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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Monza 2011


Last year Lewis Hamilton regretted his decision to run a low downforce rear wing.  He described the car after qualifying only fifth as  'sliding everywhere'.
Meanwhile Jenson Button took his first front row of the season alongside Alonso on pole.
Massa came in third and Webber fourth. Button's larger wing enabled him to brake later and corner at higher speeds.  This more than offset the greater drag on the straights.  Alonso was delighted with his pole in front of the tifosi.
On race day, Fernando Alonso put in a fine performance to take victory in his first Italian Grand Prix for Ferrari at Monza 2010.  After Jenson Button beat him to the first corner, Alonso had to focus hard to regain the lead he took with his pole position.
Webber regained his championship lead with his sixth place after Hamilton was overly aggressive in trying to pass Massa on lap one and damaged his car, retiring ignominiously into the gravel trap with his front right wheel flapping like a sail.
Alonso took his place behind Hamilton and Webber with 166 points to Hamilton's 182 and Webber's 187.  This left Button one point behind Alonso with Vettel two points behind Button.
At that stage last year it was one of the closest title fights in F1 history.

How different things are this year.  Sebastian Vettel has a margin of 92 points and some feel this is unassailable.

In practice, Lewis Hamilton dominated the first session with a time of 1:23.865, almost second ahead of his nearest rival,  Jenson Button.  In the second session, Vettel topped the times with 1:24.010, followed by Hamilton on 1:24.046 and Michael Schumacher on 1:24.347.  So ex-Ferrari man MSc led Massa and Alonso in 4th and 5th times.

Of course Friday is for set up, especially wing settings on this highest speed circuit in the F1 season.  Actual qualifying will be a brilliant spectacle no doubt at all.

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