? How many more positions can they afford to just keep throwing away?

        • 4 Years Ago
        Sounded like his engine bogged a bit to me, I agree with JMF, the clutch is not doing its job at launch.
        • 4 Years Ago
        He got off the line ok but was swamped

        If you watch the first lap from his car its really only Hamilton that jumps him, he just as usual got pushed onto the wrong side of the track.

        Than Schumacher pushed him off to the left, allowing vettel to jump by.
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