Spannerhead Dot

The Annual Tifosi-Fest

September 11, 2011 by Matt

Monza Track Circuit Italian Grand Prix

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Sebastian Vettel ran away with another Grand Prix today, notching his eighth win of the season at Monza. Except for a a half-dozen breakdowns and a first-lap misstep by Tonio Liuzzi in his HRT car that saw him lose control and take out three other drivers in addition to himself, the race was a largely uneventful speedfest in the classic Italian tradition.

With Vettel’s Red Bull and Alonso’s Ferrari firmly ensconced in first and second until lap 36, when Button’s McLaren finally squeezed by the Ferrari, the main excitement of the day belonged to the battle between Hamilton’s McLaren and Schumacher’s Mercedes, who finished the race in fourth and fifth places, respectively. Hamilton, driving the clearly superior car, made multiple attempts to get around Schumacher, who for his part displayed, depending on your perspective, either masterful defensive driving, or a stubborn refusal to let the faster car by. After a good dozen laps of the McLaren nipping at the Mercedes’ heels, Schumacher’s boss, Ross Brawn, got on the radio and instructed him to let Hamilton by, strongly hinting that the German was at risk of being penalized for his antics in holding up the McLaren.

It was the first I’d heard that F1 drivers are allowed “one defensive movement” as a faster car attempts to overtake. And I’m sorry, but if that isn’t a crystal-clear example of the micromanagement that passes for regulation of the sport these days, I don’t know what is. I mean, how can we praise, for example, Senna’s tenacity in holding up his rival Mansell at the end of the ’92 Monaco Grand Prix, but penalize present-day drivers for doing what they’re supposed to do out there on the track, namely, be competitive. It’s just humiliating to have to be told over the radio to essentially “give up” and let the other guy through. I felt bad for Schumi.

Filed under: Formula 1, News, Racing

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