Mercedes: Schumacher fifth after Hamilton battle

2011 Italian GP team review

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton fought hard but the Mercedes driver had to settle for fifth.

Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
Qualifying position 8 9
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’23.777 (-0.7) 1’24.477
Race position 5
Laps 53/53 0/53
Pit stops 2 0

Mercedes drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53
Michael Schumacher 121.354 142.879 138.728 90.519 90.319 91.913 89.815 89.682 89.57 89.473 89.58 90.103 90.132 89.324 90.025 94.101 107.904 88.823 88.713 89.037 88.474 88.695 88.654 88.796 89.001 88.32 88.77 89.154 87.991 88.202 87.748 87.777 87.92 87.996 87.587 87.729 91.041 106.725 88.068 87.69 87.599 87.816 87.709 87.799 87.639 87.402 87.663 87.654 87.597 87.587 87.677 87.944 88.431
Nico Rosberg

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 22.709s
Pit stop 2 Medium 22.014s

Schumacher made another of his flying starts, this time moving up from eighth to fourth. In the last five races, he’s gained a remarkable 22 places on the first lap alone.

He pounced on Hamilton at the restart, claiming third position, and even briefly had a look at Fernando Alonso for second.

This began possibly the best battle of the season between two drivers. It took the McLaren driver 23 laps to make a pass stick as Schumacher used the Mercedes’ straight line speed to his advantage.

At one point Hamilton got ahead at the Rettifilio but Schumacher neatly reversed the move with a pass at the della Roggia.

On lap 16 Jenson Button appeared in Schumacher’s mirrors in place of Hamilton. Button quickly passed the Mercedes, saving his KERS to attack as Schumacher began to struggle with rear tyre wear.

Schumacher made his pit stop and stayed ahead of Hamilton, but he was now having to defend ever more vigilantly against the McLaren driver.

His defensive tactics were cause for some debate after the race. But looking at the footage again it’s clear he adhered to the ‘one move’ rule, which has always allowed drivers to move off the racing line to defend and then back towards the line afterwards.

Ross Brawn was heard twice telling Schumacher not to squeeze Hamilton when returning to his racing line. Shortly after the second warning, Hamilton finally made it through on the way into Ascari.

Brawn said afterwards he had been talking to Schumacher on the radio at the time and he hadn’t got a gear change right. When Hamilton passed him, he was much further alongside Schumacher in the braking zone than he had been previously.

From that point he Schumacher was secure in fifth place – Felipe Massa took only a second or two out of him over the final stint.

“The fighting against Lewis was big fun, and my mirrors seemed to be very small at times,” said Schumacher.

“We are both known for driving on the limit, and that is what we did. I had to make my car as wide as a truck, and had to stretch the possible as much as I could, but in the end, as expected, he was still faster.”

Michael Schumacher 2011 form guide

Nico Rosberg

Start tyre Medium

A KERS problem for Rosberg in second practice meant he didn’t get to do a low-fuel run on the soft tyres.

He ran the softs early in third practice but, unusually, elected to do without them in Q3, running on mediums he said. He was last of the drivers to set a time, lining up ninth.

Sadly, how he might have done starting on mediums will remain a mystery, as he was taken out of the race by Vitantonio Liuzzi on the first lap:

“Liuzzi flew like a torpedo over the grass and put me out of the race. It’s a pity because I had a strong strategy and, as Michael’s good result showed, our car was very strong this afternoon.”

Nico Rosberg 2011 form guide

2011 Italian Grand Prix

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35 comments on Mercedes: Schumacher fifth after Hamilton battle

  1. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th September 2011, 19:35

    Liuzzi robbed us of a potentially great, great result from Rosberg! As far as I’m concerned this will go down as one of those ‘what if…’ moments, like would Vettel have kept Alonso and Button behind him in Monaco. So frustrating!

    Great battle from Schumacher and Hamilton. Definitely agree with Keith that it was one of the highlights of the season so far.

  2. antonyob said on 15th September 2011, 11:54

    come on , course its not real, its funny tho eh Keith? funny thinking MS has a sense of humour ! ;)

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