What did we learn from Monza? Well, we learned that you can have a damn good race without rain. You can have a damn good race without all the silly ‘Mickey Mouse’ Tilke round the houses stop-go circuits. The Italian GP was exciting from start to finish, in the dry, on a circuit that runs through the countryside and dates back many decades.
All due plaudits to Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) who showed he can pass, and has the large cojones when needed. The pass round the outside of Alonso (Ferrari) with two wheels on the grass was just breathtaking. No plaudits for Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber, who yet again crapped in his own nest with a silly crash with Massa (Ferrari) and ended up in the wall, no points, and slips back to fourth in the championship – just like he did 12 months ago in Korea.
A well deserved second place for Jenson Button (McLaren), who is the quiet man in the current championship. After a poor start he managed to pass his team mate Lewis Hamilton, plus Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) and Alonso. Three top drivers and all three soundly beaten. Hamilton, however, did not cover himself with glory and found himself holed up behind Michael Schumacher who showed that he had forgotten none of his race craft. Much noise from the anti-Schumi brigade for leaving no room for Hamilton, so that he ended up with two wheels on the grass. So? Vettel managed to pull it off, Hamilton didn’t, and then whinged to his pit. Sorry, young Lewis, you have a lot to learn yet, including not to daydream while following the safety car and getting left behind.
Michael Schumacher showed he has not lost his enthusiasm and drive. The battle with Hamilton had everyone on the edge of their seats (and Hamilton on the edge of the bitumen). After the race, Schumi said, “The fighting against Lewis was big fun, and my mirrors seemed to be very small at times. We are both known for driving on the limit, and that is what we did. I had to make my car as wide as a truck, and had to stretch the possible as much as I could, but in the end, as expected, he was still faster.” If Mercedes can start providing him with a better car, Vettel might meet his match.
The Toro Rosso team did well with both Algywotsit and Buemi in the points. Algy, from looking as if he were going to be dropped is now the stronger of the two. He should be in Toro Rosso again next year.
One driver who is impressing is Bruno Senna. When in the HRT last year he was an embarrassment. This year he is one of the standout rookies in his Renault.
Paul di Resta (Force India) again drove a solid race to finish eighth, and is the other standout rookie.
The rest of the field were nowhere.
So what else did we learn? Liuzzi (HRT) is a clot, for one. Came storming through from last position and managed at the first corner to take out Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Vitaly Petrov (Renault) and himself, while Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) and Rubens Barrichello (Williams) all suffered damage. The stewards made his clottishness official by penalizing him five grid positions for the (next) Singapore race. Since he is likely to qualify in grid position 24 (i.e. last) anyway, this is another ridiculous stewards’ decision. They would have done better to make him start from the pit lane 20 seconds after the field had left. This way he wouldn’t hit anyone (on the first lap at least).