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Italian Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
Italian Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Sep 2010   |  5:54 pm GMT  |  148 comments

Today’s Italian Grand Prix had some great performances from quite a few drivers. So who do you think stood out?

Fernando Alonso
Took pole with a storming lap on Saturday. Lost the start to Button, but put him under intense pressure and made the difference on the two laps after Button’s earlier pit stop. He was under a lot of pressure this weekend, carrying Ferrari’s hopes in their home Grand Prix. They needed their leader to win and give them confidence for the final rounds. He delivered.

Jenson Button
Took a tactical decision to run with more downforce than his team mate or his rivals in qualifying and surprised himself with 2nd on the grid. Got a perfect start and was robust in defending his line into Turn 1. Soaked up Alonso’s pressure and lost the race when the team called him in before Alonso. He couldn’t get his tyres working on the out lap and Alonso nailed him. Magnanimous in defeat.

Felipe Massa
Started third, finished third. Had a major go at Alonso at the start, but had to yield. Was correct in defending from Hamilton, but the incident ended with the McLaren retiring. Had a bit of a go at undercutting the two cars in front by staying out longer but it didn’t work.

Sebastian Vettel
Poor qualifying, but a great recovery drive in the race, to salvage 4th place from a 6th place grid slot. Vettel gambled on staying out to the bitter end, getting 52 laps out of a set of soft tyres. It took him past Rosberg into fourth place.

Nico Rosberg
Great start from 7th on the grid to 4th on opening lap. Didn’t have the pace to live with the top three and lost P4 to Vettel right at the end, but managed to stay ahead of Kubica and Webber.

Mark Webber
Another poor start from the Red Bull, dropping him from 4th to 9th. But what a fight back! Great passes on Schumacher, Vettel and Hulkenberg were some of the best highlights of the race. Although he finished two places lower than where he started, the 8 points from today will come in very handy. Still his championship to lose, in my view.

Nico Hulkenberg
Another very strong weekend from the young German. Since the season moved on to tracks he knows he’s had the edge on Barrichello. He ouqualified him on two of Rubens’ strongest tracks – Valencia and Monza. Today he raced very hard, but fair in the eyes of the stewards and took a Williams to seventh place. Can he keep the momentum going on tracks he doesn’t know like Singapore and Suzuka?

All photos: Darren Heath

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I don’t figure out how you vote in the new site? It was a lot easier before…?

I consider myself pretty technical too…


So James, who’s YOUR driver of the day?


Toss up between Alonso and Button.


My vote is for Alonso, with Button coming a very, very close 2nd.

Alonso showed his championship winning form by making the best of a bad situation (the start). Alonso always pushes very hard, but rarely does he push too hard. He applied enormous pressure to Button for the entire race and ended up jumping him in the pits. While the pit stop was superb, and was definitely the final deciding factor, one cannot ignore the superb driving effort required to get to that point.

As for Button’s drive, maintaining P1 until the pit stops was all that could be asked of him or his car. The Ferrari was clearly the faster car, but Button did a fantastic job of maximizing his 2nd sector times over Alonso. Button did not make a single mistake, had he done so, Alonso was close enough to pass the entire time he was behind.

This was a fantastic race. The two fastest cars on the grid going toe-to-toe for over an hour on the fastest circuit in motorsport with both drivers piloting their machines with microscopic perfection.


Hey James I have a quick question for you.

What can we expect in terms of the quickest cars in the next couple of races. Everyone is saying that Singapore will be Red Bull’s circuit, but Lewis and Mclaren dominated there last year.


James, I just read on a Nascar site that Alonso took the shortcut through a chicane toward the end of the race. Is that true?


It looked as though de la Rosa was much slower through the chicane at the end of the pit straight than what Alonso had expected. Alonso was caught by surprise, and took to the escape road.


Yes, if I remember correctly he did cut the chicane towards the end of the race, but by that point I believe the McLaren had conceded as Button was most likely looking to consolidate his podium finish and preserve his engine. Alonso was pushing to get the fastest lap and bring home the hat-trick for Ferrari. Even with this brief off he still finished nearly 3 seconds ahead of Button.


He had a moment, but I don’t recall him cutting a chicane


Button drove the bet and only lost to a mixed calculation



all the pressure of the Tifosi and racing at Monza and he came through flawlessly….except loosing the lead that is 🙂

Button is a close 2nd though a flawless drive from him, and he jumped Alonso at the start and gave us a more of a race as a result


James, what do you think is wrong with Mercedes car and Schumacher in particular. Can a car go so horribly wrong in 1 year. Is Schumacher out of touch or is the car not treating him well ?


Jenson Button gets my vote. Button squeezed every bit of performance out of his car during qualifying, and he had a stellar start from the second grid slot. He did a fantastic job of managing the pace to keep Alonso behind him, but also conserve his tyres by not over driving.

Had he gone in a lap earlier, and had his pit stop been half to a full second faster I think that he would have had the top spot on the podium.

Alonso is a very close second for me. He put good pressure on Jenson with a lower down force package, and was still able to manage his tyres extremely well.

Great work by Jenson and the team this whole weekend! I think McLaren need to get the trick front lift that Ferrari has so they can shave a few tenths off of the stops.


I think that no matter when Jenson pitted, he would have been surpassed by Alonso. Ferrari were clearly faster and were able to wait on McLaren’s decision. Once Button pitted it was over for him. Alonso laid down 2 fast laps which provided enough of a gap to get him out ahead, albeit barely.

I think after seeing Vettel’s late pit and analyzing his pit time, Ferrari will be kicking themselves for cutting it so close. Perhaps they should have kept Alonso out for 5 more laps to extend his gap to Button, but that was an unknown at that point in the race. I think they were counting on the McLaren’s new tires not coming up to temperature, compromising the McLaren’s performance for a lap or two. While Button waited for his tire temp to come up, Alonso was able to pull a large enough gap.


the team lost him the race though! button didnt decide when to pit the team did 😉



Can you shed any light on why Webber had 2 very bad starts in the last 2 races?

Was it all driver related or was some of it down to the car?


It’s the car, both got bad starts yesterday and Webber had a problem in Spa. It’s happened a few times this year -Valencia


Alonso and Button drove like the champions they are. Unfortunately Hamilton reverted to some of the desperation last shown in his 2008 campaign. Webber, Vettel and Massa drove like the champions they nearly are/were so my vote goes to Hulk who managed to keep his place despite some close shaves with the stewards.


sorry – obviously I meant 2007 for Lewis.


Jenson Button. He did all could with what he had. It is becoming apparent that Alonso’s weakness is his inability to overtake drivers at the top of the table without relying on team orders or pit stop strategy


How exactly should Alonso pass a car that is only marginally slower than his? Perhaps he should drive more like Vettel?

I think we should defer to the judgement of a 2 time world champion when wondering when and where to pass.


Whilst Jenson was superb, my vote goes to Fernando Alonso for drive(r) of the day. He was relentless in his puyrsuit and had to sit in the dirty air for over half of the race which made it difficult to get a run on JB. Alonso’s need sto fix his starts thoughas he regularly loses ground but it was a superb getaway from JB. If Alonso had taken the lead at the start I think he would have won by a distance but at least JB getting ahead made it interesting for the spectators. Alonso has confirmed his hero status to the Tifosi and this will re-ignite him after his Spa mistake.

Forza Alonso!


1 x Monaco rear wing. Thanks for that, I was still laughing half an hour later!


Dear James,

apologies for my silly question but… how can one vote in this polling system?

thanks in advance,



Press the button which says Vote


Though I’m rather an Alonso fan, Button was the driver of the day – with a slower car, set to bring more downforce – Jenson was on the cleaner side of the track, took advantage of that, headed the race, was concentrated a lot, not telling anything on the radio for about 15 laps, and did whatever he was able to keep his position – it was clear that the rivals were no match for Ferrari’s pace, so it was actually easy for them to get on the podium. Good race for Vettel, too, it’s a lesson learned and valuable experience.


I don’t know who to vote for. However I think mclaren were wrong to being button in first. There were no signs he as slowing due to tyres going off so they should have left them out


Button is EASILY the driver of the day. And I’m a Webber fan.

Button out-qualified a teammate whom many continue to say is more talented, on a setup he chose, with a car slower than a Ferrari, and led the majority of the race before being inevitably lapped in the pits.

(and Hulkenberg? Yes, he was very quick today. But you might as well award the driver of the day to the stewards – the same ones who ignored his chicane-cutting)


Fully agreed re Jense. The thinking man’s F1 driver, as I’ve said previously and a real great sportsman. The way he’s handled LH at McLaren this year has been an absolute revelation. It could have been so different – remember 2007? What a contrast to Cry Baby’s childish petulance when he was at McLaren.

Jense has always been underestimated by many who should know better because of the way he simply quietly gets on with the job in hand without flashing his ego around. It’s no wonder he has so many loyal fans.


“Jense has always been underestimated by many who should know better because of the way he simply quietly gets on with the job in hand”

Maybe those understimating him did not realize he only needed 117 races to get his first GP win!


117 races and a car capable of winning…


Well that’s certainly one way of looking at it. On the other hand it helps to have a winning car, and not every driver is lucky enough to end up in one, Jense for instance, for much of the time he has been in this formula.

As the car is 80% or 90% of the game in F1 about the only way you can assess a driver is in relation to his team mate. Apart from 2008, I think it was, when the car was so bad it simply wasn’t worth risking your neck in,, Jense has outclassed every other driver in his team including blowing away a certain World Champion. At the same time he was monumentally consistent, rarely ever had an off, didn’t nerf other people off himself, and on top of that was always a gentleman with it as well.

That is why one or two of us have always rated him, for what it’s worth. And that includes some of the top managers in the sport.


Martin, it seems that you have Fernando under your skin. You have made three different comments so far on this article, and on the three of them you mention “Cry-baby”.

I bet yesterday was a terrible race for you…


I have explained above why I have a certain opinion of him, an opinion I didn’t arrive at lightly.

Terrible race, no I don’t think so. I actually found it quite absorbing at the time although in retrospect I would have to admit it was a bit processional in the usual F1 way.

Obviously the guy you’re rooting for can’t win all the time and I was a bit disappointed Jense was slightly unlucky not to have got the result. But that’s life. You can’t win ’em all. Luck has often played a big part in the battle to win the title, but dodgem car driving tactics shouldn’t.

The World Champion has been a bit unlucky in fact with other people chomping bits off his motor recently, oh and through someone nerfing him off as well. However a lot of other drivers have lost races this year through no fault of their own, as well as through misjudgements. That’s racing.


Butting in on Butt-on (Brundle said that, not me).

Jensen drove with a broken car with the expected grip through corners non existent (rear left lower wing plates removed in the first lap by Alonso). Alonso has the better car throughout. So I vote Jensen.


I don’t remember webber overtaking vettel, I think you mean Kubica. – Webber for 2010 world championship!


If you don’t remeber Webber passing Vettel you must have had too much red wine. Vettel was in front after lap one and then was behind when Webber was forced by Red bull to change his tires when everyone else did, despite the data showing he would have been quicker than those immeadiately in front of him when they changed to hard ( once again tyre strategy favours Vettel- these guys don’t really want a world championship do they?)


Don’t forget that Webber was stuck behind Hulkenburg at that stage and didn’t have the clear air he required to make the strategy employed by Vettel to work.

Also, he had solid points which would have given him the championship lead – an unlikely scenario prior to the third corner – and so there is little benefit in taking too large a risk. Vettel needed to take a risk to elevate himself into a better position or risk losing complete touch with the championship leaders.

Webber played this one well and his team did too, gaining good points on a track that doesn’t suit and after a poor start (one where he made sure he didn’t crash, unlike Hamilton).

Obviously Vettel’s result makes it look like everyone should have done what he did, but for many drivers and cars it wouldn’t have worked out and the result would have been worse.


Generally a good race with some excellent drives. Vettel did well to leapfrog 4 drivers through an excellent strategy call which he pulled off well.

Alonso made his in/out laps count and overcame a less than perfect start as a result. Button picked an excellent set up which gave him the best chance to get a great result.

As far as the two championship leaders, I think Hamilton will rue trying too hard in the first couple of corners and Webber’s more cautious approach which saw him drop a number of places, gave him a lot of valuable points as he made it through the entire course.

Formula 1 championships are not won in a single corner, but they can be lost in a single corner – something that Hamilton should know from experience. Webber’s cautious approach and then strong racing – making several overtakes on the course – was a highlight of the race.

The incidents with Hulkenburg were bizarre to me, he left the course three times – once under real threat from Webber – and should absolutely have been punished. If there were walls he would have crashed, not retained a place he was struggling to maintain. Poor form from the stewards to not punish him for that. I’ve played computer games that would have penalised me for making those moves…

Overall, I think there were some really good drives and stories to come out of the weekend and the championship is still looking interesting for the five contenders.


Jenson Button. Did a heck of a job keeping Alonso at bay.


Webber would have to be it. He showed us that one of the Red Bulls can actually make a clean pass – not just once but a number of times! Hulkenberg stayed in front only because of his short cutting – should’ve easily been a penalty.

Alonso and Button were a fantastic drive too. Good to see competition heating up, but just hope stewards don’t continue to ruin the sport.


Only 4% for Webber? I know 6th is not a great result, but it WAS a great save that put him in control of the championship. He qualified well after losing of a lot of practice time and after a poor start he managed to pass people on the track which few others can stake a claim to.


Oh, and I just wanted to say that Jenson not only drove great, but he is sure showing an impressive talent for strategy and a lot of class and maturity when things don’t work out as well as he hoped.


I am really getting sick of the inconsistency shown by stewards. Alguersuari gets a drive through for cutting 1 chicane and supposedly gaining an advantage.

Hulkenberg straight lines the chicane 3 times whilst defending his position gaining an advantage in doing so and nothing comes of it – clearly he was under pressure and was forced to break later than he would normally do so and couldn’t control the car into the corner.

How many regulations does he need to break and Charlie Whiting does nothing. From the Sporting Regulations;

2. Overtaking, car control and track limits

c) Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of


– the white lines defining the track edges are considered to

be part of the track but the kerbs are not and

– a driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the

car remains in contact with the track.

Should a car leave the track for any reason, and without

prejudice to 2(d) below, the driver may rejoin. However, this

may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining

any advantage.

d) Repetition of serious mistakes or the appearance of a lack of

control over the car (such as leaving the track) will be reported

to the stewards of the meeting and may entail the imposition

of penalties up to and including the exclusion of any driver



Hi James,

Just further on this can you confirm that drivers were given a directive by Charlie Whiting that if they cut the chicane 3 times in the race they would automatically incur a drive through penalty?

“Other than to avoid an accident, if a driver cuts or misses a chicane three times during the race a drive-through penalty will automatically be imposed.”

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