Sunday, 12 September 2010

Monza moments

The start Jenson Button got a great launch and Fernando Alonso needn't have squeezed across as the McLaren already had the initiative. Alonso tagged the back of Button and then went wheel to wheel with team mate Felipe Massa. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton was now on their tails. Going into turn 4 he had a look up the inside. He tried to stay tight on the inside but couldn't take any more kerb and made contact. The first tap was ok but the second was terminal. Hamilton's mistake though a tad unlucky to be out on the spot. Hindsight shows that more caution was required. The McLaren has escaped in a few scrapes this season though and today he didn't get away with it.

Jaime Alguersuari The Spaniard lost a point in Spa after cutting a chicane and he was at it again on lap 1. The Toro Rosso passed both Force India's by doing so and was awarded a deserved drive through penalty for gaining an advantage. Getting outperformed by Sebastien Buemi and needs some good drives to finish the season strongly.

Red Bull face difficulties Mark Webber lost 2 places off the line but worse was to follow when he ended up wide into the gravel out of turn 5 and lost another 3 places. He recovered excellently, passing Schumacher, Kubica and Hulkenberg on his way to 6th position. That gave him the championship lead but he was still frustrated, probably partly because he could have built a bigger gap over team mate Sebastian Vettel and strengthening his position in the team.

Vettel recovered from a sticky brake pedal which cost him time and a position to Webber to run all the way to the final lap before making his 1 pitstop to finish in 4th.

Strategy decides the winner Alonso had got close to Button a few times but seem to be able to keep in touch whilst keeping his tyres in check. For race leader Button, it was either pit and go for a quick outlap on the hard tyres or stay out and deliver a good in lap on used soft tyres. McLaren felt pitting first was the best option but the world champion said he had poor grip initially and Alonso put the hammer down to just edge ahead when he exited from his pitstop. The Spaniard had a pitlane time that was almost a second quicker than Button and that was probably the difference between first and second.

Nico Hulkenberg The German rode his luck today after cutting chicanes 3 times which did not improve Mark Webber's mood who was stuck behind him for a while. The Williams rookie has been quietly impressive recently, always close to experienced team mate Rubens Barrichello and has been quite consistent. It hasn't been particularly flashy like Petrov and Kobayashi but that has been partly down to good qualifying performances, meaning he hasn't found himself on a recovery drive come Sunday.

So with 5 races to go, 5 drivers remain firmly in the title hunt. This race has seen a recovery to a certain extent for all 3 contenders who failed to score in Spa. Singapore will be a totally different challenge. There we will see what sort of effect the revised load tests have had on Red Bull. The streets and dust of Singapore provide a mental and physical test with a race that will run the two hour limit close. Brakes are under pressure and mistakes are punished, its a gruelling challenge and we've already seen what it can produce in the past 2 years. Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were both on the podium last year and they will be desperate to repeat that.

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