It’s not often that one has to take a long breather post-race to actually sit down and write about it. But that’s exactly what happened during the F1 race in Monza. Sebastian Vettel won an easy race, running almost-perfect, while Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber took 2nd and 3rd place.
By Chitra Subramanyam
You can always tell how sleepy a race is, by the number of smart-ass, tongue-in-cheek comments you see on Twitter. It takes time to come up with those sassy one-liners.
Or you can tell by the number of times the commentators say, What if, What if…
Or by how prompt a race report is.
And this was Monza. I was excited. After all, I had visited these hallowed grounds in May, walked through its shaded paths and stood on the Parabolica on a rainy day. All this while jumping up and down like a giddy bunny while watching the World Superbike Championship.
So when the F1 circus made its way to Monza, I was a giddy bunny once again. I mean, temple of speed, stuff of legends, et al. There are so many ways to describe Monza.
And a snooze fest is definitely not one of them.
Unfortunately, that’s what I got on Monza Sunday.
There were moments of excitement, several seconds of thumping hearts, and a little bit of cheering as well. But that’s all it was. Mere moments.
I know you will say I am anti-Finger and terribly biased. But, hey I don’t hate Sebastian Vettel. It’s just that he just KEEPS winning. And I am honestly tired of our commentators who keep saying he’s wunderkind. I feel myself going all grumpy when I hear it. And there’s that tantrumy part of me that says, while stomping my foot, “No, he isn’t. He isn’t, if he has raced for just one team, which also happens to have the strongest car.”
Now, can you see why I waited for a bit before writing my Monza post?
Enough of my Vettel-lament. On to the race. So, Vettel won. (Like you had any doubts). He apparently had gearbox issues. Not that we noticed. He just charged ahead, increased the gap, passed the rest of the lot when he had to and stayed in front. Though, if I am totally honest, another reason for my post-Monza grumpiness is that Vettel had no competition. Even the rain failed us! His teammate Mark Webber (I am going to miss the Aussie next year) took 3rd place. Yay.
Fernando Alonso was brilliant. In that, he overcame a car that lacked pace, and challenged the Red Bull (well, at least one of them), to take 2nd place. He, along with Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton were the only bright sparks at the Italian circuit. They also happen to be the only ones who can offer our German nemesis a little competition (No offense, McLaren. I love you, but…) Both Alonso and Felipe Massa (4th) collected points that pushed them ahead of Mercedes in the constructor’s championship.
But it wasn’t all happy and ice-creamy for the Ice Man. Kimi Raikkonen knew exactly what he was doing in Monza. Except, Lady Luck didn’t let him do anything about it. It started in the beginning when Kimi and Sergio Perez got entangled in a teeny-tiny, touch-and-go affair. The Lotus sported a damaged front wing, and by the time the race was done, tyred (sic) tyres. But Kimi carried on racing, inching towards the front-runners. He was fast, but not fast enough. He finally got outdone by Jenson Button and ended the race at 11th, with no points to his name. That makes it two races in a row!
Lady Luck also abandoned Lewis Hamilton. He was out-done by a slow right-front puncture, which saw him pit twice. Malfunctioning comms added to his grief. By the end of it, everyone, including the pitboards and the folks over Twitter, tried to get his attention. He ended the race at 9th, but it wasn’t good enough. The Silver Arrow team has now slid down the constructors’ championship ladder.
But true bad luck belonged to the Force India team. It began with Paul di Resta who retired after the 1st lap, when he went over Romain Grosjean’s right rear wheel. Di Resta ended up ripping off the left-front wheel of his car. The team withdrew him from the race. His teammate Adrian Sutil seemed to be having a good day, until lap 53. He was on 13th place when his car developed brake problems and Sutil too retired from the race.
We now roll on to Singapore, for the stunning night race. I hope we don’t see too much of the safety car. Though, I can’t help but remember that strange little move Michael Schumacher made when he rear-ended Jean-Eric Vergne last year. Oh well!
But we go to Singapore with some interesting news. It has been some time in coming, and we all knew it would come. Massa is now leaving Ferrari. The Ice Man will be taking his place. One thing’s for sure. The radio talk will be hilarious. Especially if someone tries to give our Ice Man team orders! But that’s stuff for 2014. We will still have to get through this year. And so far, it looks like Vettel will be crowned king once again.
The Monza Results
1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)
2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3. Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
5. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber-Ferrari)
6. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
7. Daniel Ricciardo (STR-Ferrari)
8. Romain Grosjean (Lotus-Renault)
9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
10. Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes)