Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Formula 1: Crashes in Monza

The Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend in Monza was one race to be remembered.

Like most fans, I fully expected Giancarlo Fisichella to deliver some relevant points finish to his new team Ferrari seeing the look of determination in the Italian’s pace while driving for Force India just 2 weeks ago catching up to Kimi Raikkonen in the Belgian GP.

Probably the pressure was just too much on the 37-year old veteran. Having been given the go-ahead signal to drive for Ferrari, an Italian team, backed up by rabid home crowd, Fisichella almost destroyed his first F60 by crashing during Qualifying.

Clearly outpaced by Mercedes this year, Ferrari’s lackluster performance can be equated by its KERS power boost system, one Giancarlo failed to capitalize by finishing only 9th. Pointless.

And like most fans, I fully expected Lewis Hamilton to bring home his McLaren front pole to podium but the Briton’s overzealous racing mindset got the better of him when he crashed his MP4 in the last few hundred meters to the chequered flag whilst chasing compatriot Jenson Button of Brawn. That hurt.

Lewis’ crash allowed Kimi Raikkonen’s 5th trip to the podium this season, 4th successive, one the Finn is hoping to replicate in 11 days time after crashing out himself in Singapore in the last 3 laps of the race last year.

Brilliant strategy though by Ross Brawn. Setting up single pit stops enabled both drivers to finish a 1-2. I am at a loss as to why McLaren, Ferrari or Red Bull didn’t come up with that strategy. Of course, one has to take into consideration about tire graining. My guess is Raikkonen and Hamilton couldn’t do without having to change tires twice in Monza, a high speed circuit.

Speaking of crashes, Renault’s “crashgate” scandal has turned up its ugly head around. Criminal charges have been filed by Renault against father and son for alleged blackmail. This after the Piquets reported to the FIA of team orders being given to the junior Piquet to deliberately crash his Renault right after eventual Singapore GP winner Fernando Alonso was in the pits.

But why the report after almost a year from the first night race is a guess I’m willing to make. Junior Piquet, spoiled brat that he is, could not get over the fact getting the boot from Renault for, as you guessed it, driving too slow. Again, that hurt.