by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 133
IT’Ssadlytooeasy,inthisamazing, complicated, political and sometimes over-dramatic world we call F1 to forget how difficult it is to win from the front. Or almost from the front. The car must be fast and reliable. There must be no variables of import. And the athlete in the car, strapped tight, visor down, must maximise all the parameters. He must balance risk against prudence, gain against loss. And he must do so from his own field of perception: only he knows how badly he needs to win. Only he knows the true value of being out there, of doing what he loves best. Regardless of how many races, titles or points he might have behind him. We caught a glimpse of what truly drives Sebastian Vettel at the Monza re-start. Seb had taken the pole – another brilliant pole, given the RB7’s straight-line speed deficiency – but on this occasion had blown the start. Fernando Alonso it was – darling of the crowd, a Ferrari driver at home – who seized the lead as they braked for the tight first chicane. Seb and Lewis Hamilton, on the front row, had been out-flanked by the man in P4. There was a Safety Car. Vitantonio Liuzzi, from the back of the grid, astonishingly managed to t-bone Nico Rosberg, near the front of the grid. Two other drivers (Rubens Barrichello and Vitaly Petrov) were also eliminated. In P2, with the Safety Car and that Ferrari in front of him and plenty of movement in the grandstands to remind him, Seb had a couple of laps to digest the moment. He could not afford to be trapped behind Fernando. The McLarens would have him – and so might Michael Schumacher, who was at this point weaving his Mercedes around behind him, obviously in P3. “Next lap, Seb. Next lap....” He timed it perfectly, anticipating Fernando’s full-throttle burst as the Ferrari led the field out of the Parabolica. He stuck to the rear wing ahead of him, ready for the slightest jink either way. Fernando edged away, moved to the left past the pits – flat in seventh gear – and then swept back to the right again, defending the inside for the heavy braking area into the tight chicane. Seb followed him for a millisecond then pulled out of the turbulence, onto the clean, left-side of the track. Here he could brake later and he could brake without problem. Fernando, sensing his new position, edged left again, squeezing tight the outside door. Seb left him to it. Seb focused on a perfect run through the chicane – on a perfect exit. Now, as they ran through the gears again towards the famous Curva Grande, Seb was tucked in right behind the Ferrari. Fernando could see him there and already he was preparing to defend into the second chicane. Above all, Fernando was going to take centre-road as the Tarmac curved round to the right; no way Vettel was going to pass him under brakes into the sharp left- hander that followed. Fernando, in other words, was doing exactly what Seb expected him to do. The Ferrari was on the edge - was away from the usual racing line through there. And there was just enough room on the outside to make the pass.... Seb didn’t hesitate, didn’t pause. Didn’t give himself time to be the driver with the gigantic points lead who doesn’t need to take risks. He flicked left, to the outside. Into the unknown. Fernando was shocked, of course. He squeezed Seb a little; he invited Seb to lift his right foot just a fraction. This was a Ferrari Seb was attempting to pass on the outside of the Curva Grande. At Monza. At the sharp end of the Italian GP. Seb didn’t lift. Not a millimetre. At 180 mph he ran wide at the exit, onto the grass, They said the long straights would cost Red Bull their dominance, but they were wrong. At Monza, Sebastian Vettel and his RB7 never looked anything less than regal. Peter Windsor was there. F1 ITALY >> SEBEXPRESS 25