Sep 09

Italian GP Recap – F1 2013

Italian GP 2013The Italian GP wraps up the European leg of the F1 season.  Hit the jump to find out which drivers head to Asia with a shot at the title and which drivers could be in danger of losing their F1 seat next season.

Italian GP 2013The Italian GP is one of four races during the season that has a history stretching back to the Golden Age of Grand Prix racing.  For most of it’s history the Italian GP has been run on the notorious Monza Circuit.  Know for it’s high speeds and deadly history, Monza is one of those legendary tracks where every driver wants to notch up a win during their career.

Italian GP 2013The race wasn’t the only thing dominating the F1 news over the weekend.  Red Bull confirmed that Torro Rosso driver Daniel Riccardo will move to the paddock, vacated by Mark Webber, next to Sebastien Vettel in 2014.  With the season at just over the halfway point the there are only a few remaining seats up for grabs in 2014.  Ferrari stalwart, Felipe Massa is once again the driver voted most likely to be shown the door, as rumors have Ferrari courting both Nico Hulkenberg and former Ferrari champion Kimi Raikonnen are rife among the F1 press cadre.

Italian GP 2013During practice and qualifying the usual contenders were at the top of the field.  Surprisingly the Red Bull’s were quite quick, at a track that has traditionally been their weakest, with Vettel and Webber topping the charts in practice.

Italian GP 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

Qualifying was more of the same with Red Bull shutting out the first row and Alonso qualifying in his traditional 5th place.  The big surprise during qualifying was Nico Hulkenberg who somehow managed to put his Sauber in to third place.  Massa also got into the act by qualifying ahead of his teammate Alonso, perhaps a last chance effort to retain his position at Ferrari for 2014.

Italian GP 2013Once the lights went out on Sunday, a blazing start by Alonso pushed him up into contention with Vettel and both the Ferrari’s and Red Bulls simply drove away from the field.  While Alonso once again drove the wheels off the Ferrari he was only able to come within 5.5s of Vettel by the end of the race.

With yet another win Vettel now has a comfortable 53 point lead in the championship over his nearest rival, Fernando Alonso.  It is almost a forgone conclusion that Vettel’s forth consecutive F1 championship is in the bag.

Italian GP 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

While there can be no doubt that Vettel is an exceptional driver some of his success can also be attributed to the ill luck of his rivals.  For the second race in a row Kimi Raikonnen, once a strong title contender, suffered from bad luck when he clipped the back of Sergio Perez at the start of the race.  The Finn was forced to pit for repairs and his race strategy was effectively ruined.

Italian GP 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

Lewis Hamilton also struggled with a slow puncture and a late pit stop before clawing his way back to 9th.

Even the Red Bulls had some misfortune when radio messages late in the race revealed gearbox problems in both cars.  What must Alonso and everyone else be thinking when the Red Bulls are still unbelievably quick, even with failing gearboxes?

Italian GP 2013We’ll see if Red Bull and Vettel can maintain there momentum in two weeks when the F1 circus travels to the streets of Singapore.  At this point there are only two ways for anyone else to win the championship: Vettel has to break down for almost all of the remaining races or a planet killing asteroid has to hit the Earth.  We’ll see what happens in Signapore, let’s hope for all our sake it’s not an asteroid.

For all the amazing official results and statistics from the Italian GP, check out the Official F1 site.