Vettel leads Red Bull one-two as Ferrari tactics fail

2013 Italian Grand Prix qualifying

Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg, Monza, 2013Red Bull locked out the front row of the grid for the first time since the Australian Grand Prix as their rivals hit trouble in qualifying at Monza.

Two of Sebastian Vettel’s closest championship rivals – Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen – were knocked out in Q2. And Ferrari’s efforts to move Fernando Alonso further up the grid did not produce the desired result.

While Vettel claimed his fourth pole position of the year Nico Hulkenberg claimed an impressive third for Sauber, beating both of the Ferraris.


A fairly standard Q1 session for 2013 saw the Marussias and Caterhams go out as usual along with Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez.

Pastor Maldonado was in the drop zone until the final moments when a late final lap got him up to 12th.

A confident Vettel stayed in the pits and didn’t set his first lap until there was less than seven minutes remaining, then set the fastest time with his second lap. The Mercedes drivers were next, Rosberg making an early start to the session after missing out on running during final practice.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.226
18 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’25.291
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’26.406
20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’26.563
21 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.085
22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.480


Red Bull cut it fine again in Q2, both drivers starting their final laps with less than four minutes to go. But again it proved no problem: Webber came within four-hundredths of a second of beating Alonso’s fastest time up to that point, while Vettel’s 1’23.977 was the fastest time of the weekend so far.

Lewis Hamilton’s first run did not go according to plan as he skidded into the gravel at Parabolica, ruining his lap as well as his tyres. He got back out in time for a second run but again Parabolica was his undoing.

This time he caught the Force India of Adrian Sutil which spoiled his run through the final corner. His time was briefly good enough to put him in the top ten but he was quickly knocked out by faster drivers.

The two Lotus drivers were also in trouble: Neither of them were quick enough to make the cut. Romain Grosjean said his out-lap was a “disaster” – he ended up 13th, four-tenths of a second shy of the top ten.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’24.610
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’24.803
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’24.848
14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’24.932
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’25.011
16 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’25.077


With Hamilton and Raikkonen left by the wayside in Q2, that left Alonso as the likeliest rival to Vettel. Ferrari adopted the tactics they had used the year before of having Massa give him a tow to boost his straight-line speed.

It worked to begin with, bringing Alonso closest to the Red Bulls, who set the pace at the beginning of the session. But it didn’t go according to plan on their final run. Alonso advised his team on the radio that Massa was too far ahead, leaving him without the benefit of a tow.

Making matters worse for Alonso, Massa edged him by a hundredth of a second on their final runs, taking third place off him.

Then came the surprise of the session. Nico Hulkenberg – who more often than not has missed out on Q3 by a few hundredths of a second this year, produced an inspired lap to take third place, relegating Alonso to the third row.

Both Toro Rossos also made it into the top ten but had reasons to be disappointed with the end result. Daniel Ricciardo initially split the Ferraris with his first lap before slipping to seventh. And Jean-Eric Vergne skidded into the gravel at Parabolica on his last run, leaving him tenth.

Webber came close to beating Vettel’s time with his final lap, setting the fastest middle sector time, and was probably not inconvenienced too badly by Vergne going off in front of him, but had to settle for second. At any rate, Vettel found even more time with his final run to secure his fourth pole position of the year.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’23.755
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’23.968
3 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.065
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’24.132
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’24.142
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’24.192
7 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’24.209
8 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’24.502
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1’24.515
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’28.050

2013 Italian Grand Prix

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100 comments on Vettel leads Red Bull one-two as Ferrari tactics fail

  1. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 7th September 2013, 14:42

    One of the most significant sessions of the championship for three reasons…

    1) It puts Vettel almost completely out of reach of his championship rivals and means that all Vettel has to do is wait before he has his hands of his fourth championship.

    2) Massa’s outright defiance is hugely revealing. They were very much the actions of a free agent; a man that knows he is not in a Ferrari next year. Massa has just practically announced the fact that he will be replaced for 2014.

    3) It substantiates the fact that we have a young megastar on our hands with Nico Hulkenberg. Those that even class him in the same category as the comparably grossly untalented Paul Di Resta do Hulkenberg great insult. He looks almost certain to take Massa’s place at Ferrari in 2014.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 7th September 2013, 15:00

      I agree strongly with points 1&2, however #3 I’d say that Ferrari are still trying to get Kimi to help them with the WCC.

      Personally, I would take Hulk over Kimi because he has more of an upside. He younger, has a vast amount of potential and will sign for much less money.

      I also find #2 extremely interesting. If Massa does know that he’s lost his 2014 drive, I wonder if we’ll start to see a more ‘Webber-esque’ style from Massa. Would be great for the sport.

      I would love to see Felipe ignore team orders tomorrow by not pulling over if Fernando is behind him after the first corner.

      Give fernando a rough ride for once.

      • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 7th September 2013, 15:06

        more ‘Webber-esque’ style from Massa.

        You mean KERS failure ?

        I would love to see Felipe ignore team orders tomorrow by not pulling over if Fernando is behind him after the first corner.

        Not happening . from the BBC :

        Felipe Massa, who finished fourth: “I lost a little bit on the Ascari, just too excited for the lap. I don’t know if it would have been possible to be third, but it was a good lap, I tried to get everything out of the car. Tomorrow is the race and let’s concentrate on doing the best job. We know the cars in front are quick, but it would be fantastic to do a great race for the fans. He’s fighting for the championship, I’m not fighting, I’ll do whatever is important for the team.”

        I’ll be delighted if Massa goes for battling Vettel in the first lap though.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 7th September 2013, 18:22

        @tophercheese21 Kimi to Ferrari remains to be an extremely compelling, yet unlikely prospect. Montezemelo and Kimi never exactly saw eye to eye, which is an issue if you want to be a Ferrari driver. And would Alonso and Raikkonen not constitute as having “two cockerels in one hen-house?” Also, from Kimi’s perspective a move to Ferrari would be a move back into the spotlight he so hates, an intense commercial environment, an unofficial #2 role within the team, and he’d have to contend with frequent disappointments that the rather hit-and-miss technical team Ferrari is currently fielding so often serves up. Ontop of that Hulkenberg’s past form shows him to be an extremely capable driver, and I actually don’t think he’d be too far behind Kimi in terms of speed and point scoring potential. Hulkenberg is by far the most logical option, and with Steve Robertson saying that Kimi is on the verge of resigning for Lotus, and with Massa showing the signs of a man that knows his time is almost up, I am beginning to wonder whether a contract has already been signed by Hulkenberg. And it’s not even like signing him is a risk. As he has demonstrated throughout his F1 career, he is massively quick when the car is there for him.

        Regarding Massa, I think if I’ve interpreted his defiance correctly we may see some Webber-esque performances in these final races of his Ferrari, or maybe his F1 career. That will be interesting, and inevitably plays into Vettel’s hands; just as everything seems to.

        @hamilfan Interesting quote. It certainly contradicts what he did out on track! I wonder whether di Montezemelo “had a word” between Q3 and that interview, and by “had a word” I of course meant massive threats against his job, family and favourite pet. Someone “had a word” with Rubens during the 2002 Austrian GP…

  2. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 7th September 2013, 14:48

    Another sign that the championship is way, way over.

  3. iAltair (@ialtair) said on 7th September 2013, 14:52

    Sebastian too legendary that he is being listed as 1st and 22nd.

  4. Alonso’s TR in Italian: You are stupid. You are all stupid. You ruined my qualifying. After quali interview: Alonso says Ferrari’s tactics in Q3 were perfect. Typical Fernando…

  5. When I saw Hamilton in interview after qualifying first thing I thought was: OMG, she dumped him again!

  6. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 7th September 2013, 15:05

    What the hell is up with Sutil? An embarrassment to his team but mostly himself. Shocking, not the first time he has done this either.

  7. Kudos to Hulk, but Ricciardo was impressive as well, only two tenths slower than Webber’s second place time.

  8. liam (@) said on 7th September 2013, 15:18

    If Fernando can nail Webber and Hulk fast, with Massa helping to choke them. I reckon he can take the victory.

  9. yoyoyo said on 7th September 2013, 15:32

    Excellent result for Hulkenburg and Ricciardo, really mixing it with the big boys, and Vettel’s new best friends, as they are keeping title rivals behind him.
    The beginning of the end for Hamilton’s title chance? I don’t think he had a chance anyway, but when he got one win everyone in the media was giving him a chance and saying things like “only a couple of mistakes or dnfs for vettel and he is right in it”, but a couple mistakes are always more likely from Hamilton then vettel, and to beat vettel, he also has to beat webber and the 2 Ferraris, consistently.

  10. If Alonso did say that I wonder how long he is gonna last in Ferrari… Hope it’s just a comment at the heat of the moment and he’s apologized to the team..

  11. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 7th September 2013, 15:51

    Maybe if the rain comes tomorrow Hulkenberg could have a shot at the podium (if he doesn’t have a Brazil 2012 brain fart).

    Hoping Webber can challenge Vettel tomorrow. That’s probably the closest I’ve seen him to Vettel all season.

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 7th September 2013, 17:13

      Well, I don’t think that Hülkenberg did something wrong in his incident with Hamilton. He did a move – a move who wasn’t too agressive – but just lost the car due to the wet tarmac. Racing incident for me, he didn’t deserve a penality.

  12. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 7th September 2013, 15:53

    Romain Grosjean said his out-lap was a “disaster” – he ended up 14th

    That should be 13th.

  13. Michael Brown (@) said on 7th September 2013, 17:13

    I like that there’s gravel on the exit of Parabolica and not tarmac.

  14. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 7th September 2013, 21:52

    This Hulkenberg bloke ain’t bad is he? I hope Ferrari have taken note if they hadn’t previously.

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