Hamilton’s light car leaves him vulnerable (Italian GP fuel weights and strategy)

Heikki Kovalainen's Mclaren has 20kg more fuel than the cars in front

Heikki Kovalainen's Mclaren has 20kg more fuel than the cars in front

Adrian Sutil will be able to go one lap longer than Lewis Hamilton at the start of the Italian Grand Prix.

But Heikki Kovalainen could be the man to watch as he’s fuelled to make his pit stop much later than the three drivers in front of him. Here’s the fuel weights in full.

Italian Grand Prix fuel weights and pit stop predictions

Grid Name Weight Fuel (kg) First stint (laps)
1 Lewis Hamilton 653.5 48.5 17
2 Adrian Sutil 655 50 18
3 Kimi Raikkonen 662 57 21
4 Heikki Kovalainen 683 78 29
5 Rubens Barrichello 688.5 83.5 32
6 Jenson Button 687 82 31
7 Vitantonio Liuzzi 679.5 74.5 28
8 Fernando Alonso 677.5 72.5 27
9 Sebastian Vettel 682 77 29
10 Mark Webber 683 78 29
11 Jarno Trulli 703 98 37
12 Romain Grosjean 699.8 94.8 36
13 Robert Kubica 697.5 92.5 35
14 Giancarlo Fisichella 690 85 32
15 Nick Heidfeld 697.5 92.5 35
16 Timo Glock 709.8 104.8 40
17 Kazuki Nakajima 706.2 101.2 39
18 Nico Rosberg 708.6 103.6 40
19 Sebastien Burmi 706 101 39
20 Jaime Alguersuari 706 101 39

The start

First-lap collisions and penalties are highly likely at Monza’s tight first corner.

The new kerbs at the Rettifilio have been lowered, but drivers are still going to want to steer clear of them. Anyone who arrives at the first corner too quickly and cuts it will have to give back any places they’ve gained.

Second on the grid with a pair of KERS cars behind him, Sutil is a sitting duck. There’s little chance of him keeping Kimi Raikkonen and Kovalainen behind at the start. This also means Hamilton’s chances of losing the lead at the start are pretty slim, unless Raikkonen makes a particularly good getaway.

Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean also have KERS at their disposal at the start and lts of non-KERS cars in front of them to pick off. Each could threaten the championship contenders – Alonso the Brawns, and Grosjean the Red Bulls. As at Spa two weeks ago, this could easily get very messy.

Another word on those chicanes – during the GP2 race drivers who cut them three times were automatically given drive-through penalties. We could see more of the same tomorrow, particularly if it rains…


After qualifying, the clouds arrived and transformed Monza back into the dark, drenched spectacle we remember from last year. The GP2 feature race was delayed for 40 minutes and was started behind the safety car.

The rainfall radar shows a chance of further rain, potentially quite heavy, around 2pm local time tomorrow. We could yet get another wet Italian Grand Prix, made all the more difficult by the fact the F1 cars haven’t had any wet running at the track yet this year.

If the rain arrives we can throw most of our assumptions about the race out the window. A rolling start behind the safety car would help Hamilton keep his lead and guarantee him a clear view of the track ahead. But it might also play into the hands of those with more fuel on on board, who could stop later.

Even without the rain, we’ve got a good chance of an excellent race tomorrow. Who’s your tip for the win?

Italian Grand Prix

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123 comments on Hamilton’s light car leaves him vulnerable (Italian GP fuel weights and strategy)

  1. Well sutil will be 4th by the first corner. All we can hope is that he and the two McLaren’s all take each other out battling for 1st at the chicane, and Sutil streaks off into the distance to win for Force India.

    But being realistic, Kimi might take this one, I think.

    • Nitpicker said on 12th September 2009, 19:39

      I don’t see any advantage Kimi has over Lewis, and might even be overtaken in the pitstops by Heikki and the Brawns, if they get their act together.

  2. This is really interesting!! Curious strategies indeed. This way, there are going to be just 3 scheduled pit-stops in the first half of the race.

    For a 53 lap race, 17 out of 20 drivers are fueled for lap 28 or later. How often do you see that? I foresee 3 possible reasons:

    1. The Monza track probably have a lower penalty for carrying extra weight? How much is the kgs of fuel burned per lap BTW?

    2. Either of the tyrees (soft/hard) are really really bad, but I haven’t any report that concurs with this.

    3. Almost everyone is betting on rain tomorrow and is thus playing safe.

    Curious race in the offing, indeed.

    • How much is the kgs of fuel burned per lap BTW?

      For this race is 0,33Secs per 10Kg of fuel, and the fuel consumtion per lap is 2,66Kg. So, the effect of 1 lap of fuel is around 0,088 Secs.

      It’s more less little bit below average.

  3. SaloolaS said on 12th September 2009, 18:14

    Why are drivers so heavy lately? I mean, 53 laps, 26 is enough for one-stopper, and many won’t pit till lap 30. Is that because of the rain chance?

  4. Perhaps Heikki will `stick it in the wall` Lap 17.1

  5. Shagrathian said on 12th September 2009, 18:21

    Well, another stupid strategy for Lewis. I couldn’t see why the team send him with that low fuel despite KERS advantange.
    Those pit stop predictions don’t represent the truth all the time. We know McLaren is good at using the fuel mixture. So we can see Lewis at the pit later than the 17th lap.
    Well done to Heikki. Good chance to secure his seat for next year.

  6. I have never understood fuelling a Kers car light because they are just going to make up the places at the start. I reckon Hamilton could have afforded to have about 5 more laps of fuel on board but hey, ill probably get proved wrong.

    Im going for Kimi to make it two in a row, he will be second going into the first corner and first after he pits. I have a feeling there will be some good fighting between the brawns and heikki for the final places on the podium.

  7. I might as well just say random stuff, because that’s what a lot of people do here!

    • And you’re realizing that just now? :D

      Not just here, this phenomenon is entrenched in the F1 world (see Agileracer’s comments above) – I find it quite fascinating actually.

  8. Heikki is looking best i think as he is the highest placed 1 stopper. If the brawns are his next best competition they won’t be able to pass him in pits or on track due to KERS

    Between Hamilton and Raikonnen.. Raiks will pass hamo during the first pit stop from the extra lap of fuel… Raiks will be leapfrogged by a one stopping heiki later on.

    … in theory :P

  9. actually baro will probably pass him in the pits, didnt see baros fat tank :P

  10. Luizzi what a great drive. Best performance of the day. Shame about the Red Bulls being so far down but it’s what was expected. :(

    Hopefully Hamilton or Sutil can get the win tomorrow.

    But I hope for rain..

    • StrFerrari4Ever said on 12th September 2009, 19:01

      Amen rain rain please fall and help the Red Bull drivers stand tall!

      To be honest thats their best hope if they want a victory and the rest of the field all 1 stopping so if it does rain it could be very fascinating to watch.

      This race has all the right ingredients hopefully it shall give us a feast of a race!

    • Patrickl said on 13th September 2009, 9:45

      Don’t you feel it would have been better if they didn’t try to save their engines. Better take pole and suffer a 10 place grid penalty than what they are doing now.

      This far down they just look silly. Or maybe they are just gambling on rain and have adjusted their setup accordingly …

  11. I dont think sutil have much think about fuelload.as last time we have seen mercedes engine have better mileage than ferrai the only thing he have to make sure is to be ahead of kers car if he is able to do so i think he can surely think of winning the race.

    • Arun.India said on 12th September 2009, 18:43

      U r forgetting that hamilton is also having the same merc engine………But i am also supporting sutil….Go sutil go!!!

  12. not sure if RAI will do 21. the ferrarris seem to take up a lot of fuel

    • Paige Michael-Shetley said on 12th September 2009, 19:07

      Yes, and the Mercedes engine is pretty fuel efficient.

      Hamilton is the man to beat tomorrow if he doesn’t make a mess of the start.

  13. Dumb question, but which side of the track will Ham be starting on? Inside or outside?

    • SaloolaS said on 12th September 2009, 18:55


      • This is what I see happening going into the first corner.
        RAI and KOV will use their KERS to overtake SUT, dropping SUT to 4th, then at some point, BUT will pass him, leaving him vulnerable to BAR (if it rains BAR will pass him or they will take each other out). All in all the top 8 will round out like this:
        I put Bar last simply because I cheer for Red Bull and don’t paricularly like Bar. lol.

  14. but he is having more load than hamilton arun. he just have to make sure he keep ferrai back

  15. brian i think you are underestimating luzzi and for your information he is having good fuel in his car.

    • I just think that LIU and ALO are gonna get bumped out by VET and WEB. I’m putting a lot of faith that LIU will go out in the first corner. Some one usually does, and I so I had to pick some one, unfortuneately it is him. It is no fault of his, but it seems that the home boys almost always never do that great. Sorry.

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