Start, Monza, 2011

Start shots: Italian Grand Prix

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Monza’s long, narrow run to a tight chicane has been the scene of several crashes since it was built in 2000.


Start, Monza, 1967

By the late sixties time was running out for Monza’s original, chicane-free layout. Five years later the cars no longer had an uninterrupted run from the start line to the Curva Grande, and the days of spectacular oval-style slipstreaming races were over.

The 1967 race was a classic: pole sitter Jim Clark led the early stages but dropped back with a puncture. Astonishingly he retook the lead with seven laps remaining, only to be sidelined as he ran lower on fuel with a lap to go. Honda’s John Surtees launched a daring attack on Jack Brabham at the final corner and snatched victory, having only led the final few hundred metres.


Start, Monza, 2001

The opening sequences of corners at Monza went through various iterations before the current slow chicane was adopted in 2000. The first lap of that year’s race saw a major accident at the second chicane which claimed the life of marshal Paolo Ghislimberti.

Twelve months later the race was run in the shadow of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the teams ran with tributes to the thousands who had lost their lives. The atmosphere of foreboding was heightened on Saturday, when former F1 driver Alessandro Zanardi suffered a serious accident following which both his legs had to be amputated.

In light of that and the previous year’s accident, Michael Schumacher and some other drivers lobbied for a ban on overtaking at the start of the race. Jacques Villeneuve was among those who opposed the plan, which was ultimately rejected. The first lap passed safely, though not without incident.

Start, Monza, 2001


Start, Monza, 2004

While Rubens Barrichello headed off in the lead, Schumacher spun on a damp track as the 2004 race got underway. At the end of lap one Barrichello’s lead was almost seven seconds – he won the race, while Schumacher recovered to complete a Ferrari one-two.


Start, Monza, 2006

The BMW drivers started strongly in 2006 but Nick Heidfeld had a woeful first lap. After losing second to Schumacher at turn one he was passed by team mate Robert Kubica at the exit. Felipe Massa and Jenson Button demoted him halfway around the lap, and as lap two began Fernando Alonso was lining him up for a pass.


Start, Monza, 2007

Alonso held the lead from pole position at the start while Lewis Hamilton was all over the kerbs trying to keep the Ferrari drivers behind.

Start, Monza, 2007


Grid, Monza, 2008

Heavy rain meant the race began behind the Safety Car in 2008. Having taken his first pole position on Saturday, Sebastian Vettel followed it up with his maiden race win – and the first for Toro Rosso.

Start, Monza, 2008


Start, Monza, 2010

Jenson Button, taking advantage of his McLaren’s F-duct to run an unusual high-downforce rear wing configuration fended off the Ferraris at the start in 2010. Team mate Hamilton, using a conventional slim rear wing, tangled with Massa further around the opening lap and retired, which dealt a blow to his championship chances.

Start, Monza, 2010


Start, Monza, 2011

From fourth on the grid a stunning getaway propelled Alonso into the lead. It also kept him well clear of the carnage behind.

Vitantonio Liuzzi was caught out by the slowing pack, spun onto the grass and slammed into the pack which was negotiating the chicane. Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg were eliminated and Rubens Barrichello was delayed.

Start, Monza, 2011


Start, Monza, 2012

Massa had his nose ahead for a few metres at the start in 2012 but Hamilton protected the inside line and held onto the lead.


Start, Monza, 2013

Despite a big lock-up at turn one, which troubled him for the rest of his first stint, Vettel held on to the lead from pole position in 2013 to win.

Start, Monza, 2013


Start, Monza, 2014

Problems with his car’s start system meant Hamilton got away slowly from pole position last year, falling behind Rosberg, Kevin Magnussen and Massa. But he recovered to pass all three and won the race.

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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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  • 15 comments on “Start shots: Italian Grand Prix”

    1. Pole sitter Jenson Button, taking advantage of his McLaren’s F-duct to run an unusual high-downforce rear wing configuration fended off the Ferraris at the start in 2010.

      Pretty certain Button wasn’t on pole at that race, Alonso was. Otherwise some very nice shots.

      1. Yeah he was 2nd but got into the lead straight away.

    2. I forgot how ugly those 2010 cars looked.

      1. @ultimateuzair
        Compared to the cars in the top picture from the sixties, all of the modern cars are monstrously ugly.

        1. @beneboy
          Not sure though about those helmets doubling as roll-bar!

          1. @coldfly
            That’s a good point, I’m not sure that the driver’s legs are the safest of front crash structures I’ve ever seen either :-)
            You’ve got to admit that they do look awesome though, and better than anything we’ve seen since, except maybe for a few years at the end of the nineties to the beginning of the 2000’s.
            I’d love to see a modern interpretation of the classic cigar shaped cars, I’d also love to see an 800 HP car without wings doing a flying lap around Spa.

      2. I really love the way the 2010 cars look. It was one of my favourite years for car aesthetics.

        1. @jack1501 I think the 2010 Ferrari’s look ugly, weird rounded bulbs behind the cockpit, but I did think 2010 cars looked on the whole not quite pleasing, but interesting. The 2011 – 2013 platipuses aren’t my thing really – most of them (but esp. Ferrari’s) look like the front suspension is jacked up, or as if they are overloaded on the rear – need rebalancing of shocks :p

          Anyway, as a season 2010 was good, at least.

          1. When I got used to the 2012 and 2013 looks I saw some pictures of the 2010 season and I realized how great that Ferrari looked. I really liked the nose. The tyres look too small however.

      3. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
        1st September 2015, 22:43

        But man what a season.

    3. This made me remember how horrible the cars have been since 2011 =(

    4. It’s like spot the difference with the 2006 & 2007 photos!!

    5. Thanks for the heart attack. For a split second that title made me think I had somehow missed the Italian Grand Prix (on a Tuesday night).

    6. This presents a good opportunity to notice the difference in the cars, at Monza anyway. I am really struck by difference in the general design between the cars up until 2008 and then from 2010 onwards. They seem to change from big rear wing, small front wing earlier on to small rear wing, large front wing after 2010. I much prefer the earlier look. In fact of all the photos I think the 2004 cars look best.

      Can anyone explain this major change in design because I don’t remember the reason now. Back is the future I say!

      1. They changed the front and rear wing size in 2009. I never liked it.

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