Monza Grand Prix 2011 – Race Report
The first half of the Monza Grand Prix was quite exciting with several crashes and a safety car session at the very start. However, past the half-point there wasn’t much excitement with the race lead getting away very soon and with distances between cars becoming quite huge. Still, the race was much more exciting than most of the races in the early part of the season.
Race Direction: Good
I have to say that I couldn’t find much to be critical of about the way the race direction was handled. The large amount of retirements of course meant that the director was able to pick off most of the pit-stops though for the first stops it was less regular. Apart from two very brief yellow-flags all other off-road activity got caught on camera and the director even focused on the middle-group struggles which was commendable.
At the start it looked like Sebastian Vettel would have to fight for the race victory, but he regained his number one spot after the safety car, afterwards no-one even came near him. Jenson Button didn’t have the most stellar start but after taking down Schumacher and Alonso, the man definitely deserved to be on the second highest podium today. Fernando Alonso had a fantastic start but then lost to Vettel after the safety can and to Button once Jense got close enough. Still, a solid drive from the Spaniard.
Lewis Hamilton struggled to get past Michael Schumacher and at one point lost control of his car which allowed his team-mate to overtake him. In the end though, Hamilton did beat Schumi, finishing fourth ahead of him. Schumi’s drive start was impressive and his fifth place a notable improvement from his starting position.
Felipe Massa got rear-ended by Webber in the first chicane of the track and due to a spin fell behind. He was not able to improve his standings from the start finishing sixth. With Sutil’s retirement, Paul Di Resta was the only Force India car to finish (8th).
A good day for Toro Rosso who got both cars to points. Jaime Alguersuari made the most impressive rise from 18th in the start to finishing seventh by the end. His team-mat, Sebastian Buemi, had to yield to Bruno Senna‘s Renault but still finished on points. Senna was ninth and Buemi tenth.
Golden Pineapple Award
Pastor Maldonado and the Williams Team can finally add their name to the pineapple chart. Maldonado’s poor drive definitely wasn’t his fault since he got caught in the last chicane when he had to stop his car in order to avoid hitting the three cars that got taken out by Liuzzi. Not a good day for Williams at any rate.
Drop-out count: 8
A season-high matching amount of drop-outs (there were also eight retirements in Malaysia). A car froze already on the starting line. I believe this was Jerome D’Ambrosio as he did not appear on the track throughout the whole race. Technical difficulties also ended the race for Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi. HRT’s Daniel Ricciardo was also left without an official race result since he was pulled into the pits to repair his car, although he was put back onto the track.
At the very start of the race Vitantonia Liuzzi’s HRT car went off track and slid into the cars of Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg who were just entering the opening chicane. This brought in the safety car. The stewards ruled that Liuzzi was entirely to blame for the accident and will be receiving a penalty-drop in the next race of the season.
Mark Webber also experienced his first retirement of the season when he hit Massa’s car in the chicane. This caused his front wing to fall out of place. A little later Webber ran off the track when the wing went under his car and hit the wall.
Back of the Lot News
There’s really nothing much to talk about. Rubens Barrichello must have been caught in the chicane crash as well since he was only able to rise one position from the start, to finish 12th, and driving much of the race behind the Lotus cars.
With both HRT cars effectively out of the race and only Timo Glock left to defend Virgin’s honour, Team Lotus was once again, easily, the best of the new teams. Heikki Kovalainen got a great start and was even driving at position 11 though he eventually finished in the familiar spot 13 ahead of his team-mate, Jarno Trulli.