Round 13 of the Formula One World Championship, and the sun was shining on Monza. But 13 turned out to be a very unlucky number in a race of high attrition.
Three drivers didn’t even make it to the end of the first lap, as Tonio Liuzzi tripped on the grass and lost control, slamming his HRT into Petrov’s Renault as the Russian negotiated the first chicane. Petrov collided with Rosberg’s Mercedes, and the three of them were out of the race. The safety car was called to the track. A few drivers took advantage of the situation to pit including Bruno Senna, who had started on hard tyres. He was now on softs till the end of the race. Fernando Alonso overtook Sebastian Vettel, and led the race.
Next to fall was Jerome d’Ambrosio, retiring at the end of the first lap with mechanical issues. A couple of laps later the race restarted. Schumacher took advantage of a slow Lewis Hamilton to get into third, resulting in a battle for third that would last a long time due to McLaren’s short gear ratio choice. Mark Webber found himself in sixth behind Felipe Massa as lap four commenced. At the start of lap five, Webber went wide on the chicane and hit his front wing into the Ferrari. The wing got caught under his nose, and as Vettel overtook Alonso for the lead, Webber found his wheels had no contact with the ground and he went sliding into the tyre wall. Down five drivers already.
The next drivers to go were Adrian Sutil, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez. Daniel Ricciardo had car problems and started the race late, finishing fourteen laps down and wasn’t classified. This left only fifteen classified finishes. We might have had some boring races in 2011, but we’ve also had some fantastic ones.
So Vettel won. Second was Jenson Button, who overtook Fernando Alonso in the middle of the race. Alonso came third, avoiding the oncoming Lewis Hamilton because of the chequered flag. A few more laps and he would have lost that position. Fifth was Michael Schumacher, who had a great race. This is the first time five world champions have finished a race in positions 1-5.
13 was unlucky for the two Williams drivers finishing 11th and 12th. But it was lucky for Bruno Senna who finished 9th and was closing on Di Resta in 8th. It’s the Brazilian’s first points in F1, and the first points for a Senna since Australia 1993. 13 was especially lucky for Heikki Kovalainen. The Finn finished in that position for the first time this season, allowing him to move up in the championship standings. He is now between Trulli and Liuzzi.
Di Resta’s points mean Force India overtakes Sauber in the constructor’s championship, while 7th for Alguersuari and 10th for Buemi see Toro Rosso closing on the Swiss team. The non-finish for Webber regulates him to fourth, but still ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Alonso is in second. Vettel extends his championship lead, and could win it at the next round in Singapore. The battle is on for second, where it is close between Alonso, Button, Webber and Hamilton.