Race Notes: Italian Grand Prix 2009

2009 Formula 1 Gran Premio Santander d’Italia
Date: 13 September 2009
Circuit: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza (PitlaneFanatic) (GoogleCircuits)
Location: Parco Monza, Milan, Italy
Distance: 53 laps
Tyre choices (red): SS / S / M / H

Coverage: BBC One / BBC Radio 5 Live[*]
Anchor: Jake Humphrey
Analysts in the paddock: David Coulthard (DC) and Eddie Jordan (EJ)

R5 commentary[*]: David Croft (Crofty) and Anthony Davidson (Ant)
R5 pitlane[*]: Holly Samos

[*for many years the BBC has held the UK radio rights to F1. In ’09 they also picked up the TV rights and they now offer an alternate feed on digital television, combining TV pics with radio commentary. I tend to use this feed.]

Coverage begins at 12.10pm.

DVR Notes

Monza. Home to the Tifosi. 5 races remain. 4 title contenders. Webber on 51.5, Vettel on 53, Barrichello on 56, Button on 72.

Eddie says the contenders are falling away, they aren’t making the most of Brawn not scoring.
David thinks lots of driver contracts have been agreed, they just haven’t been announced yet. This is the normal contract-signing time.

Singapore 2008
Alonso had a fast car but was only 16th after an engine problem. Renault gambled on a light fuel load. When Piquet crashed the SC came out, which was perfect because Alonso had just pitted and nobody else had.
Fast-forward to Hungary 2009 where Piquet was sacked. Piquet told the FIA he crashed deliberately because he was asked to by Briatore and Symonds. Alonso says he knew nothing.
[We’ve since learned the outcome of the hearing which you can read elsewhere on this blog, so I will skip this part of the notes.]

Qualifying
Two weeks ago Giancarlo Fisichella took pole for Force India, this week he’s sitting in a Ferrari.
Liuzzi has taken his Force India place.
Fisichella took 14th and Liuzzi bagged 7th, his team-mate Sutil took 2nd position which is his career-best starting place in F1.

Sutil could have had pole without a slide.

BMW suffered two engine failures within two minutes. Theissen says both engines were new, and they had the same failure.

Title contenders in the middle of the grid.

Webber, 10th: “Tough weekend, we can’t pass the KERS cars on the track so we’ll do something in the pit stops.”

Rubens, 5th: “Lots of the fuel in the car, wasn’t expecting the times, it was great.”
Jenson: “It felt good on a heavy fuel load, we’ll have that for most of the race.”

Hamilton says it will be anyone’s race and he has the best opportunity.

Ted: Raikkonen has a chance from 3rd. Kovalainen was the star of qualifying fuel-corrected.

Grid
Hamilton (pole), Sutil
Raikkonen, Kovalainen
Barrichello, Button
Liuzzi, Alonso
Vettel, Webber
Trulli, Grosjean
Kubica, Fisichella
Heidfeld, Glock
Nakajima, Rosberg
Buemi
Alguersuari starts from pitlane after changing ‘performance parts’ on the car.

Jenson feature.
JB: “Season is very long, you have ups and down, you have to perform as well as you can as often as you can. You’re not going to be the best at every race, that’s never been done before. The last couple of races have been frustrating for one reason or another, we’ve got 5 to go, I’m not thinking of points at each race. I go thinking I wanna win.”
Says he also wants to have fun, there’s no point being here if you’re not having fun. There’s more but I can’t say I’m interested. We’ve had so many Jenson and Lewis features this season I’m failing to care any more.

Pitlane open.
We can no longer hear the pundits because they are standing in pit lane.

EJ visits his old team Jordan, now Force India, in their pit garage.
Chief engineer Dominic: “We showed we’ve really got performance in the car here and at Spa. We almost got pole. I think Adrian’s got certainly the measure of all of them. [Tonio] has been a revelation all weekend, he’s very well placed.”
Team manager Andy Stevenson: “We’ve had a tough season but the boys have been developing very well, we’ve got more parts coming in Singapore to give us more speed.”

Live in the pitlane again. Kevin Pieterson, cricketer for England. Blah blah blah, why are we talking to him?

Walk to the grid..

Brundle & DC Gridwalk!

MB: “Cars have a lot of front wing but a skinny rear wing.”
DC: “30% less load on the car here than at a typical Grand Prix track.”
Drivers concerned about the first chicane but the main focus for the driver is getting a clean start.

Sutil: “1 stop and 2 stop is very similar time on the simulation so we stick on this plan, we’re confident. I have to defend my position quite hard, 3 KERS cars around, big fight at the start.”
He’s not concerned about Raikkonen a row behind, despite all the times they’ve come together in races.

Rubens, gearbox ok? “Everything’s fine, the gearbox was not a problem for the whole Spa race.”
They talk about the coolpack Rubens is wearing.
Bernie, who’s your money on: “I hope its somebody driving an Indian car.”
He’s not worried about Renault, we’ll have to wait until the 21st.

Good gridwalk today.

Italian National Anthem

Anthem from a brass band, sounds terrible, perhaps they are being distracted by the dead crows on their heads.

Track guide with MB and MW.
Turn 1, Variante del Rettifilio. Large kerbs with heavy braking.
They skip the Curva Granda and the second chicane to go to the Lesmos, specifically Lesmo 2 which is tricky tight corner.
Variante Ascari is skipped (what??), to talk about the Parabolica. Webber says you just have to try and find a line, then the track opens up and away you go so you’ve got to the get the right line all the way through.

Ted repeats Kovalainen is the favourite to win as he was fastest fuel-corrected. He needs to be no more than 15sec behind Hamilton at Lewis’ first stop.

We’ve got three two-stopper cars at the front on a completely different strategy to the rest, the heavy one-stoppers.

Formation Lap
Switching to 302 for 5Live audio. Love their coverage of the formation lap. The main TV feed is very dry and boring, big gaps while they try and fill for time, while on the radio feed it is action all the way, pumped up music and rapid-fire scene-setting.

Live Notes

Grid set.
1.2.3.4.5..GO!

Someone missed chicane.
Webber in the wall!
Liuzzi passed Kovy.
Lots of passing! Can’t keep up with notes.

Replays:

Kimi on the outside passes Sutil.
Glock went through chicane.
Alonso alongside Liuzzi in turn 1, can’t quite make it.

Back live and Alonso passes Kovalainen who is dropping like a stone it seems.

We are on Lap 5. Rosberg pits for a front wing endplate.

Replay: Kubica tagged Webber and turned him around.

We can see damage on Kubica’s front wing similar to what was just repaired for Rosberg.

Hamilton is setting very quick laps. Only the first few cars are on light fuel so expect them to pull away.

L8 Black and orange flag for Kubica’s front wing.

Hamilton, Raikkonen, Sutil, Barrichello, Button, Liuzzi, Alonso, Kovalainen, Kubica, Vettel, Heidfeld, Fisichella, Nakajima, Trulli, Glock, Buemi, Alg, Grosjean, Rosberg

L10 Kubica pits for a new nose.
Sutil sets a purple fastest sector 1!

Radio to Grosjean… “2nd gear in turns 1 and 2, we have hot gearbox”

This race is flying by!

L13 Radio conversation with Hamilton. They will take the harder tyre in the next stint.

Hamilton stops on lap 16. He’s out between Button and Liuzzi.

Kubica pits and retires.
Rosberg has had another stop.

L18 Sutil pits, he’s out between Alonso and Kovy. Heikki tries to use to KERS to pass but not enough room! As soon as Sutil’s tyres come in, he just drives away from the McLaren.
Just Raikkonen left of the light runners. Button gets a message that he’s only 1sec behind Raikkonen on strategy and closing nicely. As the message ends Kimi pits and he’s out between the 1-stopping Liuzzi and Alonso.

L20 Alguersuari is being wheeled back into the garage, he is out.

L21 The Brawns are currently leading by 12 seconds but they are actually racing Hamilton for position after the stops shake out – remember their stops will be longer than Hamilton’s.

L23 Lewis being told he’ll need 3 or 4 tenths to beat the BRawns.
Oh no! Liuzzi has stopped off track!! Car failure. Parks it at the Roggia.

L25 Barrichello is gradually opening it out against Button.

L27 Alonso is the first 1-stopper to pit.

L28 Kovalainen and Vettel pit. Heikki is out behind Nakajima and Trulli – Alonso beat both of them, but only just. We’re not shown where Vettel emerges.
Before that stop Barrichello sets fastest lap.

L29 Button pits. Thermal image!

Liuzzi says he had gearbox problem.

L30 Barrichello pits. His stop is half a second faster than Button’s! Great job for both cars.

This puts Hamilton back into the lead – but he still has to make his second stop, as do Raikkonen and Sutil. Hamilton has 14 seconds on Barrichello and that’s not enough.

L31 Fisichella pits from 7th. A long line of cars mug him as he’s at pitlane speed..

L33 Buemi passes Fisichella for 13th. Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race.

L35 Hamilton makes his second stop. 7.7sec. Barrichello passes him… so does Button! Hamilton 3rd!

L36 Nakajima and Trulli are in.
L37 Fastest lap from Sutil!
L38 Raikkonen and Sutil just half a second apart and both pit together.
Raikkonen still leads between the two and emerge into a clear track, looks like they should be 4th and 5th behind Hamilton.

Sutil had a slide into his box and hit one of his men, who knocks off his right wing mirror.

L40 Race between the two Toyotas! Trulli ahead of Glock.

L42 Crofty says if Heidfeld finishes it will make 41 consecutive race finishes.

Things have gone into a stalemate now.

Barrichello leads by 4s over Button, then 1.6 to Hamilton who is pushing Button, then 12.7 down to Raikkonen and Sutil running very close together.

L47 Button responded to Hamilton on the last lap with a personal best, he’s catching Barrichello gradually.

L49 Big Toyota fight! Glock and Trulli fighting each other after Trulli was pushed out wide by Nakajima. Trulli then off track and loses a lot of time.

L51 Hamilton pushing hard and catching Button, but there isn’t enough time.

L53 Final lap.

Hamilton crashes at the Lesmos on the last lap, BIG hit, debris everywhere!

Yellows out, SC boards. No overtaking on the last lap – shame..

Rubens Barrichello wins!

Slowdown lap.. cars picking their way through Hamilton’s debris.. I have no idea if the SC actually went out, there wasn’t much point if it did, being the last lap..

Parc Ferme

Rubens makes a Bolt-style arrow motion..

R5L coverage ends, back on main feed.

Newly-beardless Rubens makes his way upstairs to the little room behind the podium.

Podium

Should be a popular victory for the Italians after his Ferrari stint. Air horns!

Brazilian anthem
British anthem
Trophies.
Champagne!

Absolutely love the track invasion at Monza. Great atmosphere.

Ross Brawn: “You could see it was tidy, Lewis was pushing him, Jenson looked very smooth I felt he had it under control.” Says he’ll demand his drivers fight for the title fairly if/when it comes down to them for the the championship. New experience and new pressure for Jenson, a pressure which is a privelidge.

Conference
with Peter Windsor once again, because James Allen was called away for some reason.

Rubens:

“It feels great, I have no words. I had a tough night, we didn’t know the gearbox and this and that, there are some concerns. Had a great start. Kovalainen was coming fast with the power button, I had to defend wide, great first lap. Pace was there, brakes were great. Felt great.”

Jenson:

“It was a messy (first) lap, we made up a position which was fantastic. Kovalainen was struggling a little bit, through the second chicane, through Lesbo 1 (!!) and I put nose in by Lesbo 2 (!!) so it was a much needed move. It’s nice to be back up here, 2nd position, would rather be where Rubens is sat but 2nd is good. “

He said Lesbo instead of Lesmo. Everyone’s childish side breaks down sniggering. The press in the conference room must be struggling to contain themselves.

Kimi with what looks like a new mullet:

“Got a very good start then somehting happened with Lewis, he slowed down so I had to back off. It didn’t really change the end of the race because in the end he went off. Good points for us when we need that. Bit disappointing to drive as well as you can every lap and not make any difference. Good for the fans to be on the podium. We’re gonna keep pushing. “

Adrian Sutil is talking to the BBC, he said he thinks he did well against the KERS cars – I agree with him, it was a good drive.
Hamilton tell us he was pushing like a qualifying lap, apologises to the team. Says there are upgrades coming which means instead of pushing 130% he can push 110%… Cut back to Jake, “well if anyone can manage 110% I’d be impressed”. Ha!

Results

* heavily delayed on the final lap by the debris from Hamilton’s accident

Driver Gap Pts
1 Barrichello 53 laps 10
2 Button 2.8sec 8
3 Räikkönen 30.6sec* 6
4 Sutil 31.1sec* 5
5 Alonso 59.1sec* 4
6 Kovalainen 60.6sec* 3
7 Heidfeld 82.4sec* 2
8 Vettel 85.4sec* 1
9 Fisichella 86.8sec*
10 Nakajima 162.2sec*
11 Glock 163.9sec*
12 Hamilton accident
13 Buemi DNF
14 Trulli 1 lap
15 Grosjean 1 lap
16 Rosberg 2 laps
DNF Liuzzi transmission
DNF Alguersuari gearbox
DNF Kubica engine
DNS Webber accident

Good result for Sutil and Force India. Heidfeld gets another good result, too. Fisichella out of the points in the Ferrari but significantly better than Badoer in the same car.

Drivers’ Championship

Driver Prev ITA Total
1 Button 72 8 80
2 Barrichello 56 10 66
3 Vettel 53 1 54
4 Webber 51.5 51.5
5 Räikkönen 34 6 40
6 Rosberg 30.5 30.5
7 Hamilton 27 27
8 Trulli 22.5 22.5
9 Massa 22 22
10 Kovalainen 17 3 20
11 Alonso 16 4 20
12 Glock 16 16
13 Heidfeld 10 2 12
14 Kubica 8 8
15 Fisichella 8 8
16 Sutil 0 5 5
17 Buemi 3 3
18 Bourdais 2 2

The title surely must now be between the Brawn drivers. Kimi is continuing his recent march towards the front as he tries to catch the Red Bull drivers. This was another race where the lower order are scoring instead of the midfield.

Constructors’ Championship

Constructor Prev ITA Total
1 Brawn 128 18 146
2 Red Bull 104.5 1 105.5
3 Ferrari 56 6 62
4 McLaren 44 3 47
5 Toyota 38.5 38.5
6 Williams 30.5 30.5
7 BMW 18 2 20
8 Renault 16 4 20
9 Force India 8 5 13
10 Toro Rosso 5 5

Major step for Brawn in the points, Red Bull are going to have to work hard. Renault and BMW are having a nice fight. There isn’t much else of interest at the moment.

* *
Next up is Singapore on the 27th of September, let’s hope it isn’t as controversial as last year! Despite being a night race it will be on at the usual start time for a European GP due to the timezones. During the race I will be on Twitter and Sidepodcast.com as usual while taking the lights-to-flag race notes – I’ll see you then!

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