Hamilton wins as Perez charges to second

2012 Italian Grand Prix review

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Lewis Hamilton scored a dominant win in the Italian Grand Prix for McLaren.

But he finished less than five seconds ahead of Sergio Perez, who battled through the field from 12th on the grid, passing both the Ferraris on the way.

Fernando Alonso also made a recovery drive, finishing third after team mate Felipe Massa gave way to him.

Massa splits the McLarens

Massa made a strong getaway from third on the grid at the start, quickly passing Jenson Button. He drew alongside Hamilton as they braked for the first corner, but had to settle for passing just one of the McLarens.

Michael Schumacher held fourth behind him, under pressure from Sebastian Vettel, while team mate Nico Rosberg fell back.

Alonso appeared behind Vettel after a scintillating first lap. He picked up two places at the start, then slipstreamed past Kamui Kobayashi. He crossed the start/finish line in Kimi Raikkonen’s tow and easily dived up the inside of the Lotus for sixth.

Vettel put Schumacher between himself and the Ferrari but it didn’t take long for Alonso to find a way past and appear behind Vettel. A few laps later Schumacher headed for the pits, the Mercedes driver having to make two pit stops on a day when most got away with just one.

Vettel handed penalty

Massa was gradually dropping back from Hamilton, the gap between the two opening up to 4.7 seconds by lap 15. But as the teams paid close attention to the state of their tyres, Ferrari ran into difficulty as they lost the telemetry feed from Massa’s car.

On the 19th tour Button drew alongside the Ferrari on the outside as they headed into the Roggia, and claimed back the second place he’d lost on the first lap. Massa radioed his pits and told them he was coming in, and on the next lap Alonso did likewise, following Vettel down pit lane.

Ferrari’s stop was almost quick enough to get Alonso out in front of the Red Bull but it wasn’t to be: he emerged on the tail of the RB8. Along with Massa, the trio had dropped back into the midfield pack.

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First was Daniel Ricciardo, who Vettel made slight contact with as they exited the Roggia. Alonso followed Vettel through at Lesmo 1.

Next was Bruno Senna, and this time Vettel briefly got the Williams between him and Alonso. But not for long – Alonso opened DRS, passed Senna on the run to Ascari, and latched back onto the rear of Vettel.

What followed next was a near-repeat of the 2011 incident at Curva Grande, but with roles reversed: Alonso was the one trying to pass Vettel, and Vettel edged him onto the grass.

The other significant difference was that this time a penalty was handed down – to Vettel. Alonso passed him later anyway, and Vettel came in shortly afterwards to serve his drive-through.

Perez comes into contention

While Alonso was passing Vettel, Hamilton was taking his lead back – from Perez. The Sauber driver had started on the hard tyres and ran a long first stint. He picked up places the hard way to begin with, taking Rosberg, Senna, Paul di Resta, team mate Kobayashi, and Raikkonen.

Hit belated first pit stop dropped him to eighth and he gained his first place when Button hit trouble on lap 34. A fuel pick-up problem ended his race as the approached the Parabolica.

Perez’s progress was delayed by Raikkonen at first, the Lotus driver re-passing him at Lesmo 1 after the Sauber had gone around the outside of him for the second time at the Roggia. Perez got the job done for good on the next lap despite approaching the Rettifilio on the outside of Raikkonen.

Vettel’s drive-through and Schumacher’s second pit stop brought the Sauber up to fourth, with plenty of laps left for his superior pace on the medium tyres to make trouble for the cars ahead.

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Team orders at Ferrari?

With Alonso now third behind Massa a change of positions between the Ferraris was an inevitability. Team orders being legal now, Ferrari could have simply instructed Massa to move aside.

If one was given, it was not broadcast on the team radio channel. Rob Smedley told Massa “think about how you’re going to manage the tyres” – not that Smedley was able to monitor Massa’s tyres via the lost telemetry.

Shortly afterwards Smedley advised Massa that Alonso was within DRS range, and the inevitable swap duly took place on the start/finish straight. After that it wasn’t long before Massa was given a hurry-up message as Perez appeared just over four seconds behind him.

But that was in vain. The Sauber was taking over a second per lap off the Ferraris and Perez was soon on Massa’s tail. He didn’t even need DRS to get the past, though he came perilously close to clipping the Ferrari as he blasted past on the way to the Parabolica.

His next target was Alonso, who could ill-afford any problems in a battle with a Sauber on a day when his closest championship rival was mired in the midfield. Perez claimed second place on the outside of Alonso going into Ascari.

Hamilton heads Perez at finish

Hamilton said afterwards he was pleased to hear Perez had demoted Alonso, but the team were sufficiently concerned about the threat from the Sauber to ask Hamilton to up his pace. He duly did so and had enough in hand to keep Perez at bay.

Alonso completed the podium ahead of Massa, who is still looking for his first top-three finish since 2010. Raikkonen held off Schumacher for fifth despite the Mercedes having fresher tyres, and Rosberg came in seventh.

The Mercedes pair gained two places late in the race at the expense of Red Bull, who had a disastrous final few laps. First Vettel, having passed Webber, pulled over with a repeat of the alternator problem he’d suffered in the final practice session – itself a recurrence of the problem that ended his race in Valencia.

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Then Webber spun at the exit of Ascari, flat-spotting both his tyres, leading him to call it a day.

Di Resta was passed by both Mercedes and finished eighth ahead of Kobayashi. Ricciardo was in tenth place as the final lap began but dropped back with a problem and was passed by both the Williamses.

Senna took the final point which was some consolation for a bruising race. Rosberg edged him off at the Rettifilio early on and the Williams also took to the run-off while battling Di Resta. Senna returned to the track very close to Webber, who dodged around him.

Jerome D’Ambrosio ended his stand-in duty for Lotus in 13th, the last driver on the lead lap.

The Caterham pair crossed the finishing line separated by a tenth of a second, Heikki Kovalainen ahead of Vitaly Petrov, the pair just ten seconds ahead of Charles Pic’s Marussia.

Timo Glock and the HRT drivers were the last of the drivers running at the end. The two Red Bulls were classified despite stopping, as was Nico Hulkenberg.

Joining Button in retirement was Jean-Eric Vergne, who lost control of his car at the Rettifilio early on and flew through the air after hitting the kerb at the inside of the track. He complained of back pain but climbed out of the car and later said on Twitter he will definitely be fit for Singapore.

Hamilton’s win means he is now Alonso’s closest championship rival, with Raikkonen just one point behind. Alonso’s successful damage-limitation job leaves him ahead in the championship to the tune of more than a win.

With Perez joining them on the podium, the Italian Grand Prix belonged to the three drivers whose races where ended by the first-lap carnage at Spa one week ago.

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2012 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 111 comments on “Hamilton wins as Perez charges to second”

    1. A RBR DDNF. What a great day for the tifosi! :)

      1. with the exception that their greatest rival (McLaren) won on their home track, from pole.

        1. There’s greatest rival and current rival, which is Red Bull at the moment. Mclaren did them a favour by duely taking points away from Red Bull at this race. Alonso would have been good enough for the win had he not had a failure of his rear anti-roll bar, and qualified so low.

          Singapore is a track which Red Bull are likely to resurge at. They’ve gone well there since 2009, and that’s unlikely to change this year. It’s a track which Alonso is fairly good at, and one which Hamilton is so-so at. On balance, Ferrari and Alonso couldnt have asked for a better possible result from Monza.

        2. @blockwall2 yet it could have been a podium with 2 Mclaren and 1 sauber and no ferrari …

      2. Yes how thrilling that their second fastest driver got to finish in third place ahead of their fastest in fourth. Amazing result.

    2. Ridicilous how Ferrari still can manipulate the stewards.

      Vettel’s defending move versus Alonso at Curva Grande was very much the same what Vettel did to Alonso a year ago. And in 2011 no one even considered handing a penalty to Alonso. But now, when Alonso is the one “suffering” in the incident, the stewards decide to ruin Vettel’s race right away.

      I hope Ferrari will not win driver’s neither constructor’s championships this year.

      1. It clearly wasn’t, first thing is that Alonso gave Vettel sufficient space for a car to get through from himself to the side of the track and didn’t push him wide. Secondly, this year a new regulation was introduced which made it illegal for drivers to not leave a car’s width at the side of the track. And thirdly, if you believe in ‘Ferrari manipulating the stewards’ conspiracy theories, then surely you must be deluded.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          9th September 2012, 17:15

          That regulation only applied to straights, not corners.

          1. You mean the stewards – including a Spaniard (Silvia Bellot) and an Italian (Emanuele Pirro) – gave a decision for a Spanish driver who drives for an Italian team at the Italian grand prix?

            I am shocked, SHOCKED.

            1. Yawn. They’re independent of the teams, and I’m sure they’re made quite aware of their duties before every race.

              Give it a break. Alonso didnt break any rules last year, as there wasnt a rule to break. Vettel did so this year, a rule which all drivers and teams knew existed and I’m sure had a hand in writing.

              Also, Vettel only had two wheels of the track last year, Alonso was lawnmowing at over 220mph, terrifyingly fast.

      2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        9th September 2012, 16:43

        It was not very much the same at all! In 2011 Alonso left (just) enough room for Vettel to pass. This year Vettel drove Alonso off the road when he was half a car alongside. Clearly different and very dangerous. If it was deliberate then Vettel was lucky just to get a drive through. If it was accidental, as he claims then he’s either not as good as I think he is or he’s a liar.

      3. Actually Vettel didn’t even make a defensive move, he took the same driving line as he did on every lap. The penalty was ridiculous, Vettel was defending and Alonso tried to use a gap that didn’t exist in the first place. Apparently there were Spanish and Italian stewards judging the situation. In Monza. I think it’s obvious what happened. Luckily the penalty didn’t affect the race, since Alonso overtook Vettel anyway and Vettel retired.

        1. it was similar to when Hamilton ran a Toyota wide in 2008. Fact is, in 2012 you should leave a car width if the guy is alongside, which Vettel didn’t do. You can’t just blindly assume the racing line, its not Scalextric. Vettel also has a history of squeezing people off the road and in my opinion it was a deliberate act.

          1. No. The regulations state the following:

            “20.3 More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted. Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off‐line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner.”

            Vettel was never off-line. He wasn’t obliged to leave a car width just because Alonso tried to dive on to his racing line.

            1. Good point. It still was dangerous driving that could have seriously hurt Alonso and worthy of a penalty IMHO, but I understand your reasoning.

            2. @hotbottoms Very nice point. I also like the video below where we clearly see the timing between both event in 2011 and 2012. In 2011 Alonso had no choice but leaving room as they enter the corner together … This year Vettel had already taken his apex when Alonso made his (strange) move. Vettel can’t anticipate and leave room for such unusual move or you don’t have any racing after that. And car have a natural tendancy to be deported to the outside …
              The passes there were usually drivers diving inside with much speed and overtaking in the outside on the next braking point.


          2. “Fact is, in 2012 you should leave a car width if the guy is alongside, which Vettel didn’t do.”

            How can you do that AND stick to the racing line around Curva Grande? Are you honestly suggesting that Vettel should have given up the racing line because Alonso went for a gap that simply was never going to be there?

        2. Pirro (Italian) was there, don’t know if there was Spanish steward as well.

          1. +100 for posting that link! It clearly shows the difference between last years move and this years.

            1. No it bloody doesn’t, as it only shows the exit of Curva Grande, not the entrance. As any fan of motor racing knows, the way how a curve is entered dictates how it is exited.

              The critical difference between 2011 and 2012 is that Vettel makes his move on Alonso much earlier in Curva Grande than Alonso did on Vettel this year.

              Most importantly Vettel attacked before the apex, while Alonso attacked on or after it, when Vettel was already commited to his exit line from Curva Grande.

              The difference is that this meant Alonso had the option to leave space for Vettel, while for Vettel, it was physically impossible.

          2. Thank you so much for posting. It puts ALL pro-Vettel arguments to rest.

      4. Ridicilous how Ferrari still can manipulate the stewards.

        Vettel’s defending move versus Alonso at Curva Grande was very much the same what Vettel did to Alonso a year ago. And in 2011 no one even considered handing a penalty to Alonso. But now, when Alonso is the one “suffering” in the incident, the stewards decide to ruin Vettel’s race right away.

        I hope Ferrari will not win driver’s neither constructor’s championships this year.

        Did you not see the crash at SPA? The marshalls are cracking down on any nonsense behaviour. So regardless of what Alonso did last year, they gave Vettel a penalty this year.

        You are blind to see that Vettel did not leave a cars width room for Alonso, when he knew he was there. Anywho, the marshalls have alot more data than we will ever know to make a judgement!

        1. @adelaidef1fan
          Defending the position is not nonsense behaviour on race track. Letting Alonso go through without a fight would be closer to nonsense.
          If the stewards will go completely berserk and give penalties from every “close call” kind of situations then they’re doing good job at ruining the sport.
          You’re right, they surely have more information than we do, but still I’d like to hear their explanation why Vettel broke the rules if Alonso’s move wasn’t even considered illegal a year ago.

          1. It is nonsense when it endangers lives my fellow f1 supporter. I don’t blame him for putting up a fight, but honestly don’t expect to not be penalized.

      5. @huhhii I can see what you mean, but when you look at the two incidents side by side you’ll see that in 2011, Alonso moved away from Vettel as he started to come along side giving Vettel enough room between the two of them to stay on track (meaning Vettel didn’t actually need to take to the grass), whereas in 2012 Vettel carried on moving towards the outside of the track, even when Fernando was alongside, giving Alonso no room to go apart from onto the grass. I think it was the fact that Seb carried on travelling towards the outside of the track, even when there was a car there that made the FIA give him a penalty, unlike Alonso in 2011 who moved away from the outside once Vettel had come halfway alongside.

      6. @huhhii
        I am a bit puzzled by that as well. There was no indication, at least officially, from the stewards that what Alonso did last year was wrong. Suddenly Vettel does it, and he is handed a penalty.
        I would like to know why the stewards felt that this was so different from what Alonso did.

        1. To put it simply, Alonso allowed a car width in 2011. Vettel did not.

          1. How did Alonso allow a car width in 2011 when Vettel went on grass? Not as much as Alonso this year, but still Vettel was forced to go wide the very same way Alonso today.

            1. Hope this will set your mind that Alonso did leave a car’s width in 2011, only just though, and he did move sidewise to avoid from pushing further

            2. @Nirupalm, there are two camera angles, on the entry to the curve it seems there is another room, however at the apex to the curve (just as the camera changes) at around 7 seconds there is clearly not a car’s width left for Vettel on track, which is precisely when he goes off.

      7. The fact that last year there was not any penalty & this year there was prove the big difference between the two episodes ,this year there was also 2 clarifications about driver’s defensive manoeuvres the 1st before the beginning of the season & the 2nd after Roseberg’s incidents in Bahrain
        Vettel clearly forced Alonso out of the track & he deserves his penalty (in my point of vue of course ) but maybe we can also consider that his driving was at the limit , harsh but fair maybe…..???

        But the thing that bother me the most is that some people now are trying to explain that Vettel’s retirement was due to the penalty which is completely unrealistic he has reliability issues on his car (on the formation lap they told him in the radio that his engine was hot & that they need a good job of cooling) & by the way Alonso overtook him before even an investigation was taken

        The “RIDICULOUS” thing is there is still some people thinking that Ferrari are manipulating the stewards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. @tifoso1989
          An Italian and (possibly) Spanish in the stewards. Coincidence?
          I think that’s exactly what Vettel’s move was: harsh, but fair.

          1. An Italian and (possibly) Spanish in the stewards. Coincidence?

            there’s many nationality in F1 we have drivers from :
            i’m not counting the reserve drivers, the team principles & the mechanics’s nationalities
            this is funny man we have to take care of all this so you can’t consider the conspiracy theory !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            1. @tifoso1989
              Having an Italian steward at Italian Grand Prix making decisions regarding Italian team’s situations is still too much to swallow.

          2. Actually, I think Vettel’s problem was a French alternator!

      8. @huhhii There’s been a lot of comments about this so I’ve set up a poll:

        Did Vettel deserve penalty for Alonso move at Curva Grande?

        1. Good idea, Keith.

      9. Dude, before the double attemp of murder by Rosberg against Hamilton and Alonso in Abu Dhabi this year the’re was a change of rules, just so we don’t have to see anybody loosing his life.
        So now trying to make another car crash is illegal, thank god for that.

        1. @juij
          It was in Bahrain.
          I agree with the rest.

          1. Yes , my bad, Bahrein

      10. I think that was harsh.

      11. Yes sir, you say it! King Santander Alonso! A shame for the sport.

      12. It sounds bad doesn’t it, but the reason i’m a Ferrari fan and not a Mclaren fan is exactly the same, Mclaren in the past always got their way, business minded some say, Im a purist, i don’t like it, apart for Bernie, Ron Dennis is the most powerful man in F1, he is responsible for everything they have achieved and how they achieved.

    3. Amazing charge by Perez, when will he be snapped up by a top team I wonder..?

    4. Quote of the day : “Stop the car, stop the car, we need to save the engine”.

      This gave me the feeling that the end of the season will be about managing reliability before anything else.

      1. It shouldn’t be. The engines are used on a rota.

      2. That sounds like they had an hydraulic problem, if there was no oil on that engine it would have fried in a matter of seconds.

    5. Fantastic, action packed race! Great to see Alonso charging from 10th, but even more to see Perez building such a challenge for the frontrunners!

      I think Vettel deserves some criticism, pushing Fernando out was quite reckless. It was a due punishment.

    6. Perez was excellent today, but it has to be said that it was partly a result of the silly rule that you have to start on the tyres you qualified in if your on the top 10. Why any others didn’t start of primes from 10-24 is quite baffling.

      Perez was not 40 secs faster than Kob due to raw pace. Ask yourself if Perez has qualified 10th, would he had come 2nd. Once again, it was an amazing drive, but more credit should go to Sauber for exploiting the ridiculous quali to race tyre rule.

    7. I found Hamilton’s post-race behaviour to be rather interesting. Things clearly aren’t well at McLaren. Hamilton’s lack of celebration seemed, to me at least, to be aimed at showing how his winning is merely a job, and how indispensable he is to McLaren. Dennis’ cold response to the question of whether McLaren-Hamilton are a perfect partnership just exacerbated that feeling.

      Also, what was the sucking up to Ferrari and Alonso on the podium all about? Following Alonso’s footsteps of praising the Ferrari legacy by trying to win over the fans? His response to Lauda’s question of how it feels to win the race by saying it felt great to finish in front of a double world champion of Alonso’s calibre was rather odd as well (and I loved how he said that ‘all the other greats’ have won at Monza as well – I would love some journalist to have the balls to come out and ask him whether he considers himself to be one).

      On a different note altogether, everybody seemed to praise Sauber’s strategy, but I wonder, had they brought Perez in earlier would he have come out in a bad spot? Leaving him out as long as Sauber did may have potentially cost him victory since he clearly had more life left in the tyres and was chasing down Hamilton at the end of the race.

      1. Hamilton might’ve just been exhausted after the hot race. At least that was my first thought when he had some troubles trying to get out from the car and staggered a bit. I thought he was going to pass out.

        1. he wasn’t, he said he was cruising the whole race, and the laps time show that very well. It looks like that Lewis has not Niki in his heart, which is a little disrespectful, Lauda was a great driver, his commitment must hold respect. Very childish sometimes Lewis, he needs to grow.

          1. Given how often Lauda has criticised (justified or not) Hamilton having a cooler reception towards Laauda wouldn’t be such a suprise.

        2. He’s won even tougher races before (not starting from pole and dominating the whole race) but he still had enough energy to jump around and celebrate with his team. What about yesterday’s post-pole face – not too happy either? Lewis seems to be as happy at McLaren as Alonso was in 2007.

      2. He celebrated wtih this team, if u expected him to get out of the car and jump around like crazy, that’s something else. He was happy but not too happy.

      3. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        10th September 2012, 0:53

        “what was the sucking up to Ferrari and Alonso on the podium all about?”

        So to you engaging in conversation with another human being is regarded as sucking up? must be a lonely world you live in.

        “it felt great to finish in front of a double world champion of Alonso’s calibre was rather odd as well ”

        odd in the sense of completely normal within lewis’ character? he’s said many times how highly he regards alonso as a driver they all do. It’s the same with schumacher if you ask a driver about michael schumacher the person they will probably say he has terrible dress sense. Ask them about michael as a driver and the only answer you will get is he’s the greatest or he’s the master.

        For all the recent talk of young drivers needing to learn respect bare in mind that lesson is not limited to those involved with f1.

        1. Interesting that many have noticed Lewis’ demeanour after the race. The relationship doesnt look well, it is obvious. The thing is, where is he going to go? Mercedes seems to be the obvious destination, but they really havent had their act together for a while now.

          I dont think Lewis would be interested in moving to a team that requires development, he would much prefer a team thats ready to fight for championships…at this point, Mercedes arent that team.

    8. What a banch of stewards if you look at both red bull vs ferrari and ferrari vs red bull it almost the same no need of penality.

    9. I don’t really understand why you’ve chosen to spend a good amount of time discussing team orders in the first place. It is legal. Massa can’t win the title. Anyone capable of logical thinking would move over. Instead youve chosen to say Massa gave way to Alonso. Frankly even with a damaged car he would have overtaken Massa. The gap between them at the end showed. Why is this news? And the Alonso Vettel move this year was nothing like last year when there was room was left for Vettel the championship leader. This time no room was left for the championship leader? A bit of a slanted review in my opinion, but it’s a blog so you are entitled. Why not just admit it beforehand though.

      1. + 1………

      2. Rather unfair attack there, not necessary. It’s news because regardless of the legal situation, team orders is still a sensitive subject to pretty much all F1 fans, myself included. I have no problem with what happened today but the only criticism I could draw is Ferrari’s supposed lack of openness about it if they did actually subtly use team orders.

        Honestly, I don’t think there was much in the way of team orders. Massa being advised that Alonso had DRS is more out of courtesy and just a warning to make way for a driver who happened to be travelling faster, owing mainly to an aerodynamic advantage. Massa didn’t defend, but why would he?

        1. Alonso would have DRS him with or without teams orders. No need to discuss it. Massa acts like a slave, he has been destroyed and it may be dangerous for him to continue. Even if Alonso prefers the situation (everybody likes a number 2 when you are the first) it will be better that he as to compete with a serious driver that can challenges him.

      3. In 2007 Massa let Kimi take the Brazilian GP win, in 2008 Raikkonen returned the favour in China and yielded 2nd place. On both occasions we didn’t hear any radio messages saying “Felipe/Kimi save fuel, tyres, he’s faster than you etc”. The situation somehow sorted out by itself. But today when the whole world knows that Massa is No.2 and even when Felipe openly talks about how he’ll support Fernando, are these messages really necessary? Doesn’t Felipe know that when Fernando’s in behind him he has to slow down and give the position? Why do they come up with this ******** “take care of tyres, he’s using DRS etc.”? It’s (even more) humiliating for Massa.

        1. ask rob smedley..that guy is a joke

      4. Why is this news?

        This is a report of a race so of course I’m going to refer to anything I consider important. I consider the means by which third place was decided to be important, particularly given that it involved the championship points leader.

        I don’t really understand why you’ve chosen to spend a good amount of time discussing team orders in the first place. It is legal.

        And I said as much in the article.

        Given what was broadcast during the race I think you’d have to be exceptionally naive to conclude anything other than that Ferrari instructed Massa to let Alonso past, but did not issue a direct order (caveats already mentioned in the article notwithstanding).

        What I find curious is that they did this even though team orders are legal. I’m interested to hear others’ views on this – having read your comment I’m not sure whether you’re saying team orders weren’t used, or they were but it’s allowed under the rules.

        It’s likely we will see team orders becoming more significant over the remaining races of the season. Ferrari have used team orders, so far McLaren and Red Bull have not. With the championship the way it is it’s likely Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull’s policies on team orders will remain significant.

        As for the Alonso/Vettel incident, I’ve discussed that at length here:

        Did Vettel deserve penalty for Alonso move?

        Why not just admit it beforehand though.

        Admit what?

        1. I meant to admit some sort of bias against Ferrari or Alonso. There is nothing wrong with being biased but my point is, just as you say Ferrari should apparently admit to team orders (despite there being absolutely zero regulation saying anyone has to) my opinion is that this review is slanted. Simply put, you’ve assumed they used team orders. You say its naive to think otherwise, but the fact that Alonso finished far ahead of Massa shows he clearly had more pace. Formula One has always been a team sport and Felipe Massa hasn’t been good enough this season to challenge. He therefore, as many drivers in many other teams have done in the past, should move aside in this situation. It’s legal, it’s in the best interest of the team, and most of all it’s logical. To think that some people are offended that today MIGHT have involved a team order is ludicrous. A team can choose however they want to play it, and your assuming we are naive for thinking otherwise is similar to my thinking one would be naive to thunk Red Bull have not used a form of team orders in the last 3 years. Except I don’t care if they say it or don’t.

          I don’t mean this as a broadside against you. I just want to point out that your review had a significant portion (heading and 5 paragraphs) about this supposed team order, and you state at the start that Massa “gave way” to Alonso. If I’m naive to think there may not have been team orders, I put forth that you are naive in assuming Alonso would need a team order to pass Massa. While I know some fans are new, inexperienced, or just plain dumb, i don’t fault them for that. You on the other hand are well versed and do not belong to that group, so I suppose I was surprised by a review that reads somewhat slanted, against Ferrari or Alonso. I do come here to read your often knowledgable articles, if I wanted to read cannon fodder for F1 sheep I’d only read the occasional witless comments so I guess I’m holding you to a higher standard. I suppose I could be wrong but today I felt your review left me feeling like you begrudged Alonso or Ferrari. I mean at the end of the day a driver leads by 37 points in a car that hasn’t been fast. The focus on a supposed and unproven team order just felt unnecessary. Apologies to all if I’m wrong.

          1. I haven’t got anything against Alonso or Ferrari.

            Nor do I think Alonso necessarily requires an instruction from the pitwall in order to find his way past Massa. But clearly that is what they did today.

            And I think it’s rather hypocritical for Ferrari to insist team orders are a legitimate part of F1 racing, then hush up the fact that they use them.

            1. So when you say that it is clearly what they did today… you base that on no actual facts? Ferrari have said for years team orders are a part of F1 so when you say they “hush up” what you actually mean is they don’t explicitly make a radio call blatantly telling fans their supposed strategy? I think that would be absurd in any competitive sport.

            2. I base this on the fact that we’re talking about a team which used team orders when it was illegal, never mind now that it’s legal.

              If you believe they didn’t today that’s your choice. But I can see the championship position and the race situation and know their track record as well as anyone and I think for me to believe otherwise would be highly gullible.

              Other teams have been quite happy to issue team orders on the radio in the past – Red Bull at Silverstone last year being a case in point.

              Consider that Raikkonen could have won in Bahrain had Lotus ordered Grosjean to wave him past immediately. Do you think Ferrari or Alonso would risk letting that happen with a championship hanging in the balance?

            3. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
              10th September 2012, 0:58

              so it seems the consensus is minus 1.

            4. I think every team should be allowed to run as they see fit. If they want to use team orders then they may. They don’t owe us anything more than performing to their strategy, they are businesses running with employees. It doesn’t matter anymore to me what Renault choose to do than what Ferrari does. If you are basing your judgement on a teams history then I believe every team is guilty of favoritism and some form of team orders. Why single one team out, especially a team that has stood by an underperforming driver in Felipe Massa through trials and tribulations, thick and thin? Should a team fall on its own sword in doing so? I maintain that instead of focusing on positives this minor accusation (and that is all it is) didn’t deserve serious coverage in the face of strong and impressive performances all around.

            5. And I think it’s rather hypocritical for Ferrari to insist team orders are a legitimate part of F1 racing, then hush up the fact that they use them.


              You nailed it with that one Keith.
              Ferrari may have their “next” Champion with Alonso, but it is rather disgusting the way they go about it sometimes.

      5. Team orders are legal but they’re corrode the sport. There’s no obligation to like or agree with them. Only one team regularly makes use of them in such brazen fashion, Ferrari, and – strange to recall? – just two years ago were judged to have brought the sport into disrepute because of switching around Massa and Alonso on track. Today they do the same and it’s normal. But why? Only because people end up accepting the inevitable – in this case Ferrari’s leverage over FIA and Formula 1.

        I seriously like watching Alonso as a driver and respect his talent and dedication. However I always find these ‘victories’ of his hollow – like Singapore 2008 (even before knowing Piquet’s crash was deliberate), Hockenheim 2010. A bit pathetic that he can’t win always from his own talent but has to demoralize a team mate to gain a victory. Massa is forced to comply contractually. For all fans of the corporate world, no problem, but it’s not sport and I resent it being sold as such as though the viewing public is stupid.

        1. Brilliantly said. I couldn’t agree more.
          For Ferrari, the supposed heart of grand prix racing, to be so heartless in their tactics is more than a tad ironic.

          I’d love to see a study on their number of fans in Brazil, with the way they have treated Barrichello and Massa over the years I bet the number has dwindled.

          1. @adam-tate, reading the Brazilian F1 blogs gives the impression of long-term disillusionment, only it seems the ire is as much with Barrichello and Massa for accepting number two status as it is with Ferrari and Schumacher/Alonso. It’s very difficult even for Globo, the TV channel that always gets the rights to F1, to talk round the humiliating sight of Massa giving way to Alonso, or discuss Piquet Jr crashing for Alonso. The fact is someone like Ayrton Senna simply would never ever have accepted number two status.

      6. The big problem is the lack of transparency, fueled by your own team affinity it’s not only the stewards that aren’t clear, the fans aren’t clear as well. All teams use team orders, some deal with the press better than others, Mclaren have been using team orders for a long time 97, 98, 99 and so on, Ferrari use team orders in a ridiculous way with Schumi and with Massa at Hockenheim, but not today, for me is more disturbing to watch the Toro Rosso give way to the Red Bull in Belgium.

    10. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      9th September 2012, 18:07

      Now I see why Luca di Montezemolo wants shorter races in high speed tracks. Few laps less would have meant 2nd place for Alonso. I would have liked if Perez had somewhat resisted a little more with his fist set so he would probably got 1st place. IMHO he should NEVER go to Ferrari if Alonso is there. We don’t want to see a high potential driver being treated just as a number two driver.

      1. I wouldn’t worry about Perez going to Ferrari. After all that flirting with the tifosi and Alonso in the post-race PC, Lewis seems to be all over Massa’s seat right now.

        1. Lewis should go to Sauber and Perez to McLaren

      2. Ahhh Luca, the deranged time traveler. That explains everything!

      3. it would have meant also two Red Bulls with points…

    11. I know I’ll get a lot of flak for this, but I personally believe that Perez’s drive was a bit overrated today. It is no secret that Sauber’s tyre management is superb, even more so with the strategy they put on Perez today, starting him with hard tyres. It reminded me a lot about the tyre lottery earlier this season. However, full marks to Sergio for the first two laps, he really gained a lot there.

      1. I think the problem is that Mercedes and Lotus seem to be a bit harder on the tyres, perhaps otherwise they would also try these low pitstop strategies. For the top teams like Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull it’s a bit too risky to count on a tyre lottery falling their way.

      2. Ya well but he started on the hards and he was hounding Raikkonen not before long. The Lotus is another car good on its tyres.

      3. Are you kidding me? Did you somehow miss all the overtakes he did to make that whole strategy work?

    12. Now that the traps were finished the game ended. Drink a Red Bull gives you wings sebastian and your little Frenchman looks like driving. Quote of the weekend, “Stop the car sebastian, sebastian stop the car, quickly. Do not worry as you will get some improvement in auto talks with Uncle Bernie. Congratulations Lewis and the championship is near.

      1. I was a little upset with the way Red Bull retired Webber, or rather with the reason as to why they retired him. Flat spotted tyres? Can someone remind me why we even have pitstops.
        But of course, a pit stop would have taken them out of the points, as would retiring but retiring lets them change bits and pieces of the car without penalty.
        I hope the FIA can clarify the rule that lets them do that so we don’t see something like this happen again.

        I mean if there was actually something wrong with the car, then sure I’m fine with them retiring him, but flat spotted tyres? That’s a bit pathetic in my eyes.

    13. Perez needs a top drive. It amazes me how much faster than his teammate he is on occasions. IMO he’s something special, perhaps the next big thing.

      1. Eh, I don’t think so. I’m going with Marko and Sauber himself and agree the C31 was the best around during the last two races.

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          10th September 2012, 1:01

          really better than the mclaren??? not in my book.

    14. Fantastic weekend from Hamilton, finally stepping onto the top step of the podium in Italy. I hope this result is the tonic Hamilton and McLaren (and Hamilton’s management?) need to realise that they need each other. Really what is going on with these contract negotiations? Both parties have repeatedly stated that they want to continue their relationship, but it seems that everybody is now so frustrated with the negotiations that they will split up, and Lewis will end up at a team that is about to drop to sixth in the constructor’s championship.

      As for Sauber’s weekend, I feel a bit sorry for Kobayashi. On a few occasions this year – certainly not every race – a Sauber has been able to get so much more and longer performance from the tyres than (almost) anyone else, and every time it was Perez stepping onto the podium. Of course, Sergio’s very first F1 race in Australia 2011 was just such an impressive tyre-working display. Kamui, on the other hand, has had a few good qualifying results (2nd and 3rd), but only has about half of the points of his team mate.

    15. Glad to see the best two drivers on the grid HAM/ALO leading the championship, it’s going to be a very interesting run to the end of the season if Mcclaren keep having the best car and ALO keeps his consistency.
      Also, can we end now that silly debate about Sauber following team orders from Ferrari please?

      1. Both with 3 wins now.

        Raikkonen in third is impressive too. He’s actually a lot like Kubica, quietly raking in the points every race while driving a car that’s not fast enough to really challenge for the win on pace. Capitalizing on mistakes and misfortune of the drivers in faster cars.

        1. Dude, what are you talking about? Go look up Kimi’s wiki page. Gotta love Kubica bandwagoners.

      2. This comment “two best drivers on the grid” only makes sense now that Hamilton and Alonso are second and first, respectively. It would have made less sense a few races ago…

    16. Hamilton’s post-race behaviour was very intriguing, although he seemed happy with the result but his body language just didn’t send that message. It was more like: ‘finally it’s over’ while it should be: ’Yes I outraced my championship opponent Alonso’. You can turn it any way you want but it seems his relationship with the team has gone very sour. Yes, Lewis and McLaren need one another but the last couple of years they have had their hands full with Mister Hamilton and it seems that the famous tweet was the last straw.

      I didn’t have the luxury of enjoying decent broadcasting, so I had to settle for a local Belgian tv station VT4. They tend to make a lot of mistakes but they analysed hamiltons team radio perfectly. It sounded as if he was saying goodbye to the team.

      The Hamilton-Mercedes rumors have been extensively discussed in recent days but the way Hamilton and McLaren have been acting only feeds them. Take martin whitmarsh when asked about the story he only said: ‘We don’t want any driver in our team, who is not 100% committed and not absolutely happy in the team’. That says it all no?

      The next GP is in two weeks, time enough to let things cool down and to look at the future from that point onwards. The contract is ready, it just needs signing but if it doesn’t happen soon you better prepared for a shocker. 2012 has been a crazy year so far, I’m ready for anything.

      1. I would guess the racing is a lot more boring for these guys. They have to drive so slow with a full tank of fuel and these degrading tyres. They barely break a sweat.

        So without any opposition and his only challenge being “not too drive too fast”, he probably doesn’t feel as happy as a hard fought race win like Canada. Even though really only the last few laps were any different.

    17. An idea… If Ferrari hadn’t used team orders, Massa may not have slowed, and potentially Perez may not have caught him (probably would have) but did they miss a trick here?

      1. Possibly, if they had any heart they would have let Massa keep the podium position, it would have meant the world to him, whereas it’s just a few more measly points in the championship to Alonso.

        If 7 gifted points in Germany in 2010 weren’t enough for Alonso to win the Championship, I doubt that 3 from this weekend will be.

        But it’s all conjecture really, there’s no way Massa or Alonso could have stopped Perez in that flying Sauber.

    18. Nice quote from Beat Zehnder, Sauber Team Manager – “Auf den weichen Reifen hat sich Sergio fast in Trance gefahren. Er wurde immer schneller. Hut ab vor dieser Leistung.” – “On softer tyres Sergio was driving almost in trance. He was lapping faster and faster. Hats off to his performance”

      1. Lapping faster and faster is pretty much a given with the fuel tank emptying.

    19. Extremelly frustraiting race as Kimi fan – car was simply not fast enough to give him the edge to get into clear air. As usuall unbelivable drive craft, we dont expect less of him. I was surprised he was able to hold on 5th.

      It’s all in Lotuses hands now, Kimi delivered every time this season. If they give up on development at any stage before last race, they deserve to loose him. Seems like more updates for next race, so hopefully Kimi will finish infront of Fernando and Lewis!!

      Great drive by Perez and Sauber, they nailed the strategy.

    20. Very good article… I think the team order part is just a “filler” since everybody knows it´s legal now and anyways… Massa did say earlier in the season that he would help Alonso if it was in his hands… Anyways… it´s much like how the Toro Rosso´s jump out of the way for the RBRs… just saying…. I doubt my comment will make it though…. it seems someone on the site hates the fact that there is a Ferrari fan wanting to share his feelings with other Ferrari fans just because he is a die-hard RBR fan…

    21. I thought this race was awesome! I was completely enthralled the entire. I could not believe that Massa gave his spot up to Alonso though. I think that Massa deserved to have the podium finish.

    22. So I guess I haven’t watched the whole podium/press-conference/post-race for a while now. How long have they been doing interviews ON the podium?? Or was Monza just a one-off?

    23. Just watched the race and I noticed something that I thought was a bit strange. On lap 4 when Alonso is chasing Schumacher for 5th he gets in the slipstream with DRS open, catches up and then runs into the limiter and Schumacher pulls away. The onboard shot of Alonso’s car clearly shows him change up into 5th gear then 6th gear but he never goes into 7th. Correct me if I am mistaken but don’t F1 cars have 7 gears? Is this a mistake on Alonso’s part or would he have been told not to use 7th, perhaps for cooling?

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