Race Report: Rosberg dominates Italian GP…in Italian no less

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The Italian Grand Prix always come equipped with speed and a phalanx of passionate Italian Ferrari fans and that adds a lot of pressure to the team but this year, the pressure was punctuated by a rather scathing assessment of the season so far by CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Regardless of the pressure, Ferrari did manage a decent result but strategy, once again, left them shy of s double podium finish. Sebastian Vettel finished third behind the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton respectively with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen claiming fourth.

While headlines said that Hamilton “humiliated” Rosberg in qualifying by besting his teammate by nearly three tenths, one presumes then that Rosberg has just humiliated Hamilton pummeling him at the start, taking the lead and calling it hammer time to take the victory. Rosberg took the lead of the race at the start and never looked back putting in a masterful demonstration of just how comprehensively dominant those Mercedes cars are and how to recover your lost points lead to just down to two.

Rosberg’s 21st career win was a technical display of driving but a good strategy and measured recovery drive from Lewis Hamilton ensured he minimized his points damage and kept both Ferrari’s behind him so while it wasn’t a win, it was a recovery that needed to happen and Lewis delivered.

WinWin

A big win for Nico Rosberg who managed to shave the points lead down to just nine in Belgium and again in Italy to just two. Also, what a cunning win for Nico to take a booing crowd and completely one-up Lewis and Sebastian by speaking to the Italian crowd and getting them amped up and thawing the icy reception they gave him.

A win for Daniel Ricciardo who managed to put a nice pass on the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and secure 5th place in a car that seemingly shouldn’t have done as well as Daniel made it do.

I think it has to be a win for Williams getting both cars in the top 10 and moving them back ahead of Force India in the constructor’ battle.

A win for the Italian fans (Tifosi) who turned out in droves and for Monza with a reported deal to secure the race for the next three years.

FailFail

After a terrific qualifying lap, Lewis Hamilton’s start was a fail and at a track like Monza, you can’t make those mistakes and hope to win. The speed is too great, race too short and challenge too big without help, weather or attrition—especially when your teammate is in an equally dominant car.

A fail for Manor who mechanically robbed Pascal Werhlein of a terrific race result as he was running near the top 10 all day.

One could argue it was a fail for Ferrari but if I’m honest, I’m not sure they had the pace on the initial super-soft run to really make their strategy work so I can’t fault them for missing the “opportunity” of getting both cars on the podium as I am not convinced it was quite the “opportunity” the broadcasters claimed it to be.

I do think a fail for Haas F1 with strategy and driving. Strategy on Romain Grosjean’s part and driving for Esteban Gutierrez.

WTHWTH

A WTH for Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and his move on Renault’s Jolyon Palmer ending both their races.

Also, a WTH for Fernando Alonso…was he laughing at his team when they radioed him about strategy? Ron won’t like that…he won’t like that at all. Maybe there’s a deeper reason they’re keeping Jenson around in 2017 after all.

Italian GP results:

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1h17m28.089s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 15.070s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 20.990s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 27.561s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 45.295s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 51.015s
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 54.236s
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m04.954s
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m05.617s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m18.656s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1 Lap
18 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 2 Laps
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari Retirement
Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes Retirement
Jolyon Palmer Renault Collision
Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari Collision

Drivers’ Championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 250
2 Nico Rosberg 248
3 Daniel Ricciardo 161
4 Sebastian Vettel 143
5 Kimi Raikkonen 136
6 Max Verstappen 121
7 Valtteri Bottas 70
8 Sergio Perez 62
9 Nico Hulkenberg 46
10 Felipe Massa 41
11 Fernando Alonso 30
12 Carlos Sainz 30
13 Romain Grosjean 28
14 Daniil Kvyat 23
15 Jenson Button 17
16 Kevin Magnussen 6
17 Pascal Wehrlein 1
18 Stoffel Vandoorne 1
19 Esteban Gutierrez 0
20 Jolyon Palmer 0
21 Marcus Ericsson 0
22 Felipe Nasr 0
23 Rio Haryanto 0
24 Esteban Ocon 0

Constructors’ Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 498
2 Red Bull/Renault 290
3 Ferrari 279
4 Williams/Mercedes 111
5 Force India/Mercedes 108
6 McLaren/Honda 48
7 Toro Rosso/Ferrari 45
8 Haas/Ferrari 28
9 Renault 6
10 Manor/Mercedes 1
11 Sauber/Ferrari 0
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Italian GP
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

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jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl

I just saw a news clip of Rosberg’s performance on the podium. That was pretty brave to get the crowd singing, could have fallen flat, but seemed to get an awesome response. Celebrating with the Tifosi too! Great stuff. I’m gutted that because I’m travelling I’ve missed seeing an exciting Spa and now Monza weekend.
Jeez this hybrid p.u era is creating some great racing ;-)

Zachary Noepe
Guest
Zachary Noepe

It is interesting, right? the new engines are hated nearly universally by drivers and fans alike, yet the racing has been pretty good lately.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

I wonder if part of it is improved tv coverage, so we get to see the dices through the field, not just the front two or three cars.

Member
Dr T

Actually I think it is having three tire choices that has “spiced up the show” as NC would say

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Good point Dr T, the additional tyre choice gas certainly been a factor this year, for the front of the grid. But I’d still argue that in the first two seasons of the hybrids, behind the Mercedes the racing has been good.

mini696
Member

How long until RBR ditch Max for Carlos?

mini696
Member

For the record I was having a bit of a laugh.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Max’s only blemish this weekend was a bad start, which can happen to anyone. He recovered well, his race pace was decent, and unlike last week he didn’t pull any teenage moves. It would take a very serious meltdown on Max’s part for RBR to replace him with Carlos, I can’t see that happening.

Max Johnson
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Max Johnson

Don’t think Max is going anywhere for a long time.

bruteMax
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bruteMax

What’s so great about Nico’s interaction with the tifosi is that it was genuine, and it came about after he received some booing cuz y’know – not ferrari. Awesome stuff Nico! This was more than Lewis or Seb patting the crowd on the head saying “wow best crowd ever”.

Max Johnson
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Max Johnson

Guess it was a good decision for Button to take a sabbatical, given the reg changes and F1 buyout, just sitting aside to see how its all blow over.

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

…and we have a brand new ball game.

Imaginos
Guest
Imaginos

I agree completely about Ferrari’s so-called “missed opportunity.” Their strategy only seems odd if you assume they’re after a win, but if Ferrari had already let Mercedes go and were committed to racing (and beating) RBR, it’s a little clearer. On Friday, Vettle was quoted as saying that Mercedes is in a “world of their own” at Monza…so…not like they didn’t see it coming.