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 166
Felipe Massa was the surprise package in qualifying ... 25 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> MONZA 25 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Fernando felt the problem even as he drove his out-lap in Q3. The back felt strange, sloppy. A puncture? He zapped the car a few more times, searching for temperature. He gunned it down the pit straight. He braked perfectly for the first chicane. He came out of the Brembos nice and smoothly, fed in the steering – and the back jolted away from him. Gone! Q3 gone! On the radio they could hear them talking about a puncture. He drove back in to the garage. He sat there. They talked and looked – and then came the news: “Fernando. We have a broken rear roll-bar mounting. There’s nothing we can do now. You’ll just have to go out and see if you can pick up a few grid places.” Despite the problem, Fernando produced what to my eye was still a neat- looking lap. He was a little more squirrelly out of Ascari, a little more reticent out of Parabolica. 1min 25.768sec. He couldn’t pick up any places – he would start tenth – but he did drive the nuts off the thing, bringing to mind the performance of Jim Clark at Monaco in ’64, when his rear roll-bar mount broke, too – and still he led the race. Lewis and Jenson thus took the front row. Felipe was an excellent third, ahead of Sahara Force India’s Paul di Resta, Michael in the Mercedes, Seb Vettel, Nico and then Kimi in the Lotus- Renault. Then came Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber and Mark Webber in the other Red Bull. For the second successive race, Sergio Perez was behind his team-mate. “I caught Bruno on my last Q2 run,” he said as I ran alongside him pre-race. “He didn’t impede me or anything but I lost downforce.” The Saubers weren’t brilliantly quick in a straight line but they were looked fast on the quick corners – as did the Force Indias. The conventional wisdom of the Monza paddock was that Mercedes- and Ferrari-engined cars enjoyed a marked advantage. Examination of the post- qualifying speed trap showed the Lotus- Renaults right up there with the McLaren- Mercedes, possibly at the expense of some downforce. Nothing, though, this Saturday at Monza, was a distraction from the rear anti-roll bar mounting bolt that failed on Fernando’s Ferrari. It was a black day for Ferrari – and doubly-so because it was Monza. It was a manufacturing fault, a slight glitch that was magnified a millionfold in the chaos of the afternoon. Fernando was where he didn’t want to be: in the first-corner traffic at Monza’s Turn One. Pre-race, Fernando’s thoughts about that corner were “open” . “I decided just to see how the start went,” he said later. “If I made a good start I would see where I was. If I didn’t it would be another story.” Fernando didn’t make a good start; he made a great one. So did Felipe. Felipe squeezed past Jenson and darted left into the braking area, crowding Lewis. Fernando gained ground, found a bit of clear track ahead of him and so decided to “be aggressive” . You can’t half-race if you’re Fernando. You race. He came out of the corner side-by-side with Kobayashi. He did him at the next chicane. Monza began to throb. McLaren or no McLaren, Fernando was in it. All was not lost. P4 perhaps – maybe P3, although many were the cars to be passed. There was the usual drama with Michael. Be squeezed and then be squeezed again. And then, holding back a little into the Parabolica, feed in the power just as Michael is twitching it, mid-corner. Get a run on him. Move earlier than he expects. Put the car out there. Look straight ahead into the braking area. Brake late but brake perfectly, on the groove. Let Michael look for grip down the inside. Kimi, in comparison, had been an easier target. Seb Vettel, though, was not going to give him anything – and Fernando expected as much. Last year Fernando had not made it easy for Seb when the Red Bull had caught him on the approach to the Lesmos. Fernando hadn’t chopped him or moved on him; on the contrary, he had just driven through absolutely in the middle of the road, giving Seb the option to choose to run to the left or to the right. As it happened, Seb had had a moment on the grass on the Lesmos before he had made the pass; Fernando hadn’t squeezed him, though – and the Stewards had seen that clearly. Now, as Fernando sat behind Seb, moving a little to the left here or the right there, feeling him out, Seb’s body language said it all: this was going to be a drama. Fernando waited and teased, waited and teased. And then, drawn inexorably towards the Lesmos after Seb’s slowish exit from the second chicane, Fernando also moved to the outside. Seb moved left, taking his line. Fernando, on the grass, fought with