Monza! It is one of the oldest and fastest tracks on the calendar. And the Tifosi are out in force. This is a fun race to watch. Someday maybe I can see it live and in person. But first I have to win the lottery.
There was a new face in the front row after qualifying. Adrian Sutil in the Force India. Wow. That’s twice in two races that FI have landed at the pointy end. He had pole for a brief shining moment, but then Lewis Hamilton pipped him at the last minute. I was disappointed. Lewis has been on pole in his shiny McLaren lots of times, it’s boring. Sutil on pole would have been more interesting. Kimi Raikkonen started third. Giancarlo Fisichella started 14th in the second Ferrari.
This was his first race for the Scuderia. He had been a Force India driver until last week, and Fisi will be pinch-hitting for Massa for the rest of the season. And Vitantonio Liuzzi stepped into Fisi’s old spot at Force India.
Alonso was eighth on the grid. He had the KERS system back on the car this weekend, but I wasn’t expecting much. He ended up finishing fifth, which was a spot higher than I had predicted.
Hamilton and Sutil were both fuelled very light, going for a short first stint. Funny that when Hamilton starts the race on fumes nobody says a word, but when Alonso starts from the front with a light fuel load it’s all we hear about. Hmmm. I wonder why that is.
Kimi got around Sutil at the start. I knew he would. Kimi has KERS too, (a sort of push to pass system) and Sutil did not. Kimi and Hamilton sped off into the distance. Sutil was third and the Brawn cars filled out the top five. This was good for the Brawns because they were only planning to pit once, but the top three were all on a two-stop strategy. If the Brawns could stay close, they might be able to snag the lead.
After the first round of pit stops Hamilton inherited the lead, but Brawn took it over after Hamilton came in for his second stop. Suddenly the running order was Barrichello, Button, and Hamilton, with Kimi in fourth.
But with just one lap to go in the race Hamilton lost the back end and crashed hard. He just kind of sat there for minute and I was getting worried. I hate it when they crash, and I especially hate it when they crash and they sit there not moving. It makes me nervous. Especially after what happened to Massa. That makes two DNF’s in a row for Hamilton and it has mathematically eliminated him from this year’s championship.
On that front, Button retains the lead, but Barrichello inched a little bit closer. He is only 14 points behind now. With four races to go there are only four drivers in contention. Button and Barichello for Brawn (whew! That’s a lot of alliteration) and Vettel and Webber for Red Bull. Vettel managed to finish 8th for one lonely championship point, but Webber crashed out in lap one. Poor thing.
Next on the agenda is the WMSC hearing in Paris regarding the whole “Crashgate” Renault scandal. Then the Singapore Grand Prix on September 27.
As always, please consult a real Formula 1 news website for accurate race information.
And has anybody else noticed that Speed TV’s Peter Windsor have been practically drooly in his comments about Alonso the last few races? I wonder why the sudden turnaround. Windsor has done nothing but slag Fernando off since 2007. Curious.