Italian GP Debrief: Who felt the heat at Monza?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    hamiltonrosberg2.jpg It may not have been as controversial as its recent predecessors, but the Italian GP saw plenty of sparks fly nonetheless.

    What a difference a weekend makes.

    Coming into Monza, Lewis Hamilton was stuck trying to climb out of the same hole he had fallen into once already this season. Trailing by 29-points to teammate Nico Rosberg after Spa, the Brit was looking at more hurdles to his title challenge than ever, but on Sunday not only did he manage to bound over the first one, he also saw his German counterpart run into another stumbling block entirely.

    So what happened in Hamilton-Rosberg part XIII? Let's get into that, and all the other big talking points from the Italian Grand Prix.

    Hamilton His Own Strategist as Rosberg Makes Costly Errors

    Coming into the race more than a victory's worth of points behind his teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton served a reminder that no lead of the German's is unassailable.

    A disastrous start had seen Hamilton concede first to his teammate, as he himself slipped down to fourth, and yet it was the Brit who eased home for the comfortable three-second victory. If you'd turned off the TV after lap 1, you'd be forgiven for thinking the only way Hamilton had pulled off such a victory was by finally getting to grips with his latent telekinesis. Alas, that wasn't the case, so we're left to ask: what the hell happened to Nico Rosberg?

    The short answer is that Rosberg cracked under the pressure. The long answer is that conversely to Hamilton, he got buried in a negative mindset, and paid the price for it. Rosberg simply got mired in his lack of confidence - all weekend he had struggled to find an answer for Hamilton's pace, and after his lockup at the Rettifilo chicane on lap 9 sent him off the track, he had more reason to fear losing time in that corner.

    _ONY9648.jpg Of course, when he actually was under pressure from Hamilton on lap 29, his response was to push too hard going into that same corner - this was no simple lock up, but the overzealous mistake of a guy desperately looking for answers. To contrast that with Hamilton, even after his early setback, he was supremely confident he had the goods to win, and drove like it - his 'conversation' with race engineer Peter Bonnington was proof enough of that.

    Heading forward it's clear who has the momentum and the psychological edge. Regardless of the actual pace he sets over the course of the race weekend, Rosberg has now for two consecutive races demonstrated an inability to fight Hamilton on track. And while earlier in the season Rosberg seemed eager to take the fight to Hamilton (like in Bahrain), that means little if he doesn't believe he can do it now.

    Inconsistency with Magnussen, Button Leave Plenty of Questions for the Stewards
    It's a problem the stewards have to deal with every race day: when does a dueling driver cross the line? Unfortunately for Kevin Magnussen, they got it wrong on Sunday.

    Trying to hold off the Williams of Valterri Bottas through Rettifilo on lap 31, Magnussen held his line round the outside of the chicane as the Finn drew alongside him. Unable to make the move stick, Bottas was forced to leave the track as the Dane rounded the corner and bide his time for another pass. Gauging the reaction from both Sky on TV and ESPNF1 online, it was a piece of hard fought defensive driving. There was no coming together, and Bottas had no clear control of the corner, yet Magnussen was given a five-second stop-go penalty for his efforts.

    _89P0137.jpg Not only does the penalty make little sense due to the positioning of the cars at the time, but because it neither followed the precedent Hamilton and Rosberg's incident while fighting through a chicane in Spa had set, nor created one for the rest of the race. The two Mercedes drivers' coming-together was ruled no more than a racing incident, and this stance was generally accepted, so it would seem odd to then turn around and make an example of Magnussen. Furthermore, on lap 39, Sergio Perez and Magnussen's teammate Jenson Button engaged in their own duel, this time through the Roggia chicane, with Button holding his line to force the Force India off. Correctly, no penalty was given, as should have been the case for the incident eight laps earlier.

    The stewards ruled that Magnussen did not leave sufficient room on the track. So what constitutes sufficient room through such a chicane? Is Magnussen supposed to go on the gravel on the outside? Or just let him past? This was a great example of the wheel-to-wheel racing F1 fans want to see, giving drivers such mixed messages does nothing to encourage it.

    508181497_MT_4120_5492AE3CA85337C3A19E5E374E380369.jpg Vettel vs the World as Ricciardo Bests Him Again

    If there's a non-Mercedes story that just won't go away this year, it's Sebastian Vettel's underwhelming season at Red Bull. Sunday was just the latest in an ever-increasing list of disappointments.

    Once again qualifying ahead of his teammate, Vettel seemed primed for just his third victory this season in their head-to-head, until what can only be described as an 'unusual' decision from the pit wall to bring the German in for his sole stop only 19 laps into the race. Comfortably ahead of Ricciardo - who had endured a poor start and spent the early stages of the race fighting to get back into the top ten - Vettel was left helpless as the Australian managed to hunt him down for fifth. There's no denying Ricciardo drove another excellent race - he somehow managed to put his notoriously poor-in-a-straight-line Red Bull at the top of the speed trap recordings - but Vettel has to be wondering just when is the next time he can expect to catch a break.

    With the rumours continuing to swirl that McLaren is targeting either Fernando Alonso or Vettel for a drive with their car next year, it might be the four-time defending world champion who has the most reason to make the switch. It seems bizarre to say, but now 15 points behind Alonso in the Driver's championship, the German might be the easier one to persuade on a change of scenery.

    Want to play shrink on Nico Rosberg? Was Magnussen's move fair game? Does Vettel to McLaren make sense? Sound off in the comments below.
    h/t to r/Formula1GIFS
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2014
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  2. Miroslav Davidovic

    Miroslav Davidovic

    Magnusen's penatly was due to the sum of his odd defending moves. He was just on the limit all the time with his defending but once he really went to far. He was reacting to the driver behind all the time and changing his line very very late instead to choose the defending line early enough. You don't loose anything by doing that but the risk of having an ugly accident is minimal compared to his driving. This was comentated and explained very clearly by Alex Wurz, also FIA steward but not in that race, live in the austrian TV and lap by lap it was disccussed whilst Alex said it is only a matter of time until the penalty comes.

    As a gentlman racer you do not react to the guy behind that late every lap, you rather choose your defending line early enough and not by reacting late. You can do it once or twice and they will close an eye but not lap after lap.

    Otherwise great read, thx.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Andre Marques

    Andre Marques

    I think Magnusen's penalty was not fair because it was near the end of the race, it affected so much. Losing 5 grid positions at the next GP i think it would be a better penalty for him. I was happy to see Massa at the podium, he is strugling so much this year and Bottas is proving to be a great driver.
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  4. Tony Holder

    Tony Holder

    I couldn't believe the penalty handed out to Kevin. What could he do, where could he go....?! Let them race I say.
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  5. Terry Rock

    Terry Rock

    Once again, Kevin got a bad call.
    He could do nothing more. He was already out of room himself.
    Going deep into a corner like that after drawing the car down from almost 218 mph, would cause the car to move around a bit. Valteri himself, did not see a need for a penalty.
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