#F1 Victims of Circumstance: #Monza 2013

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald.

More was riding on this weekend than just the 25 points on offer for crossing the line first.  As we now get closer to the period of fly-away races, if the Red Bulls could be as quick, and thus as dominant as they had been in Spa, then the World Drivers’ Championship and World Constructors’ Championship might as well be given out now.  The 7 races in 9 weeks means there is little time for development of the car, especially this year with the huge overhaul of the rules for 2014.

TJ alluded to the fact that the Mercedes GP team were confident they would be quicker in Monza than they had been in Spa, after the Red Bulls had gone for a higher down force setup allowing more speed through Eau Rouge, which ultimately won Vettel the race.  They were not; and not by a long stretch.

Now with odds of 1/25 on to win the title, the situation is as those bookmakers are suggesting, a foregone conclusion for the WDC.  Something monumental would need to happen in order to change where the trophy is heading this year.

The more hotly contested questions now are to do with the driver market.  Nico Hulkenberg put in a stellar performance, at a time when he needed to highlight himself and show his potential.  Whether it will be Kimi and Alonso together at Ferrari remains to be seen, (although it looks like), but one thing is for certain, that after a quiet August break for news the media circus will be kept busy over the coming months.

One more observation from the race is the huge task Pat Symonds faces in making Williams GP a front running outfit again.  The true pace of the Sauber car was shown, which must have been a real kick in the teeth for all those working on the car back at Grove.  Especially, as they don’t have the glory of a race win to fall back on, with a 10th placed finish their best for 2013.

So what really happened?

Nico Rosberg:  After missing most of FP3, and the Ferrari and RBs looking formidable, 6th place does not sound like a bad result, but the German was disappointed to not have passed his fellow countryman.  At first glance, it looked as if he possibly had a problem with the car to make him run off after braking into turn 1.  However, it was confirmed after the race to be simply a driver error, so he remains as a 6th place finish.

Paul Di Resta: Misjudging your braking is never a good idea, but it is made even worse when on the first lap behind Romain Grosjean.  He is lucky to have only received a reprimand, but the incident still ended his weekend.  He remains a DNF, which frankly might as well have been a DNS.

Jean-Eric Vergne: Monza is not a happy hunting ground for the Frenchman, having a huge accident en to not finishing last year, this years’ exit from the GP was far more low-key.  He is awarded 8th place for his afternoon’s work.

JEV goes flying at Monza

Lewis Hamilton: Ross Brawn called it a ‘fantastic fighting race’ for the Briton.  His race was compromised by having to make an extra pit stop thanks to a slow puncture on lap 12, with the radio problems did not help either.  Although he passed Grosjean on the final lap, he was forced to give the place back after going over the run-off area.  However, he would never have been there had it not been for the slow puncture, so he is awarded 9th place.

Kimi Raikkonen: If you run into someone else you do not get the time back that it takes for a pit stop for the new front wing.  He remains down the field out of the points.

Adrian Sutil: Retiring from the race was the sensible thing to do as he can now get a new gearbox “free of charge” for next time out in Singapore – a race where the gearbox takes a battering.  He is awarded 13th place.

The Verdict
This leaves the revised results table looking like this:

Revised Race Position Driver Result comparison Points Points Difference Grid Position
Start RevisedPosition
1 Sebastian Vettel = 25 = 1 1
2 Fernando Alonso = 18 = 5 2
3 Mark Webber = 15 = 2 3
4 Felipe Massa = 12 = 4 4
5 Nico Hulkenberg = 10 = 3 5
6 Nico Rosberg = 8 = 6 6
7 Daniel Ricciardo = 6 = 7 7
8 Jean-Eric Vergne RETIRED 4 +4 10 8
9 Lewis Hamilton = 2 = 12 9
10 Romain Grosjean -2 1 -3 13 10
11 Jenson Button -1 0 -1 9 11
12 Kimi Raikkonen -1 0 = 11 12
13 Adrian Sutil RETIRED 0 = 14 13
14 Sergio Perez -2 0 = 8 14
15 Esteban Gutierrez -2 0 = 17 15
16 Pastor Maldonado -2 0 = 15 16
17 Valtteri Bottas -2 0 = 18 17
18 Charles Pic -1 0 = 20 18
19 Giedo van der Garde -1 0 = 19 19
20 Jules Bianchi -1 0 = 21 20
21 Max Chilton -1 0 = 22 21
22 Paul Di Resta = RETIRED 0 = 16 22

Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised   WDC WDC   Points Difference
Position Points
Sebastian   Vettel 1 233 +11
Fernando   Alonso 2 176 +7
Lewis   Hamilton 3 140 -1
Mark   Webber 4 135 +5
Kimi   Raikkonen 5 124 -10
Nico   Rosberg 6 111 +7
Felipe   Massa 7 82 +3
Romain   Grosjean 8 52 -5
Jenson   Button 9 42 -6
Adrian   Sutil 10 40 +15
Paul Di   Resta 11 24 -12
Jean-Eric   Vergne 12 16 +3
Nico   Hulkenberg 13 12 -5
Sergio   Perez 14 11 -7
Daniel   Ricciardo 15 11 -7
Esteban   Gutierrez 16 0 =
Valtteri   Bottas 17 0 =
Pastor   Maldonado 18 0 -1
Jules   Bianchi 19 0 =
Charles   Pic 20 0 =
Giedo   van der Garde 21 0 =
Max   Chilton 22 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered

What they would have said

It was mentioned on twitter following the race they had lost only 1 second to Vettel after the first lap.  What people are trying to say by this statement is puzzling.  Any fan with the slightest understanding of the Formula knows that running in free air is always going to be faster than being stuck behind other cars given the aerodynamic effects.  Furthermore, Vettel finished the race by short shifting between second and third gear, showing just how ridiculous the comment had been.  The phrase ‘clutching at straws’ comes to mind for Kimi/Lotus fans.

Rather than divulge onto the Vettel debate of whether he deserves to be booed, I will say just this; He is an incredibly quick racing driver and that cannot be denied even if you have a disdain towards him. 2014 will be a test for him, in a new car and  with new regulations (largely eliminating the Newey effect) alongside a new (and quicker in my opinion) teammate.

As I wrote earlier in the year, with my article on Nico Hulkenberg (link), GP2 drivers that come fresh into the sport are rarely given enough time to adapt to the new series of racing, as the gap between GP2 and Formula One is too big.  Hulkenberg drove a fantastic race, deserving more than the points he was awarded (as Dr James Beck said).  Long may it continue.

Quote of the Day

Perseverance is a difficult thing in the face of defeat.  Having been comprehensively beaten by Bianchi earlier in the season, Max Chilton would have been feeling the effects of being in the media spotlight – and not winning.  It made me very happy to read Dr James Beck’s race pace analysis to see that the man from Reigate was every bit as fast as his French teammate.

This week’s quote is another from Winston Churchill; no introduction required.

‘If you are going through hell, keep going.’

Congratulations Max, you have made it through hell.  What’s the French for “game on?”

4 responses to “#F1 Victims of Circumstance: #Monza 2013

  1. I agree about Max Chilton’s performance… very impressive! Both of these gentlemen, Bianchi and Chilton are very talented.

  2. Wasn’t hamilton’s slow puncture a “victim of circumstance?” I thought the raison d’être of these pieces was to cover such ifs and buts?
    I’m not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand.
    Also curious about the meaning of “what they would have said”… It always struck me as peculiar English… It reads, “what they would have said IF…”, so what is the if?
    Again, just trying to understand after laboring over this point for a few of these posts now.

    • Hamilton has actually been given a place, but due to JEV’s retirement it does not show as a place gained, but instead an equal finish. See that Grosjean has finished 2 places down. Perhaps I should have made this more clear.

    • and due to the nature of this race there is very little ‘what if’ about it. I have commented instead on the general race.

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