The Top 5 from Monza
Published 12th September 2012 - Written by Craig Norman
The leaves have settled on the Monza tarmac, and with that the Badgerometer has sifted it’s way through all the intrigue and excitement to give you the Top 5 from the Italian Grand Prix!
The Red Bull ride might be over
Cast your minds back to Korea 2010. It’s a race with few notable lasts – Felipe Massa on the podium being one of them – but it’s also the last time a Red Bull failed to finish a race.
While it used to be common place for teams not to get a car home, the reigning champions have always been able to get points to keep their constructors challenge going. Now it’s a case of just how much a double DNF could cost them, especially as a McLaren won and both Ferraris – for once – scored big points.
It’s been four races since the FIA got wind of Red Bull’s engine mapping black magic, and the results are clear to see. Sebastian Vettel took two poles and a 4th in the three races before, and in the three after, it’s been 3rd, 10th and 6th. Mark Webber has had three gearbox problems, which haven’t helped, but he’s not been on the pace at all.
Has Adrian Newey been found out?
Kimi could sneak it in 2012
30 years ago Keke Rosberg won the title with only a single win, the Finn being consistent while his rivals all stumbled over each other. In 2012, Kimi seems to be picking up that role quite nicely.
He’s now 3rd in the standings, one point ahead of Sebastian Vettel and one point behind Lewis Hamilton. To nab 5th on an afternoon when his car just wasn’t fast, or kind on it’s tyres, should put a tiny little smile on Kimi’s face. Hopefully.
With tracks like Singapore, Japan, Korea and Brazil on the horizon, the Lotus E20 could come alive. If – or more appropriately, when – Raikkonen breaks the duck this year, it could propel him right into the mix for this year’s Drivers Championship.
Not a bad comeback at all!
The Alonso – Vettel Grudge Match
In a sport that moves forward so quickly, in terms of speed and development, but it’s funny how drivers end up having memories like elephants.
Rewind 12 months ago; while fighting for the lead, Fernando Alonso defended from Sebastian Vettel. The Spaniard gave the Red Bull room, but only so much – Vettel took to the grass but still made the pass stick.
This year, the roles were reversed.
The German wunderkid defended hard from an attacking Alonso, in exactly the same part of the track, only this time the Ferrari was pushed too far wide and bounced across the grass. The tifosi were in uproar, Fernando cried “that’s enough” on the radio and Sebastian got a drive-through.
Could Vettel’s behaviour have been a grudge from 2011, or was it just robust defending?
All eyes on Hamilton
Just to be clear, Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix. That should be the big story of the weekend for him, but it all seems to be about his contract status with McLaren and where the Brit might be driving in 2013.
Pestered from the first press conference, throughout practice, after qualifying and all the way through the post-race questioning, it was all about whether or not he’d signed for Mercedes or not, a story broke by Eddie Jordan and the BBC a few days before.
Let’s face it – Lewis wouldn’t be where he is these days without McLaren, including the celebrity lifestyle and exposure. He owes the team that, and by not denying he’s been in touch with Mercedes (even if it is just a ruse to increase his pay) puts strain on their working relationship.
His best bet is to resign. There’s no doubt about it. So why is he stalling?
The curious case of Sergio Perez
Every time this little Mexican does well, not only does it increase the rumours that he’ll be wearing Maranello red next season (we all know it’s a stark possibility), but it also has positive and negative effects for others on the grid. Not taking anything away from just how good Sergio drove – it was absolutely mighty to see him make an alternate strategy work to perfection – but there are some long terms effects.
Let’s take his current team, Sauber. All of a sudden, an outfit that was the leftover carcass of BMW’s latest foray into the sport is now a leading midfield team that might have a vacancy for next season. The 2012 chassis is nimble, adaptable, and savors it’s tyres like they’re it’s favourite biscuit. If a driver like Perez can work wonders with it, why shouldn’t a big name go there instead of hanging on for one of the top 6 seats.
The other effect a herioc performance like Perez’s does is put more pressure on Kamui Kobayashi. Remember him? The man that made a name harassing Jenson Button’s Brawn in a Toyota a few seasons ago? Now he seems like yesterday’s news, despite some absolutely superb qualifying performances. He is in stark danger of becoming yesterday’s news while being forced from a highly coveted seat along the way.
And then there’s the Ferrari angle. If Sergio is to leave, is the Prancing Horse the best place for him to go? The team has admitted to getting the car wrong this season, Fernando doesn’t play well with others, and even it’s own boss has said Sergio is too inexperienced. Perez might be ready for Ferrari, but is the team ready for him?