Take back victory – Italian GP 2014

italyWe had a fairly even Italian Grand Prix. There was some excitement in the battles over positions 5-8, but generally speaking, not much overtaking.

Broadcast direction: Okay I’ll let this one slide on an okay rating although I wasn’t horribly impressed with the race direction. There was a little bit of focus on the middle group action and some peeks at the back through replays. Mostly, I’m letting this time slide on the pit stop stat since nearly all drivers got away with only one pit-stop, so it was not exactly a thing of great focus (though the quota was actually met for the first half of the race).

The Top-10

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton flubbed his start but was able to stay in the top-5, eventually overtaking all other cars before him. When Nico Rosberg went wide for the second time on the first corner, Hamilton claimed the lead and kept it until the end. An amazing drive from Lewis in the midst of some technical problems.
  2. Nico Rosberg – Seemed to be headed for an easy victory, but he ran wide twice in the first corner of the track. Beyond that, no-one came close to the Mercedes cars this race.
  3. Felipe Massa – Despite having one of the fastest cars on track, Massa has had some positively rotten luck all season. The Brazilian really deserved his first podium of the season after a flawless race performance.

Valtteri Bottas also flubbed the start and actually fell from points at the start. However, as the race went on, Bottas overtook everyone in the Top-10 except the leading three racers. It’s unfortunate that Bottas failed to take off since he clearly could have had a shot at the podium, but an amazing recovery never the less. With this score combined with his team-mate Massa’s, Williams has overtaken Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

McLaren had a chance to take home serious points. Kevin Magnussen unfortunately showed some more unsportsmanlike behaviour on track, forcing Bottas off in the first corner and received a 5 second penalty at the end of the race which dropped him from 6th to 10th. Jenson Button struggled furiously with his former team-mate Sergio Perez who got the better of him in the end. Perez and Button came on positions 8th and 9th, 7th and 8th after Magnussen’s penalty.

Red Bull also recovered from a weak qualifying. Daniel Ricciardo toppled his team-mate again by finishing ahead of him with Vettel claiming 6th after Magnussen’s penalty.

Kimi Räikkönen had a hard time keeping up. He only improved one position from the start by finishing 10th, but of course rose to 9th thanks to Magnussen’s penalty.

Golden pineapple award: Daniil Kvyat After earning this season’s first 10 drop penalty for using his 6th engine, Kvyat actually made an impressive rise from grid-21 to the top-10. Still this is the Russian rookie’s second pineapple award. Unfortunately, after the pit stops he found himself outside the points-scoring range. He may have had a chance to challenge Räikkönen for points, but he also went wide (at a considerably higher speed than Rosberg) in the first turn. Better luck next time.

Drop-out count: 2

Max Chilton lost control of his car and hit the wall early in the race. Fernando Alonso‘s engine switched itself off as he was coming near the first corner halfway through the race.

Back of the Lot News:

Whereas Sergio Perez showed a lot of fight and gave a good show, Nico the Hülk got stuck in lower mid-group after his pit stop. It’s sad that he couldn’t make much progress. Jean-Eric Vergne was also considerably upstaged by his team-mate (even if he didn’t win any points), despite all four Red Bull cars being in the Top-10 during the pit-stop mania. Not a great day for Toro Rosso.

Pastor Maldonado actually drove an uncharacteristically incident-free race by finishing 14th while his team-mate, who already had trouble getting his car on track in Q1, experienced issues during the race and fell behind Adrian Sutil, who drove his Sauber to 15th place. After having to sit out on one race, Kamui Kobayashi was back with a vengeance and beat his Marussia nemesis Jules Bianchi by finishing 17th. Really, both of these drivers should consider moving to better teams after the season.

Esteban Gutierrez was about to drive another colourless race, when he managed to carelessly slice up his own tire on Romain Grosjean’s front wing while trying to overtake him. As a result, Gutierrez landed second-to-last at 19th.

Dead last: Marcus Ericsson – Takes back the lead on the Dead Last stat. Another apathetic race which the Swede had to start from the pit-lane.