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GP Week : Issue 28
>>F1monza championship.” Hamilton’s team-mate Heikki Kovalainen was not quite so upbeat after the race, despite finishing on the podium. Struggling to get enough heat into his brakes, he also suffered with the grip of his extreme wet tyres and never stood a chance of challenging for the win. Massa moves closer to Hamilton IT may not have seemed as the greatest tour de force, but Felipe Massa’s drive to sixth position in the Italian Grand Prix salvaged a positive advantage for Ferrari and the Brazilian in his championship fight with Lewis Hamilton. With the McLaren driver only able to muster seventh from a lowly fifth on the grid, Massa’s result sees the Brazilian enter the final four races of the season just one point shy of Hamilton’s championship leading tally. “It was a tough race,”Massa admitted. “I had hoped to do better but I’m also aware it could have been worse. In fact, I’ve managed to make up a point on my nearest rival so this is absolutely not a negative result. In normal conditions, in other words in the dry, I think I could have made it to the podium.” With team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finishing the race out of the points in ninth it was a day of not for the man in front. Under these difficult circumstances Toro Rosso had the best car, and Sebastian Vettel managed to score his and the team’s maiden victory with this excellent performance. Hats off to them! “For us as well it worked out perfectly today. The decisive part was the race strategy. We were able to pit late with both cars and changed to intermediates during our single pit stop. It was perfect timing, so both drivers were able to move up a lot of positions. Neither Robert nor Nick made a single mistake. Robert claimed the tenth podium finish for our team, Nick came in a strong sixth, and the team leaves Europe with another 10 points in its pocket – Monza again was a good place for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.” Renault keeps Toyota honest RENAULT made a big step in its battle with Toyota at the Italian Grand Prix, as Fernando Alonso brought home five valuable points on a day in which their rivals failed to score. The double world champion, who found himself at the centre of renewed contract speculation in the wake of Kimi Raikkonen’s deal for 2009 and 2010, had a tough but impressive race from sixth on the grid to take fourth position, keeping a number of traditionally faster cars behind him in the closing stages. “I am very happy,”he confirmed. “The result today is very good because Monza was supposed to be the race that we were looking forward to the least. We made up the five points that we needed in our championship fight, which is really rewarding and a big source of motivation for the rest of the season.” Renault’s Managing Director Flavio Briatore confirmed his driver’s thoughts, although he believed that even better might have been possible. “We could have finished on the podium today, but we still had a great race and have gained ground on Toyota, which was our objective.” 29 contrasting fortunes for Ferrari, and the team’s sporting director Stefano Domenicali spoke of his frustration and yet acceptance of the team’s performance. “We’re definitely not satisfied with this result, but considering the circumstances in which the race was run, it could have actually been much worse. Once again today, we had confirmation that, in certain track conditions and temperature range, our car is not quick enough. Then, it only needs a slight change for the performance to return to being very competitive. “Clearly we must take countermeasures as quickly as possible because similar conditions could occur in the remaining four races. Having said that, we must not forget that we have taken a small step forward in the Drivers’ classification although our lead in the Constructors’has reduced substantially.”