Well the big surprise is that Hamilton didn’t get out of Q2 ending his run of poles. Given how little he has converted Grid to Finish I’m not sure if fans should be worried or not. Sutil was handed a 3 Grid penalty for impeding which is, I’m sure, little consolation.
All Red Bulls at the front which leads one to believe that this will be another of those boring races where Vettel gets out of the Drag Reduction zone before it even opens (active in 3rd lap, must be within 1 second of the car you’re looking to overtake). Hulkenberg’s Sauber is somewhat unexpected as an interloper in third and Massa outqualified Alonso which may be pure charity.
You see in offtrack news Ricciardo has been confirmed as the Red Bull replacement for Webber. He’s a reliable back bencher who will pile up constructor’s points while being easy on the machinery and unthreatening to Vettel. Yawn. Ferrari wants Raikkonen who’s a legitimate contender in a fast car which, unfortunately for Scuderia Marlboro, they don’t have. They do have Alonso who is good for .5 seconds a lap regardless of what hunk of junk you strap him in and he’s not threatened by a talented second because in his mind there is no driver who is close to his talent.
And he’s absolutely right.
Raikkonen would be a step up for Ferrari, but loyalty is part of the Scuderia mystique. Massa has never really recovered from his head injury (not that he was top tier before it) but it was one for the team and with a good performance in front of the Maranello home crowd he might get renewed out of sentiment.
Another contract that will probably get picked up is Pirelli. They have a hate, hate relationship with Bernie but they’re really the only game in town as Michelin (which was being used to threaten them) has no interest at all in developing tires that degrade on schedule in addition to the fact they got unceremoniously dumped the last time they worked with Formula One. It was never really a credible alternative, merely a negotiating position and I hope Pirelli jacked Bernie up good for a whole pot of money for screwing with them. On offer this weekend are Hards and Mediums which are remarkably conservative picks but have shown the most predictability and are favored by the teams. The main difference between them is not speed but durability and not much at that. Hards will typically last from 5 to 10 laps longer than Mediums.
And all strategies could go in a cocked hat if the weather deteriorates as predicted (Thunderstorms). Monza is the fastest track with the least downforce and it’s very straight except when it’s not. Even so that would favor the Red Bulls who have the most mechanical (as opposed to aerodynamic) grip.
So we shall see how entertaining a race this is.
Pretty tables below.
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:23.755||15|
|2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:23.968||18|
|15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:25.077||18|
|17||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:24.932||19|
|19||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:26.406||9|
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||197|
|5||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||115|
|10||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||36|
|11||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||25|
|1||Red Bull Racing-Renault||312|