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#852 2011 Italian Grand Prix

2023-01-13 23:00

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#2011, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Francesca Risi,

#852 2011 Italian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso does not close the door to a hypothetical arrival in Maranello of Sebastian Vettel, his rival on the circuits. The Ferrari driver expr

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Fernando Alonso does not close the door to a hypothetical arrival in Maranello of Sebastian Vettel, his rival on the circuits. The Ferrari driver expressed words of praise for the German Red Bull, started to reconfirm world champion in Formula 1 since in the standings he has 92 points ahead of teammate Mark Webber.

 

"Vettel is a great champion, who is going to win the second world title. He has a lot of talent and also the ability to withstand pressure".

 

Alonso, who has won two world titles in his career when racing for Renault in 2005 and 2006, has also admitted that he does not believe that anyone can seriously trouble the young German: 

 

"If I had to bet money, I would certainly bet on Sebastian".

 

The Spaniard also talks about the hypothesis that Vettel (contract that expires in 2014) can in the future land in Maranello. 

 

"Many drivers want to come to Ferrari. He would really be welcome". 

 

Alonso says he is happy to share the box with Felipe Massa. 

 

"If you have not driven a Ferrari, your career is not complete".

 

Monza is still Monza. Not only for Ferrari. Even Fernando Alonso on the Italian circuit has often collected good memories. All the more reason to be optimistic ahead of the highly anticipated next Italian Grand Prix. 

 

"I came to Monza for the first time ten years ago with the Minardi. I remember the special sensations I felt running on this track. Then I remember when in 2006 I ran as the opponent of Schumacher’s Ferrari. The fans obviously put a lot of pressure on us and I also had a penalty for hindering my current partner Massa. I started tenth but then I had an engine problem when I was third: the crowd on the grandstands at turn 1 was enthusiastic because Michael was leading the race. An experience, so to speak, interesting".

 

Fernando recovered a year later: 

 

"Yes, pole position, victory and fast lap in the race, at the wheel of a McLaren: it was my first success at Monza, even if that time the fans were not very happy. Then, in 2010, a very different feeling caused by an identical result: pole, victory and fast lap in the race but, this time, at the wheel of a Ferrari. It was amazing especially the award ceremony on the podium: standing up there and seeing 20.000 people invade the track with Ferrari flags is a difficult image to forget".

 

Logically Alonso will try again this year even if he knows that it will not be easy: 

 

"The situation in the championship is even more difficult after Spa: one race less and a gap that has increased. We must be realistic but we will never give up: we have not done so in the past and we will not do so now. It is not difficult to keep up the motivation because we face every Grand Prix trying in every way to win it. A success is in itself something special, something that each of us wants to achieve, regardless of the situation in the ranking. In addition, we still have the chance to improve the position in the Constructors' Championship and we will put all our efforts to the last". 

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Felipe Massa, who finished third last year, is of the same opinion: 

 

"Racing in Monza is a fantastic experience for us because it is Ferrari’s home Grand Prix. When you get to the circuit and see all the fans dressed in red you can really feel their passion. With its long straights, Monza is the circuit where you reach the peak speed of the year: drivers love this element that is an extra reason to run on this track where you really feel the speed in the blood. I hope to improve the third place of 2010... Another victory? Why not... After all, Monza is a unique track that requires special adjustments: practically everyone starts at par. I also expect to have a competitive package and I am sure that Ferrari will be very strong, also thanks to the push that will give us the desire to win our home race".

 

For the first time this season, the FIA has created two completely separate areas where it will be possible to activate the DRS in the race: one on the pit straight at the exit of the Parabolica, the other from the second of Lesmo to the chicane Ascari. 

 

"I’m sure the DRS will cause a lot of overtaking. It will be very interesting for the fans while for us drivers there will be even more work to do because we will have to stay very focused in order not only to attack in the best way but also to defend ourselves effectively".

 

All the cars will run in Monza in a particular configuration, adapted to the characteristics of the circuit. The Ferraris will also have some updates on the bodywork while continuing the search for the best compromise between engine power and downforce in the exhaust area. As always at Monza it will be important to find the right balance between pure power and aerodynamic load, considering that the engine goes almost to the maximum for about three quarters of the lap, also thanks to the optimization of the choice of gear ratios. In addition, the best car must have good braking stability and the ability to cope with curbs without breaking down, especially in qualifying. Married to Silvia, two children, Martino of 6 and a half years and Viola of 5, Stefano Domenicali retains hates polite and a power managed in a polite and elegant way.

 

"Thanks to my family, the anchor that keeps me hooked to normal life". 

 

And yet he’s been Ferrari’s team principal for years. Honors, but also an incredible pressure, some triumphs, the world title of Raikkonen in 2007 when in fact he was already in charge with Todt out, the constructors' title of the same year and the one all his of 2008, in the middle of a cycle that is struggling to take off. 

 

"Because Ferrari is doomed to win, never in our history can we smile for a second place".

 

So it is right that criticism should be higher than applause. Domenicali should have a grim face and punch on the table.

 

"I beat them if I have to, but without losing my rational instincts. If this is the case, I am the first to make painful choices, and in recent times revolutions have not been lacking, but woe to be dominated by emotion. We are convinced that this is the last disappointing season. Todt won a lot, but he had time to create a winning team, with an extraordinary balance. I aim to do the same and I am optimistic about the future. In front of this Red Bull I may look like a fool, but I am convinced that we are laying the foundations for an unbeatable structure. With a warning: no single men in charge, like Red Bull with Newey, but a team".

 

Meanwhile there is now Monza, the home race. If you win on Sunday, at least save the season.

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"I expect a test up to our potential, which is now on a par with our opponents. That said, I don’t like the definition of a season saver: from here to the end they will all be last beaches. Here is one more reason. We won at Silverstone, McLaren and Red Bull, and they were disappointed. They want revenge. I ordered my team to stop it".

 

It seems you want to push a lot more on this car. Wouldn’t it be better to think about 2012?

 

"Mistake made in the past and not to be repeated. Certain current developments can be an important basis for next year. The crucial point is to learn how to use tyres in all conditions. From here to November we can experiment with particular arrangements, get ahead with the work. So aggressive approach, even if the World Cup is gone".

 

Aggressive, innovative, imaginative. Recipes for the rescue?

 

"The real key message is discontinuity. I’ve been asking for it since 2010, now I’m expecting it from Technical Director Fry and the new team. If Ferrari wants to overturn the table, it must change its philosophy. If you are linear, or the others stop or don’t recover anymore. For a real step forward it takes imagination, you have to risk, either the go or the split".

 

Pretend you’re a fan at the bar. You see the new Ferrari and...

 

"I am amazed by its diversity. I say: man, it’s completely changed. I want that. No more the same machines".

 

What if it’s not reliable?

 

"It must be, reliability can’t be overlooked. That’s the big bet: new things that work. And immediately, from the first race. Because we have to start well. Alonso in 2010 lost the World Cup in spring and this year it was worse".

 

From here the heads fall, first Dyer and then Costa.

 

"In my role you have to make choices, hoping to do the good of the team. You look in the mirror, clear conscience and decide. There are moments of suffering. But if you do not change when you believe that the road is wrong, the turning point will never come".

 

You talk about a possible cycle.

 

"Alonso believes it. He signed until 2016, he is in the middle of his career. A winner like him doesn’t throw himself away if he’s not more than convinced of the project".

 

What will Di Massa do?

 

"To the fan at the bar I say: trust me, it is as strong as before the incident in Budapest. It must be helped in every way. Meanwhile the contract is not touched, until December 2012 is safe".

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Hamilton says that even in 2012 Red Bull will be overpowered.

 

"The unbeatable do not exist. We, Red Bull and McLaren, will be open fight".

 

Disappointing 2011. What bothered you most?

 

"Make it to the opening in Australia and understand that we were at 1.4 seconds. Unacceptable and shocking. Listen in February, during the tests, that everything was fine, and then find out in March that it was not so. On the discharges we were superficial, they were a weapon for the qualitative leap and we underestimated it. The areas that make the difference must be captured, if possible, even before our rivals. Although Alonso scored 41 points more in the first 12 races than last year, it is not his fault that Vettel killed the World Championship. We were wrong, but he was stratospheric".

 

Ferrari arrives in Monza to try to give the second success of the season to its fans. In the past edition of the Italian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso hit the so-called hat trick, namely, pole, victory and fast lap. This year it will be harder for the Maranello team to achieve such a clear success, considering that we will have to fight not only with the Red Bull Racing of Vettel and Webber but also with the McLaren of Hamilton and Button. 

 

"I also expect a fast Mercedes on the long straights of the circuit". 

 

Fernando Alonso, who this season has won Ferrari’s only success in Britain, is realistic:

 

"There are seven Grands Prix left and we want to win as many as possible, but let’s be realistic: in the last Grands Prix we were not very competitive and the balance has hardly changed. We face circuit by circuit, trying to win since Monza".

 

The home circuit can be the extra weapon for the Maranello team, as Alonso points out: 

 

"Racing in Monza is special, because the track is fast but especially for the atmosphere created by the fans: I hope to enjoy another show to Ferrari fans. It is special, for everyone, even for the mechanics and engineers of Ferrari, there are their family and friends in the paddock, everyone will try to make an extra effort to make perfect this weekend".

 

Alonso has already won twice on the Italian track: in addition to last year he also won in 2007 when he achieved success with McLaren: 

 

"They were two very different victories. It was much more exciting last year, not only on Sundays, because when you drive Ferrari you notice the difference when you arrive at the airport, at the hotel, in the paddock and generally you are engaged in more activities than other races. It is fantastic to see from the podium how happy the fans are for the success of an Italian car. The 2007 victory, however, was similar to any other first place centered on other tracks". 

 

As for next year, the Spanish driver has stated what the team’s clear goal is:

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"We are working hard to be competitive from the very first race, and we are aware that it will be a difficult job from now until we start doing the winter tests that will take us to the first Grand Prix. However it is impossible to have certainties in Formula 1, this is a very complex sport: when you take the car on track in February, you can have surprises, positive or negative. But I know that Ferrari has the right people to be competitive. For the rest of this season we will have minimal updates from now on, so our level of competitiveness will vary depending on the track. For now, however, let’s concentrate on trying to win again in Monza".

 

And adds Felipe Massa:

 

"The support of the fans can mean a lot to a driver and is felt as soon as you enter the park. I also know what it means for what I experienced in my home race in Brazil, which I won twice, in part I believe for the support of the audience and for the confidence it gives you: thanks to the fans you have extra energy! Seeing everyone dressed in red, waving Ferrari flags, is very special". 

 

The Brazilian driver hopes to get a good result: 

 

"We had difficulties because of the low temperatures encountered in the last races: even in Hungary there were only 15 , and it rained. So, here in Monza, with the current heat, I think we can be the protagonists of a good weekend. The track is unique, especially from the point of view of piloting".

 

On Friday, September 9, 2011, the first practice sessions were dry, with predictions of similar weather to last the entire weekend. The first ninety-minute period was quiet, with just two drivers setting times in the first half-hour. Once the entire grid started setting times, Sebastian Vettel emerged as the early leader of the session. However, Lewis Hamilton rapidly improved his lap times, and would end the session as the fastest man on track, a second clear of teammate Jenson Button and a further half-second ahead of Vettel. Button reported that the circuit had been resurfaced since the 2010 race, causing the cars to slide about. Meanwhile, several cars - most notably the Lotus and Virgin entries - were plagued with technical problems. Vettel returned to the top of the timing sheets in the second session, just three hundredths of a second faster than Hamilton. However, Hamilton encountered Jaime Alguersuari whilst setting his fastest lap time, denying him the fastest time of the session. Alguersuari himself was impeded by Force India's Adrian Sutil, forcing the Spanish driver to move onto the grassy verge to avoid a collision. His Toro Rosso teammate Sébastien Buemi also left the circuit, crashing as he exited the Parabolica. 

 

Several other drivers experienced technical difficulties that limited their running; Daniel Ricciardo was only able to set a lap time three minutes from the end of the session after an electrical fault sidelined him, while Kamui Kobayashi pulled over at the end of the session and Nico Rosberg struggled with an undiagnosed problem in his Mercedes. Despite setting the fastest lap time in the second session, telemetry data from the speed trap on the main straight demonstrated that Vettel was noticeably slower than his rivals. Vitaly Petrov was the fastest through the speed trap, recording a top speed of 347 km/h; by comparison, Vettel was the slowest driver on the circuit, with a top speed of 327.9 km/h, 19.1 km/h slower than Petrov. The unique twin DRS zones around the circuit provided a challenge for the teams. The Drag Reduction System meant that drivers could run higher downforce settings than they usually would, offering more grip in the corners and unlimited DRS usage in the straights. Such a setup would invariably favour qualifying as the restricted use of DRS in the race could potentially compromise the driver's position. At the same time, a more-traditional setup would favour the race, but at the cost of qualifying position. This unique predicament forced many of the teams to run both setups in Free Practice to make a decision ahead of the race.

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At the end of the first day of practice Fernando Alonso is not deluded in view of the Italian Grand Prix, but the affection of Monza leads him to show a desire to win that has not been seen for some time in his eyes, disappointed as he was by the performance of his Ferrari: 

 

"I prefer to take risks and get fourth or fifth rather than settle for second place - says the Asturian at the end of the first day of free practice, which saw him close to fifth place - is not like a Champions League final, but it is a very important GP because Italian fans expect a lot: it would be much better to win here than in the last races".

 

Alonso’s competitive wickedness is contrasted by the technical gap that Ferrari must endure compared to its rivals: 

 

"The car is identical to Spa, where we were a second behind the competitors. Even now we are late. We can not hope for a sudden magic, and even think that everything will be easy because you run in Monza. And this also applies to next year: we are already working hard and expectations are very high, but nothing is taken for granted. We definitely lack a bit of performance compared to our opponents, they go faster, we have to find something for qualifying".

 

Not only does the Spanish driver expect more for qualifying, as Felipe Massa is also on the same wavelength: 

 

"We have improved a lot from morning to afternoon, but I hope to make more progress, Saturday and Sunday are the days that matter - admits the Brazilian of Ferrari, who preceded Alonso in Friday free practice - we look for the right compromise between stability and speed: Red Bull didn’t go so fast, but it went fast, faster than us".

 

Sebastian Vettel is forced to chase: 

 

"The car seems okay, but here McLaren seems like the team to beat. It was an interesting day on a track normally difficult for Red Bull. It is difficult to make judgments because on Friday there is always a bit of confusion because of the traffic on the track. But we are quite happy with the car".

 

Lewis Hamilton, best time of the day, is optimistic: 

 

"We’re doing pretty well, I’m not that worried about Red Bull. Both Jenson (Button, ed) and I are very happy with the car. We’re in a strong position. Red Bull seemed very fast at the end, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have the same gas load as us. I’m optimistic for tomorrow".

 

Ferrari has officially surrendered, it’s hot as hell, the World Championship is already over for a long time (if it ever started), the races almost always win the same driver with the same car, and maybe Sunday it rains as well. But Monza is still Monza, and probably not even a hurricane would prevent fans to set up their tent in the large park and pour out at dawn towards the track. Just a little, around here, a red flag, a drape, or the shadow of a pony behind the door of a garage, and the frenzy breaks out: Friday there is nothing to celebrate, at least for Ferrari fans. Yet during the autograph session - twenty minutes in which the drivers are physically dedicated to the fans, signing with a smile printed on their faces t-shirts photos paperwork flyers and hats, a very civilised ritual that football should hurry to copy - Thousands of devotees have swept through barriers and orderlies to snatch even a handshake from their idols, which are basically two, Alonso and Schumacher, and maybe a little Massa. A few moments before, as soon as the mechanics had opened the garage of Ferrari to start working on single-seaters, the same devotees had sung a hymn of Mameli as spontaneous as moving. 

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And without reason, if it is true that more or less simultaneously, Stefano Domenicali announced on TV that Ferrari has decided to surrender, to abandon the season. 

 

"Now for Monza we will put together a special package. Then for Singapore we will propose some small improvements. But after that the car will not be changed again. Because in Maranello we are dedicated to 2012, and we cannot afford another bad start to the season". 

 

In two weeks, in Singapore, the unhappy 150 game Italy will arrive at the end of the line, therefore, hoping that at the previous stop, that is, there may be some surprise. But it wouldn’t be so important either, because Monza is always Monza, beyond the results. And here everyone smiles when F1 arrives, the sponsors smile that invent one every minute to get in the newspapers (Mr Geox, who is Red Bull’s partner from this year, presents the F1 wet shoe, which beyond the tyre wording, would be nothing more than a waterproof shoe). The organizers, who are also incredulous, announce that they have exceeded last year’s figures in advance (130.000 visitors during the weekend), despite the astronomical price of tickets (ranging from 163 to 600 euros) and the crisis. 

 

"It must have been the driving effect of Alonso’s triumph last year".

 

It’s the most popular explanation. And finally the drivers also smile that all this enthusiasm breathes in every corner of the paddock. 

 

"Monza is special for a thousand reasons. Because it is a unique circuit, it is the fastest in the world, it is the one where the atmosphere is most invasive. Then for us at Ferrari it is even more so: I think of the engineers and mechanics who have their families in the stands. We all always make a hundred percent to win, but it is clear that here you give even more; I won in Monza both Renault and Ferrari. In the first case I remember the immense joy of having won a difficult race. In the second was another thing, at the finish I realized that a red car, an Italian car had won the Grand Prix. And it was something mythical. Nothing like it". 

 

On the same wavelength, for once, is also Felipe Massa. The Brazilian is a sort of veteran of Monza lived in red: 

 

"Here it is as if we had a special fuel, and that fuel is the fans...".

 

Black Friday falls on the head of Ferrari like a bucket of frozen water and pushes one like Fernando Alonso, that is a kind of smiling and indecipherable mask, a Mona Lisa with the sponsor’s hat, to escape phrases veined by an almost Brazilian pessimism. McLaren and Red Bull have shown their competitiveness and, apparently, are much faster. Ferrari after a day of sweat has yes and no understood in which direction to work in view of qualifying. And so, parked the car in the garage, Alonso shows up in the motorhome with the face of Massa and warns everyone: 

 

"Monza is special for Ferrari, it’s true, but this does not mean that it is a walk, there are also others and the others are strong". 

 

While there is, the Spaniard takes the opportunity to extend the reasoning and warn fans even for the more distant future, based on the same reasoning: 

 

"It won’t be a walk in the park next year, 2012. The fact that we have started working on it since now does not mean that in March we will put the new car on the track and we will be ahead of the others, indeed, in my opinion there will be a lot of suffering". 

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Disturbing words, all the more so considering that they were pronounced in what in theory should be the lair of the wolf, and that raise a concern already repeatedly expressed by Lewis Hamilton, to be only at the beginning of the cycle of Red Bull Racing, a period who knows how long dominated by ticket Adrian Newey-Sebastian Vettel.

 

"In fact, I’m only at the beginning of my work. Ferrari has been looking for me, it’s no secret. But I stay here at Red Bull: I’m having fun, my job is to create the solid foundation on which to build a building".

 

How many other details the project foresees, is yet to be discovered, but the impression is that there are many, like a skyscraper, at least judging by how quickly the image of the Red Bull boys is changing in these months. Until last year, they were the fun team, girls with long legs under the blue skirt, glamorous parties, disco friends who remain so even on the track. Now they are the most unpleasant mechanics of the pit lan", those who if you drop a clamp in their box do not bring it back, those who cheat on the budget data and the number of employees, in short, the unpleasant, classic role of the winners that once was all Ferrari or McLaren depending on the season. Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, asks a bit of rhetoric a bit no:

 

"We dislikes? I didn’t know. Of course when you win it is normal. And to think that ours is a long-term project". 

 

Lucky that the future always passes for the present, and that the present is a race yet to be disputed, with all its unknowns and its unforeseen. 

 

"We are working hard, in these hours in qualifying McLaren and Red Bull will be the lion’s share, but we are sure that in the race we will have our say".

 

On Saturday, September 10, 2011, the qualifying began in dry conditions at Monza, and the first qualifying period saw Pastor Maldonado crashing to the barriers at Parabolica early on. He was able to pit for a new front wing and return to the circuit, advancing to the second period at the expense of Jaime Alguersuari, who was eliminated alongside the Lotus, Virgin and HRT entries. Daniel Ricciardo out-qualified team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi for the first time, while Timo Glock narrowly bested team mate Jérôme d'Ambrosio, despite problems with his rear wing. Jarno Trulli out-qualified Heikki Kovalainen for just the second time in 2011. The second qualifying period was marked by the midfield teams attempting to advance to Q3. The Red Bulls, McLarens, Mercedes and Ferraris easily progressed with Vitaly Petrov in ninth, just one thousandth of a second behind Hamilton. Hamilton, who had initially used the prime tyres, returned to the circuit on the options, due to uncertainty of the security of his time, though Petrov remained in his garage. The remaining drivers were all competing for the final spot in Q3. Adrian Sutil briefly held tenth before being passed by Paul di Resta, and di Resta was out qualified in turn by Bruno Senna by a margin of 0.006 seconds. Behind the Force Indias, were the Williamses of Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado, with Sébastien Buemi sandwiched by the Saubers of Pérez and Kobayashi. In the final ten-minute part, Ferrari sent both cars out together to give both drivers an opportunity to tow each other to a higher grid spot, though the strategy largely failed. McLaren followed with their second runs being more crucial; Hamilton made a mistake at the Variante Roggia, which caused Michael Schumacher to slow down. Jenson Button pitted after a mistake in the Parabolica, but qualified third behind Hamilton, by five hundredths of a second. There was a larger margin to Vettel though, who was half a second faster than Hamilton. It was Vettel's tenth pole of the season - joining Ayrton Senna as the only other driver to have taken ten pole positions in two separate seasons - and the 25th of his career. Alonso, Webber, Massa, Petrov, Schumacher, Rosberg and Senna - who did not set a lap time in the session - completed the first five rows of the grid. The power of Red Bull Racing is nothing new. 

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You can’t rub your eyes if someone who has already spent nine Saturdays as a king adds to the collection also the tenth, out of thirteen appointments, seriously jeopardizing the historic record of Mansell, fourteen pole positions in a season. And yet Sebastian Vettel, who in Monza three years ago began his epic with the first triumph aboard the small Toro Rosso, in his ruthless dictatorship still manages to marvel. Because here, on a circuit where top speed matters a lot and he has the lowest one, the German with Red Bull Racing has always struggled, here in the first sector he has never been able to impose his law, running around the eighth position, Everyone here thought he might have problems with the kers. Instead Vettel is confirmed and what is worse annihilates the opponents, trimming sidereal gaps at all, half a second to Hamilton and a few cents more to the other McLaren, that of Button, 0.6 seconds to Alonso, in the second row with the fourth time for the fifth time in 2011, 0.7 seconds (and here the story gets really embarrassing) to team-mate Webber, and 0.9 seconds to poor Massa, who recognizes the lack of competitiveness of Ferrari on the dry lap, but does not explain why he pays relevant duty to his teammate. Vettel destroys everyone and eventually, among his rivals, choirs of wonder and disappointment abound. While Luca Montezemolo, present at the pits with headphones, in an attempt to spur a Ferrari that he himself defines as born wrong, says that more could not be done, second and third row are a satisfactory result, possible springboard to the podium, Lewis Hamilton doubts the competitiveness of the car driven by Sebastian Vettel: 

 

"I did not think he could give me such a gap, I was sure to play it at par". 

 

And you can hear wonder in Jenson Button’s voice: 

 

"I can’t understand how Vettel can be so quick. Nothing is lost, in the race we can use the rear wing mobile in two different points, overtaking will not be lacking, but certainly the superiority shown by Vettel is embarrassing". 

 

Strange, also in virtue of recent past. Vettel, superstitious as usual, preaches calm: 

 

"The race will be complicated, there is never anything easy". 

 

But then he can’t help but admit: 

 

"I have a huge margin on the others, I’m amazed too. It is no secret that our car is so strong, but we are now also good on tracks like this that made us suffer. The trick? Only one: I look at the track, I try to stay in it and push to the maximum. There is nothing else". 

 

Rather there is that this for him is a special place. 

 

"The circuit of my first victory and certain emotions are not forgotten. I have the great opportunity to repeat myself". 

 

The German driver, also for Lewis Hamilton: 

 

"In the end I had nothing else to give, maybe a few tenths more but I couldn’t reach Vettel. The team did a great job we are competitive, there was a step forward but Sebastian is even faster. He was impeccable today".

 

And what’s more, Alonso does not want to deceive the many Ferrari fans who will storm the circuit today. 

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"If at the first corner I pass a McLaren, if I become third, the race can become interesting. The podium is possible, the victory less. We hope to get podium. Neither yesterday nor this morning we were really strong. There is still work ahead of tomorrow’s race. It’s a really nice surprise this fourth position. With the heat I think it can have positive effects. We are closer to them (at Red Bull and McLaren, ed) than fifteen days ago at Spa (Circuit of Belgium, ed), where we had 0.8 seconds from Red Bull and 0.3-0.4 seconds from McLaren. Now we are much closer".

 

Anyway, Domenicali, the team principal, swears: 

 

"We will run to the attack. And in the race we are usually stronger than on Saturday". 

 

Hope. That Luca Montezemolo (before leaving Monza is entertained for a long time, kisses and hugs, with Michael Schumacher) hijacks especially on 2012:

 

"Where we will no longer have to make mistakes, be strong from the first race and return to win". 

 

Then he threw himself into a precise charge against Gilles Simon, already father of Ferrari engines, then super expert of the FIA and now destined to work for Cosworth. He doesn’t mention it, but he says: 

 

"One who knows all the secrets of the team can not go to work for a manufacturer, is unacceptable and should never happen again".

 

And speaking for a moment of the current race, he says:

 

"At least as far as I have seen so far we are not at the best of the condition, but we will do the math on Sunday night. I see our people very motivated and I hope that we will be able to give great satisfaction to our fans like last year. There are two small details, unfortunately the machine was not born very well and even with all the care is difficult to make it become exceptional; secondly we do not run alone. Anyway, we’ll see how it ends on Sunday".

 

On Sunday, September 11, 2011, Fernando Alonso is the first driver into the first corner, having made the best start off the line from fourth. However, his lead was short-lived; further down the field, Vitantonio Liuzzi made contact with Heikki Kovalainen and slid off across the grass and directly into Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg. The three cars retired on the spot, while Rubens Barrichello was stuck in between the retireescars undamaged, but was forced to wait until they were cleared, ruining his race. The safety car was deployed as the debris was cleared up, and when racing resumed, Sebastian Vettel quickly claimed the lead from Alonso. Vettel would remain unchallenged for the rest of the race, claiming his eighteenth victory. Meanwhile, Jérôme d'Ambrosio retired on the first lap with a gearbox problem. Further down the grid, Lewis Hamilton was caught unawares by the restart and was quickly passed by Michael Schumacher, whilst Mark Webber challenged Felipe Massa for sixth place going into the first chicane. The two made contact and Massa was spun around, but was able to continue racing; for his part, Webber tried to limp back to the pits with a broken front wing, but crashed out at the Parabolica, recording Red Bull Racing's first retirement of the season. Adrian Sutil joined the growing list of retirements several laps later with hydraulic problems, pulling his Force India VJM04 over at the Ascari chicane. As Vettel and Alonso increased their leads, Hamilton began to threaten Schumacher for third. Schumacher was warned over the radio several times for blocking by team principal Ross Brawn; Schumacher was taking a defensive line going into the Ascari chicane before cutting back over to the racing line. 

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The battle with Hamilton slowed both drivers down enough that fifth-placed Jenson Button could catch up to them, and things came to a head when Schumacher cut Hamilton off at the Curva Grande and forcing him onto the grass on the inside of the corner. As Hamilton backed off, Button was able to pass him. Where Hamilton's fight with Schumacher would last thirty laps, Button passed the Mercedes driver on his first attempt, leaving him free to pursue Alonso. Hamilton claimed fourth from Schumacher when the German made his first scheduled stop. The Sauber C30s of Kamui Kobayashi and seventh-placed Sergio Pérez retired with near-identical gearbox problems, reducing the field to just fifteen drivers plus Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo's car had gone into anti-stall on the grid before failing to engage a gear. The car was immediately returned to the pits while repairs were carried out, and although Ricciardo returned to the circuit, he was some eight laps behind the last-placed Timo Glock at the time of Pérez's retirement. Ricciardo would ultimately finish the race fourteen laps behind race winner Vettel, and was therefore not classified as a finisher as he had failed to complete 90% of the winner's race distance. With just fifteen drivers on the track, the Team Lotus drivers of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli were able to secure 13th and 14th place, further reinforcing the team's claim to tenth in the World Constructors' Championship. Vettel went on to win the race by 9.5 seconds from Jenson Button, who had caught and passed Alonso with less than ten laps to go. Once freed from behind Schumacher's Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton started catching Alonso at a rate that meant the 2008 World Champion would only be able to pass his former teammate on the last lap. Ultimately, it was not to be; Alonso completed the podium, crossing the finish line half a second ahead of Hamilton. Jenson Button scored his third consecutive second-place finish and fourth podium at Monza. After finishing fifth in Belgium, Schumacher repeated his performance with another fifth place, in front of Massa, whose race had largely been ruined by the early contact with Webber. Jaime Alguersuari scored a career-best finish with seventh place, ahead of Paul di Resta. 

 

The four points di Resta earned for eighth place, plus the double retirement of the Saubers helped elevate Force India to sixth in the constructors' standings. Bruno Senna scored his first World Championship points in ninth place, whilst Sébastien Buemi claimed the final World Championship point. Good thing this was an unfavorable track for Red Bull Racing. Given the race, with the usual domination of Sebastian Vettel, one wonders what would have happened if the track had been favorable. After being surprised as a chicken at the start by Alonso, Vettel in fact has immediately reviewed, going then to win, with an impressive race rhythm: think that after just 17 laps he was already rounding the poor Trulli. Now the World Championship is practically won. And his emotion on the podium is the most direct testimony. Vettel, records and world titles apart, in Monza Alonso did however dream, shooting at the start like lightning and passing first at the first corner, complete with braking record and overtaking with two wheels on the grass. The red dream, however, lasted little, also because then Vettel returned to the assault and immediately relegated him to second place, became then third for the assault of Button who with icy coolness first passed Hamilton who was struggling with a wild Schumacher and then went to take second place. Already, Schumacher: in the end his fifth place behind Hamilton and in front of the Ferrari of Massa does not do justice to the spectacular race he was able to do: placing behind the first immediately after the start and then fighting several times with a promising Hamilton that - it should be remembered - he had a much faster car. Here is the resistance of Schumacher is a bit 'the secret of the day and the race because the return of the German meant that in the end Ferrari could go on the podium: if Hamilton had not lost all that time behind the German, the third place, or perhaps even the second would not have taken it from him. But this is F1: if you can’t overtake, you don’t go anywhere. And he swears:

 

"I had a good time". 

 

Today’s Schumacher must rejoice for a fifth place, not even a distant relative of those seven world titles that have made him the greatest driver ever, but he’s right, this time he enjoyed himself and above all he has passionate the many fans in the stands, who still imagine him dressed red, and never stopped loving him. 

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For 27 laps the German, from two races driver protagonist and not ex that makes tenderness, has engaged a furious duel with Hamilton, passed him at the start, gaining with a fantastic start five positions, from eighth to third, and then he systematically closed the door. Funny after the race his summary of the battle. 

 

"Lewis and I are known to be two who never give up. To get the best I used a trick, with every attack, I widened my car and narrowed the track". 

 

In reality, the magic wand was his guide, so at the limit, with continuous zigzag, to force the jury to recall him, dangerous antechamber to disqualification. Commissioners warned Ross Brawn, the Mercedes team principal: 

 

"Too many changes of direction, tell him". 

 

And the friend had to yell at him on the radio: 

 

"Give him more space next time". 

 

But Schumacher has accepted up to a point and recognizes it with honesty: 

 

"I limited myself, but I did not let him pass. He was the one who got the better and only because he was enormously faster". 

 

Which makes Schumi even more honored. Nice figure, also to deserve the gold steering wheel, prize that is awarded by the local Confartigianato (while Ecclestone gets an award from Brembo, company that celebrated fifty years in F1). And the compliments that Montezemolo had made him on Saturday, to which he guarantees: 

 

"Alonso drives a Ferrari. He will soon become World Champion".

 

The huge roundabout on the sea of crowds makes your head spin. It gives euphoria, and maybe it pushes you to tell the truth, leaving aside political correctness. Vettel of Red Bull dressed (but with Italian flag on the helmet and the inscription 150) discovers that by now the victory of the second consecutive world title is really close, in Singapore we are already at the first match ball, it could be realized if he imposes himself as it often happens (in Monza he won the eighth triumph of the season), Webber and Button do not go beyond the third place and Alonso finishes fourth or behind. But on the same day his desire for red explodes uncontrollably, pushing him to move on the podium to tears and to woo Maranello. We are in Italy and the German exclaims: 

 

"This is the most beautiful podium in the world, the most exciting, winning here gives an incredible emotion. Hear the audience scream, a wonderful, beautiful thing. I think the best thing is to be dressed in a red jumpsuit. I realize how I feel now, I imagine what emotion I would have if I ran with a car of that color". 

 

Few stories, this is a candidacy. Because red in Formula 1 has only one name, the Ferrari. Vettel would like to be in the shoes, or teammate, of Alonso. He repeats it three times during the day, using it as an interlude when he tells of his happiness at the finish, of his exultation on the podium or when he recalls his first career success, in 2008, on this track and on the Italian Toro Rosso. So the question arises: 

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"Me in Ferrari? In the future never say never".

 

It is his candid reply. Then accompanied by the classic clarifications, inevitable and dutiful: 

 

"Without Red Bull, I’d be nothing. They’ve trusted me since I was a kid, I was 12, I’m so happy to run with this team, to win for you. It’s a team that manages to surprise me too, the car improves with every race. Let’s take Monza: in the last two years here we were a disaster, impossible not only to win, but to grab the podium. We got so much better, and now here I am, celebrating another success. From the first few miles on Friday, I knew this would be my weekend. The bet was on Saturday, when we chose a race set-up and we weren’t convinced that we could take pole. The result was to trim more than half a second at all, incredible. Then in the race I was never afraid, even when at the start I was overtaken by Alonso. That’s an animal, it looked like it came out of the jungle, it rocked and it put me in. It never stopped, an incredible braking at the first corner. However, I have not lost my temper and my overtaking against him deserves some applause, also because it was done without using the rear movable wing. He tried to close the door, push me out, on the grass, but not enough. I put two wheels off the track, but the car did not lose grip, it is perfectly balanced and I left". 

 

Towards a World Championship that can no longer escape him. In Monza, in his presence were all extras, Button (second)and Alonso (third) who accompanied him on the podium, Hamilton, Schumacher and Massa. Vettel is preparing to give the final blow to Singapore. And then maybe, in the near or distant future, continue, but with Ferrari. A dream no longer hidden.

 

"It’s fun to have to fight with Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso. It was a great race and although we didn’t fight for the win, it was fun and the atmosphere here is really great. Good race from all". 

 

McLaren driver Jenson Button is pleased with the second place at the end of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. While McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh did not regret Lewis Hamilton’s missed third place.

 

"I didn’t think he’d make it past Alonso. It’s our job to try and the team encouraged him to the end. Of course we would have liked to see a race with an extra lap. Honestly here it’s nice to see a Ferrari on the podium anyway, maybe with us instead of Red Bull. It was a good fight, Fernando made a fantastic start, like Michael Schumacher, who is a difficult driver to overcome and our drivers lost time".

 

Whitmarsh then praised Jenson Button, second at the finish: 

 

"Clever? In the last races he made more than thirty-five overtakings, everyone sees him as a cautious driver, instead he is very skilled, he is driving very well, certainly when you lose time at the beginning it is difficult. Do you think about 2012? Of course, but we would still like to win races this year and we will go everywhere to try, this applies to everyone, including Ferrari. We don’t want to leave everything to Red Bull".

 

According to him, Stefano Domenicali promises: 

 

"We will be ready for 2012. Work in Maranello has already started for many weeks, in the technical offices we work on the 2012 project". 

 

The team principal of Ferrari dwells on the work done in Maranello ahead of next season. 

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"From a regulatory point of view there are no major interventions on the area of discharges, the one that has greatly affected the result of this year. The rest of the season? Beyond having the goal of winning some races, we will use certain moments of the weekend to try something. There will be a lot of activity to do in these last races. Tires? It has been a year where we have all had to learn how to work with the new tyre, Pirelli has done an extraordinary job, we have to improve to understand what can be done with these tyres. We hope to have a car product that can limit to the maximum the effect that can give the tire. More tests? It is a necessary choice, we had gone from an extreme to the opposite extreme, I am happy because we will have a test session at Mugello and I think it is the right solution".

 

More than the car of 2012, perhaps Ferrari should think directly to that of 2013. Certainly that of 2011, that is the one that raced in Monza, has reached the end of the line: in his house, in a track that has historically seen him advantaged the competition, the F150 Italia was so far behind Red Bull Racing (but also compared to McLaren) that catching up all the gap in time for next year would be a miracle. That’s why Alonso, who understands things long before others, has been warning everyone for days: 

 

"Do not expect a walk for next year". 

 

Already, out of the fight for the victory of the World Championship, out of the race for the Constructors' World Championship, lost even the home race, Ferrari remains in the crosshairs a goal that defines minimum equivalent to a certificate of generosity: the second place of Fernando Alonso in the drivers' standings. 

 

"Given the superiority of Red Bull, coming in second is not so bad, and then it is always better than fifth". 

 

The Spaniard shows more patience than he really has: 

 

"We just have to try to have fun at each of the next six races". 

 

That is what he did in Monza, making the right start that projects him directly into the myth. A masterpiece of instinct and courage that is worth telling with his words: 

 

"I had to choose: right or left, to pass Hamilton. I had chosen the left, but then I saw Vettel moving slightly towards Lewis, and I thought it would close the gap. So I went right, practically on the pit lane exit. Hamilton saw me and he chased me, in the end I think I was for a few moments with two wheels on the grass and two on the asphalt, and with the throttle at the maximum. I made it to the funnel of the first corner. And there I was lucky, really great". 

 

Alonso’s fun aside, but there is little else. In fact, almost nothing, just a bunch of questions and concerns abundantly justified by the technical moment that the team lives. Felipe Massa argues with Mark Webber

 

"Webber touched me, I turned around and lost a lot of positions, then I lost time passing cars that didn’t have a fast pace. Really a shame because without this problem I could be there to fight with them because the car worked well, the pace was not bad and the tires also behaved well. My problem was that Webber who touched me, we hope that what happened today will not happen again and that you can start and get in the right position".

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After having found for a moment the path of development (immediately after the departure of the engineer Aldo Costa) the engineers of Maranello during the summer break seem to have lost it again, if it is true that the package prepared for the fast races of Spa and Monza has failed. Says Stefano Domenicali:

 

"Worried? No, not at all. Also because many of the aircraft on which we have not been able to make the leap in quality, for next year there will no longer be by regulation, such as discharges". 

 

Yet in the air there is a certain feeling of bewilderment. A subtle uneasiness that ripples the air of the motorhome and that increases when we consider that the pencils that have worked on the failed summer developments of the F150 Series. are the same ones that are thinking about the 2012 project. Are they too busy about the future or is there something that escapes, or rather, that keeps escaping?


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