Le Clue on Italian Grand Prix
NATALIE LE CLUE
Sebastian Vettel double world champion status seems a mere formality after a dominant win in Italy. A more emphatic statement of intent will be hard to come by.
DOUBLE WORLD CHAMPION
It may be too early in his career but Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is already being compared to the likes of Michael Schumacher, Aryton Senna and Alan Prost. Some may say that he hasn’t earned the right to be compared to such legendary champions and statistically speaking they would be right. However, it’s not the amount of victories or pole positions that makes Vettel comparable but rather the manner in which he has done so. His 18th victory puts him 13th on the all-time top F1 driver list, level with Kimi Raikkonen.
Suggestions that he is unable to race wheel-to-wheel were crushed as he swept past Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, with two wheels on the grass, for the lead of the race. He is in possession of the best car on the grid which certainly makes his life much easier. However, any car, no matter how good, still needs to be driven around the track and no one does it better than Vettel.
You don’t see Mark Webber up there do you?
The 2011 season has not been kind to Lewis Hamilton. It’s more than likely due to his impetuous behaviour which has resulted in several non-finishes this season (Canada and Spa in particular) and heaps of criticism. Whether it is deserved or not is a matter of opinion. It may be a case of the former champ going through a difficult patch or it may be a case of his level dropping.
Since his debut in F 1 Lewis Hamilton has been praised for his overtaking ability and there have been some memorable moves in the years since 2007. None of that was on display in Monza however. Uncharacteristically he remained behind the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher for several laps unable to overtake.
Though the McLaren driver attempted to pass on more than one occasion you can’t help but think that if this was 2010 he would have ‘banzai-ed’ his way past within the first two laps. It may be a case of Hamilton being too afraid to overtake for fear of ending up in the barriers…again. Perhaps Jenson can spot Lewis a few tips after he pulled off a scything moved into the Ascari chicane.
Third place at Monza was a valiant effort by Fernando Alonso. The fact remains however, that the team was nowhere near contention for victory at any stage, not even when he brilliantly snatched the lead.
Any realistic chance of securing the 2011 title has all but evaporated and it’s likely that the team will now shift focus to 2012. The question remains – what do Ferrari need to get back to the top? Rory Byrne was lurking around the garage this past weekend, they would do well to get him back on board. It seems Ferrari are determined to plot a future without looking back, or elsewhere.
Montezemolo was recently quoted as saying that Ferrari does not need Adrian Newey to return to the top of the sport. He may be right or it may be a case of Newey not willing to make the move just for a big paycheck. In the Ferrari president’s defence he was convinced that the only thing they needed to regain the championship was Fernando Alonso. That is why they passed over Kimi Raikkonen after all, wasn’t it? Ferrari may return to the top in 2012 but this is now and as the saying goes – you’re only as good as your last race.