How Barrichello won and what happened to Grosjean (Italian Grand Prix analysis)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Heikki Kovalainen couldn't match Rubens Barrichello's one-stop pace
Heikki Kovalainen couldn't match Rubens Barrichello's one-stop pace

A one-stop strategy worked wonders for Rubens Barrichello in the Italian Grand Prix. That, and an excellent qualifying performance against his team mate.

Meanwhile Romain Grosjean had an off-track adventure that seemed to go unnoticed by the TV cameras. This and more in the Italian Grand Prix analysis.

Lap 1

Italian Grand Prix - position change on lap 1 (click to enlarge)
Italian Grand Prix - position change on lap 1 (click to enlarge)

The KERS cars didn’t make their usual multiple positions gains on the first lap at Monza. This was partly because three of them qualified in the top four places and so had few places to make up.

Three KERS cars – those of Heikki Kovalainen, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean – managed to lose ground, being crowded out on Monza’s narrow straights. Alonso was edged onto the gravel by Vitantonio Liuzzi at the first chicane.

Giancarlo Fisichella made up three places, but so did the KERS-less Robert Kubica, who started in front of him.

One stop or two?

Italian Grand Prix - one stop versus two (click to enlarge)
Italian Grand Prix - one stop versus two (click to enlarge)

Before the race began Kovalainen’s heavy fuel load meant he looked in with a good chance of winning. But right from the off he couldn’t maintain a competitive pace and lost a lot of ground.

As well as losing any chance of winning for himself he wasn’t able to keep the Brawn duo behind him even for the first few laps, which might have helped Lewis Hamilton later on in the race.

Barrichello’s performance was very impressive, starting on Saturday when he out-qualified his team mate in a heavier car. No wonder he didn’t want to change his gearbox and sacrifice his advantage on the grid.

What happened to Romain Grosjean?

Grosjean’s second lap was a surprisingly slow 1’36.625, while most drivers were getting into the high 1’20s:

Romain Grosjean's lap times (click to enlarge)
Romain Grosjean's lap times (click to enlarge)

What happened? Adam wrote in with a likely explanation:

Just thought you might like to see my picture of what happened to Grosjean the TV cameras didn’t catch. It was an amazing save on the exit of Parabolica!

Grosjean spinning at Parabolica (picture courtesy of Adam)
Grosjean spinning at Parabolica (picture courtesy of Adam)

Adam saw the spin on lap two – there’s another picture of Grosjean’s spin here. Looks like the new Renault driver had some inconsistent laps in his final stint too, though they might have been because he was being lapped.

Fastest laps

Rank Driver Fastest lap Deficit to fastest lap Laps within 1% of personal best
1 Adrian Sutil 84.739 0 21
2 Kimi Raikkonen 84.761 0.022 20
3 Lewis Hamilton 84.802 0.063 35
4 Jenson Button 84.935 0.196 30
5 Rubens Barrichello 84.967 0.228 32
6 Heikki Kovalainen 85.109 0.37 14
7 Sebastian Vettel 85.194 0.455 13
8 Fernando Alonso 85.199 0.46 12
9 Nick Heidfeld 85.488 0.749 20
10 Giancarlo Fisichella 85.498 0.759 14
11 Sebastien Buemi 85.564 0.825 13
12 Romain Grosjean 85.609 0.87 4
13 Jarno Trulli 85.7 0.961 9
14 Timo Glock 85.751 1.012 16
15 Nico Rosberg 85.901 1.162 7
16 Kazuki Nakajima 85.976 1.237 18
17 Vitantonio Liuzzi 86.041 1.302 13
18 Robert Kubica 87.819 3.08 9
19 Jaime Alguersuari 87.846 3.107 12
No time Mark Webber No time No time No time

Race charts

Italian Grand Prix race chart (click to enlarge)
Italian Grand Prix race chart (click to enlarge)

There was little racing elsewhere in the field but Alonso deserves praise for his lap four pass on Kovalainen. Executed in an only slightly light car, and one that’s no match for the McLaren even with KERS, Alonso maintained his advantage until the end of the race and scored a solid fifth place.

There are many rumours about his future, and this underlines why it would be a waste for him to spend a third season in an uncompetitive car in 2010.

Italian Grand Prix lap chart
Italian Grand Prix lap chart

More on the Italian Grand Prix

72 comments on “How Barrichello won and what happened to Grosjean (Italian Grand Prix analysis)”

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  1. Sorry to be even further off the topic bu this is news hot off the press: Lotus will be the 13th team on the F1 grid next year with Mike Gascoyne as Technical Director. The team is Malaysian backed. FIA have given BMW Sauber the right to be 14th on next years grid. The FIA will be trying to get all teams to agree to have 14 teams on the grid next year.

    Sorry again for being of the topic, but I thought you’d all like to know.

    Articles on and

    1. I just noticed IDR beat me to it, I wanted to be the first to break the news! :-)

  2. Why is there no penalty for people crashing without provocation. The excuse that this particulart driver is fast and he always goes to win does not justify his immature act. The crash was deliberate and unprovoked. It could have been a game changer for others as well.
    He put marshals, fans and others at risk.
    Should there not be at least 5 place penalty in next race for such acts and infact for every crash by any driver?

    1. Who are you talk of??

    2. You talking of Hamilton?? Cm’n!
      I am not a big Lewis fan at all, but I think at least in this case he did exactly what he was supposed to do, i.e. pushing hard all the time. I agree it did cost McLaren some valuable points, but the situation could well have been reversed bar the spin.

    3. that’s right and McLaren should be fined 50 million and money given to Ferrari for all they drivers salaries…

      1. I don’t think 50 million will suffice GP1 ;) . They currently have Kimi,Massa,Fisi,Badoer,Gene,Alonso & Mr Veto as contracted drivers. Maybe you gotta add another zero to your quoted amount for ferrari to be pleased ;)

  3. Lewis is a racer and thats what they should do, race to the flag. He gave us a finish to the race by making Button push thus making Bar push. If LH gave up then the 2 Brawns would have turned everything down and the last 10 laps would have been a non event.

    Thanks for giving us a full RACE mclaren and Lewis, better luck next time.

  4. Chris

    will not get punishment for Hamilton because he is not fighting for championship and also because it makes no sense what you’re saying

    1. I was meant to be a joke, wasn’t it Chris??

      1. I would really like to know if he just got wheel wrong or if something in the rear broke. His exit on the other laps didnt look that different.
        I did like the fact that he continued to push Button for a better poition and that Button would respond with faster laps to keep him at bay.

        1. If you closely observe the CRASH You’ll be able to notice that the left front tire has excess amount of positive camber. Very strange indeed. very seldom do mechanics setup the suspension for positive camber. Now we know that negative camber improves grip when cornering, its is because it places the tire at an optimal angle to the road, transmitting the forces through the vertical plane of the tire, rather than through a shear force across it.Another reason for negative camber is that a rubber tire tends to roll on itself while cornering. Since Monza primarily comprises of straights, suspension has to be setup for maximum straight-line acceleration .The highest traction will be attained when the camber angle is zero and the tread is flat on the road, but since the mclaren mp4-24 uses double wishbone suspension, the camber angles can always be adjusted. Unlike the macpherson strut suspension, where it is usually fixed. Now to get through the Lesmo’s you need very high levels of mechanical grip. But the video suggests that the suspension setup was a positive camber one, so it would have meant losing too much grip coming out of the exit. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a suspension failure. Especially after examining that on-board shot, it seem highly likely.

          1. Losing grip on the left front tire due to excessive positive camber would cause understeer, not the oversteer that wrecked hamilton.

  5. The crash was deliberate and unprovoked.

    Hardly Singapore ;)
    Hamilton just fought until end of race that’s all like drivers are supposed to, he just stepped over the limit. You can’t fine or penalise them every time for of these things happen otherwise Piquet and Nakajima would have been fined every single time they crashed and would now be bankrupt.

  6. Interesting that Barrichello won, yet set only the second-fastest lap.

  7. The Piquetgate saga keeps on getting better. Now Symonds have reportedly been offered immunity by the FIA to come clean on the whole story. Meanwhile, Piquet Sr. gave an interview to a Spanish newspaper saying that he believes Alonso must have known what was going on…the reason? who would agree to a stupid strategy as the one he was racing on?
    PF1 is showing a rather cagey statement by Symonds to the FIA that has leaked on the internet – in it he refuses to answer key and direct questions about the incident.
    Keith: Do you have more info on it?

  8. Driver of the race: Rubens, for a fast consistent drive and getting the most out of his strategy. Also for taking points out of Button and tightening the gap.

    Honorable Mentions: Liuzzi, for proving he is worthy of a full-time drive. Fisi, for almost sneaking into points and being nowhere near as bad as Badoer. Lewis, for charging hard until the last lap and taking the risk. Brass balls.

    1. Fisi, for being nowhere near as bad as Badoer


  9. And which was the official version of the Lewis’s crash ?

  10. I mean “what”…

  11. Roginaldo Rebou├žas
    16th September 2009, 20:35

    What is happen? where is F1? Stop Briatore, Pat and Piquet Jnr

  12. If you want Kimi in Ferrari the next year, because he is a true champion and he must be respected. Help us by signing this petition

  13. If we didn’t have you we wouldn’t have known about Grosjean!

  14. If you want better racing right to the flag push for 2 points for fastest lap – that should do it?

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