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Team-Mate Wars: Italian GP Wednesday 10th September 2014


Lewis will be getting a T-shirt of this at the next race…

In F1, the first person you have to beat is your team-mate

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg 3 – Lewis Hamilton 10

Race: Hamilton
For once Lewis put together a perfect weekend despite little glitches that lost him an hour of running in practice and a launch glitch that would have cost lesser drivers the race.

Having been advised by his team to hang back after the pit-stop, he went straight on the attack and put the fear of god into Nico Rosberg. There have been some suggestions that Nico handed the race to Lewis after an agreement, but the mistakes looked genuine and given Lewis’s brilliant start at Spa, and Nico’s poor one, the team couldn’t have anticipated Lewis dropping behind on Lap 1.

Toto Wolff was caught smiling on camera, but it looked like the smile of relief that Lewis had got past Nico without any kind of collateral damage. The smile of someone who’d just dodged a bullet.

Rosberg is clearly not liked by fans right now, judging by the jeers he got at the first chicane and on the podium, and couldn’t hide behind the excuse that it was a load of Brits, as he did in Belgium. What he needs more than anything else is to be put in a tough position, like Lewis was at Monza, and fight his way back to the front with some deft overtaking. Then he can and should regain everyone’s respect.

Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo 11 – Sebastian Vettel 2

Race: Ricciardo
The Dan Ricciardo juggernaut rolled on through Italy. Sebastian Vettel got the better of him again in practice, showing that he is coming to terms with the handling of the car. But for whatever reason, the early stop strategy wasn’t as good as the late stop strategy.

Dan made that work with another series of classic overtaking moves into Turns 1 and 2. Having endured Red Bull domination for the last four years, the news that Adrian Newey was stepping back from day-to-day F1 duties was a relief, because it would allow other teams to compete with the best-funded team. But for Dan’s sake you kind of wish he was there for a year longer.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso 11 – Kimi Raikkonen 2

Race: Alonso
A weekend of strife for the Scuderia with TV pictures of Luca Montezemolo giving Fernando Alonso one of the longest embraces seen between team boss and driver. He had every reason to. Without Alonso this season Ferrari would be behind Force India and McLaren and the rumours of a Montezemolo exit would have been rumbling a lot earlier.
Alonso couldn’t conjure any pace from a car that’s lacked top-end speed and exited with a very rare technical problem. The perception of Ferrari vs Mercedes in the roadcar world is: fast and unreliable vs not-as-fast and reliable. In F1 it’s the other way round.

Kimi suffered from a lack of balance that disappeared between FP3 and Qualifying, but was hauling himself back into the television coverage by the end of the race.

McLaren
Jenson Button 10 – Kevin Magnussen 3

Race: Button
A simply brilliant start to the race from Kevin (the teenager) Magnussen, however he picked up another race penalty that reduced his points haul. Eric Boullier says he’s happy with the aggressive way Kevin’s driving, but sudden unexpected switches of line are exactly what he did at Spa and gave him the 20-second penalty for almost forcing Alonso off the road at 200mph. It’s like he hasn’t learned.

With the Bottas incident, going into the corner Bottas had at least 25% of his car in front of the McLaren which was struggling to hold onto the place. Magnussen would have known that Bottas had a faster car and was going to get him sooner or later. Rather than let the Finn go, he crowded him out of the corner and bounced his wheels sending the Williams across the rumble strips.

The FW36 survived the journey over the rumble strips, but lesser cars might not have. Magnussen still lost the place and picked up a penalty that handed a points advantage to McLaren’s incredibly close rivals Force India, when without the penalty they would have increased the gap.

Though it would have helped if Jenson could have stayed in front of Checo when he got in front for periods of a few seconds at a time.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas 7 – Felipe Massa 6

Race: Massa
Felipe Massa at last got some much-deserved luck, though it would have been interesting to know his thoughts as he diced with his Hockenheim nemesis, Kevin Magnussen, on the run down to Turn 1. After his slow start, Valtteri showed the kind of patient aggression and careful application of an advantage that Lewis Hamilton sometimes lacks.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne 5 – Daniil Kvyat 8

Race: Kvyat
Another incredibly strong performance from Daniil Kvyat, who is a Russian superstar. With a truce more or less holding in Ukraine, the politics of the situation should muddle along so that we do get a Russian GP. It will be very interesting to see what size of crowd he can generate.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg 8 – Sergio Perez 5

Race: Perez
Force India might not have had a great Qualifying session, but Sergio Perez more than made up for it in the race with a mature drive. If the defence of his place from Jenson Button wasn’t quality enough, he was doing it whilst having to negotiate fuel supplies on the radio, and all the while his brakes looked to be an explosion just waiting to happen. Suddenly finding yourself without brakes at a circuit with four 200mph+ straights is not the greatest fun (although it may have looked a lot worse than it was). Checo’s drive of the season, surely.

Nico Hulkenberg will be counting the races till the weight of the cars go up and was never in contention at Monza, in what has been a curiously lacklustre summer for him.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean 8 – Pastor Maldonado 5

Race: Maldonado
Lotus looked to be further adrift in Monza, dropping behind Sauber and getting challenged by Marussia in practice. Maldonado made a better job of it than Grosjean.

Sauber
Esteban Gutierrez 5 – Adrian Sutil 8

Race: Sutil
The Saubers are a bit like the England cricket team – whenever England beat anyone, there’s a tendency to say that the opposition weren’t very good. In Monza, the Saubers jumped ahead of Lotus, but the inclination was to say that it was the Enstone team going backwards, not the Saubers forging ahead. Sutil got the better of an errant Gutierrez.

Caterham
Marcus Ericsson 1 – Kamui Kobayashi 11 – Andre Lotterer 1

Race: Kobayashi
It was good to have Kamui back, but more embarrassment for Marcus Ericsson when Roberto Merhi ran in Friday practice and was quicker than him, just as Andre Lotterer was when he stepped into the car for the first time at Spa.

Marussia
Max Chilton 4 – Jules Bianchi 9

Race: Bianchi
Max Chilton made a mistake at the second chicane and got launched into the barriers and that was that.

Star of the race
Lewis Hamilton 5, Daniel Ricciardo 4, Sergio Perez 2, Jules Bianchi 1, Valtteri Bottas 1,

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lewis Hamilton 4, Daniel Ricciardo 3, Valtteri Bottas 2, Kamui Kobayashi 1, Sebastian Vettel 1, Nico Hulkenberg 1, Fernando Alonso 1

Sat on the Naughty Step
Pastor Maldonado 3, Max Chilton 2, , Kevin Magnussen 2, Christian Horner 1, Ecclestone 1 (for suggesting it would be no problem to lose cars off the grid), Kimi Raikkonen 1, Charlie Whiting 1 (safety issues in Germany), Perez 1 (the totting up system), Nico Rosberg 1 (Proving-a-point-gate)

Media Watch
Eddie Jordan talking about David Coulthard in the very funny Fiat 500 piece he did with DC and Suzi Perry invented a new animal: “David’s got long legs, he’s a bit of an orango-me-tang”

Allan McNish: “Jenson Button flatspotted the tyre and took it right down to the canvas – and he made that tyre in-usable.”

David Coulthard: “It’s difficult to win, even in a winning car.”

Eddie Jordan: “The tracks coming up are much more in favour of Red Bull.”

Eddie Jordan talking about Williams’ return to form this season: “They put their imprimatur on the table and they have made a very strong statement.”

Eddie Jordan, talking about the trouble and strife at Mercedes: “I think this feud has dampened itself down the scale much more that people have made it out to be…”

Eddie Jordan: “Sebastian Vettel has got to look over his shoulder and take a look at himself in the mirror, because today he’s been blown off by a younger guy.”

STBO Award
“The clock never lies. The time on the timesheet is the time they’re able to do.” Eddie Jordan

Andrew Davies