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GP Week : Issue 189
saturday morning in Monza brought more of the same for spectators, with sebastian Vettel dominating yet another practice session. But there was some succour for the attending tifosi, who cheered on their red-suited hero as Fernando Alonso reduced the gap to his German rival. The final practice session of the Italian Grand Prix weekend took place under clear and sunny skies, and was remarkably incident-free barring a crash for Paul di Resta that left the Force India mechanics with a frantic lunchtime rebuild. The Scottish driver lost control of his car at Parabolica half-way through FP3, the rear end twitching out just before he plunged straight into the tyre wall, seemingly without steering control. The balmy conditions continued into qualifying, with an air temperature of 30 degrees and a track temperature of 43 degrees. Once the first round of Q1 laps was complete it was Jean-Eric Vergne who stood at the top of the timesheets, narrowly ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Vettel – who was the last man out of the pits – crossed the line in P3 on his first run with just over five minutes remaining. First Hamilton and then Vettel knocked Vergne off the top of the timesheets, with the Red Bull retaining a two-tenths advantage over the Mercedes. Bringing up the rear were the driver pairings from Marussia and Caterham plus Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez, while Pastor Maldonado and Paul di Resta hovered on the edge of the dropout zone. With five minutes remaining of Q2 – and no times set by either Red Bull driver – it was Alonso who topped the timesheets, powered around the circuit by the roar of attendant Ferrari fans. Webber’s first timed effort put the Australian 0.04s behind Alonso, while Vettel crossed the line in P1. The marquee name in peril was Hamilton, who destroyed a set of tyres with an off at Parabolica, and found himself 16th of sixteen with just over a minute remaining. Hamilton crossed the line in ninth, still at risk of dropping out, but with time to complete another lap. It was not to be, however, and improved times from the Briton’s rivals left the 2012 Italian Grand Prix winner out of the final qualifying session. As had been widely expected, the Red Bull driver pairing blew away the competition, securing the front row with ease. Popping up in a surprise P3 was Nico Hulkenberg, outshining the Sauber beneath him as he pushed Felipe Massa down to P4 – still ahead of Alonso, who was unable to get close enough to the Brazilian to benefit from a tow. On the following pages, Trent Price takes a closer look at the incidents that shaped the 2013 Italian Grand Prix, from the incredible Hulk(enberg) to Raikkonen’s disappointment and beyond... QUALIFYING 1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1m23.755s 2. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1m23.968s 3. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) 1m24.065s 4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1m24.132s 5. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1m24. 142s 6. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1m24.192s 7. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 1m24.209s 8. Sergio Perez (McLaren) 1m24.502s 9. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1m24.515s 10. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1m28.050s 11. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1m24.610s 12. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1m24.803s 13. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1m24.848s 14. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 1m24.932s 15. Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 1m25.011s 16. Paul di Resta (Force India) 1m25.077s 17. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1m25.226s 18. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1m25.291s 19. Giedo vd Garde (Caterham) 1m26.406s 20. Charles Pic (Caterham) 1m26.563s 21. Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1m27.085s 22. Max Chilton (Marussia) 1m27.480s bEST lAID plANS ... THE GrID 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> ITALY