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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. I think this will be a race between Lewis and Kimi for P1 & P2 with Bar, Sut & Kov fighting for P3. Expect Button to be behind Alonso at the start.

    I think Ferrari will have the measure of Mclaren so I expect Lewis to be watching Kimi’s rear after the first stop.

  2. 6 Mercedes powered cars in the top 10. Surely that’s a new record since the demise of the Cosworth DFV?

  3. it show that it wont rain tomm,till eveining so we can expect dry race tomm.

  4. The only thing i fear of sutil is will he able to keep himself away from trouble tomm.

  5. It’s rained today so the tracks green tomorrow. Light cars on option tyres will rule the first 15 laps. Then cars on prime tyres and heavier fuel loads as the track rubbers in.
    Going to be a good race.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      12th September 2009, 20:53

      Yes, but.
      There are several races prior to the GP including a GP2 race in the morning . So the track won’t be totally green. Just green-ish.

  6. Hamilton has to make his escape come true, Kovy and Raikko have only not to stop one another. Hami’s escape could be delicious if he has got good new softer tyres..

  7. i think betpusher is right hamilton will have to make sure he come out sweetly of first corner.i am sure kov is gonna give hard time to raikko.

  8. Younger Hamilton
    12th September 2009, 21:08

    wait it should be true dat if you have a lighter car you’re faster

    1. Oh my lord, i think your right!

  9. I predicted Barrichello for the win but Kovlainen also looks strong but we have seen he is not really a match to those around him. Anyway Rain would be good news for Red Bull especially Vettel

  10. simple… If the race starts with rain, Heikki is in it to win it… when the race starts anyway else it’s lewis’ time to shine!

  11. Could this be the first time we get to see cars with KERS going up against each other? I don’t remember seeing any KERS on KERS fights going on so far.

    1. I can’t think of any, either.

    2. I remember Alonso and Hamilton fighting for position in one of the earlier races.

  12. After first corner it will be Lewis, Kimi, Heikki, Sutil. After that everyting else will be mystery.

    Depends where those 2 stoppers will be end after first stop. It looks very much like Heikkis race to lose. He has more fuel than 2 stoppers but are still lighter than 1 stoppers behinde him and he has Kers.

    If safety car comes to track beginning of the race it will take advantage away from Lewis and his light car because he can not make cap between him and heavier car what he needs for his 2 stop stragedy and it is too early to refuel him …well not him but car lol.

    It will be very very intresting race. I hope that Barrichello beat Jenson, poor Barrichello really need some good time in f1 after all those years in the shadow of Schumacher.

  13. Ferrari is not very economic when talking fuel consumption. I think Kimi do not have 4 laps to Lewis. I think theres maybe two laps. Anyway, they both need to have big gap to Heikki and maybe Brawns if they want to really fight for win.

    ThereĀ“s still possibility that Raikkonen and Sutil crash again in first corner after start. History is often repeating itself, unfortunately….

  14. Other than top 3 everybody is on 1 stop so if it rains its their advantage,but if we have a changeable condition like 2007 European GP then we will have further drama.

    At last for the win it will be Hamilton VS Raikkonen with one of the Brawn on the podium

  15. Don’t rule out the possibility of a Barrichello and Button crashing in the beginning, at the first chicane…

  16. Heikki is key person, if he can keep Brawns behind him until pitstops then Lewis will win and Kimi be second. Brawns are the fastest cars and they need to overtake Heikki in very beginning, then it will theirs race because of better strategy. McLaren is clearly faster than Ferrari, Kimi can’t to do anything agains Lewis if race is between them. Unfortunately Adrian has no chance.

  17. Prisoner Monkeys
    13th September 2009, 8:27

    I have to say … this has to be the stupidest decision McLaren has ever made. KERS might give an extra eighty horsepower for six seconds a lap, but that does not mean Hamilton will get enough of a lead to go through the first round of stops without losing a place.

    1. you think lewis had no say in his strategy? i don’t think maclaren could make lewis do a stratagy he isn’t happy with if they tried. When it all goes well, it will be Lewis’ victory if it goes wrong then it’s the teams fault. that seems to be they way of things where Lewis is concerned.

  18. Am watching the GP2 sprint race at the moment and the track is dry. Updates on Twitter: http://twitter.com/f1fanatic_co_uk

  19. I’m not convinced heikki will get sutil off the start. sure he has KERS but he also has nearly 30Kg more weight to haul off the line. I think its between lewis and the brawns for the win. if the brawns get slowed up by alonso or heikki then lewis will win. otherwise whichever brawn is ahead on the first lap will do it. especially as i think they will conserve their tyres best of all.

  20. here is what i’d like the results to be
    1. heikki
    2. kimi
    3. sutillor button

    what i think will happen

    1. bar
    3. lewis

    some kind of bad luck will happen to heikki, it always does. he is the all new jonny herbert, where before the race we used to guess by what lap he would be talking to louise goodman through no fault of his own.

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