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Italian Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Sep 2011   |  6:05 pm GMT  |  362 comments

The legendary Monza circuit provided an entertaining race with thrilling battles all the way down the field but which driver impressed you most?

Sebastian Vettel

Found half a second in the final part of qualifying to take his 10th pole position of the season. Had no answer to Alonso’s lightening quick start and lost the lead. Reclaimed the lead with a sublime move on the Spaniard into the second chicane and then never looked back as he claimed his eighth victory of the season. The German now leads the championship by 112 points and can become the youngest double world champion next time out in Singapore if he wins with Alonso off the podium. Led his 500th lap of the season today, no-one else has broken 100 laps yet!

Jenson Button

Finished second at Monza for the 3rd year in a row. Started third on the grid but dropped back to seventh. Charged back through the field, passing his team-mate Hamilton and then Schumacher as he rose back to third. Tried the undercut in an attempt to pass Alonso but was blocked by Barrichello. Then passed the Spaniard as the Ferrari struggled with its harder tyres and went on to finish second, just 10 seconds behind race winner Vettel.

Fernando Alonso

Milestone day as he becomes only the second driver after Schumacher to cross the threshold of 1,000 F1 points. Made an amazing start, catapulting his Ferrari from fourth to first with a brave move up the inside of pole-sitter Vettel at the start. But he was unable to hold off the German for long and dropped back to second after battling for five laps. Once again, the Ferrari struggled to warm up the hard compound tyre, and the Spaniard gradually fell back from Vettel with Button passing him late on to relegate him to third.

Lewis Hamilton

Lost out in the battle with Vettel for pole but started the race from an encouraging second. A poor start saw him lose two places and get stuck behind Schumacher. Had a great battle with the German, passing him on lap 13, before Schumacher fought back thanks to Mercedes’ superior straight-line speed. Eventually passed him with 15 laps to go before finishing a lonely fourth.

Michael Schumacher

Outqualified team-mate Rosberg to start eighth and made a strong start, rising to fourth to begin a battle with Hamilton. Passed the Brit after the safety car restart and produced one of his best performances of the season as he bravely defended his position. Was passed by Button and eventually Hamilton, before finishing a strong fifth for the second consecutive race.

Jaime Alguersuari

A career best 7th today. Makes it 8 races in a row where a driver eliminated in Q1 gets points. Had another bad qualifying and started down in 18th but avoided the carnage at the first corner and steadily moved up the field. Battled strongly and maximized his strategy to rise up into the points and eventually finish seventh to score the best result of his career.

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As a Button fan, it’s tempting to give him driver of the day for being the best strategist. But Vettel’s overtake at the beginning—with that huge plume of dirt following him as he went half off the track—was proof that he doesn’t just drive fast, he can really race.

I don’t know why everyone’s cheering on Schumacher. He’s a cheat. You’re allowed one defensive move. He took several. There was nothing skillful about it. If Lewis Hamilton hadn’t been so uncharacteristically cautious, Schumacher’s actions would have caused a massive crash. In fact, now that the drivers know the stewards don’t take that rule seriously, you can expect other, less talented drivers to follow suit and make a great big mess.


My vote is for Vettel, every time Hamilton, or Alonso get close to him he he finds more speed, more quickness and he makes it look so damn easy. Instead of belly aching about how things used to be, we should take a step back and realize right now we’re observing epic talent pushing themselves, their cars and their teams to the limit.


Wonder what the answer to this will be next year, probably “i dont know didnt watch it”. NO TO SKY


This is the race where Vettel made me a believer. Yes, I knew he was good, but this race elevated that to great. Schumacher and Button put in good drives, as did Alonso, but Vettel was just amazing in that car. It was setup just perfect for the way he drove it. I just wish Button didn’t have such a poor start, I would have liked to see him challenge for the win.


just a note on the whole ‘was schumacher dodgy in italy’ debate.

imagine tuning in to f1 for the first time, and seeing lap after lap of 2 cars fighting, all over each other.

whether you had an issue with the conduct (if there was any) or not, for entertainment value it was right up there, and from a racing point of view it was a masterclass of defensive driving.

imagine if they lowered the grip levels all round – this is what we’d have every race…..

i think a lot of people have forgotten that this is actually what f1 could be like, but we’ve been so used to anodyne racing, that when 2 people come along fighting wheel to wheel, rather than rejoice and absorb every single moment, we immediately look for a negative, like coulthard (and to some extent brundle, though he tried to redress himself quickly after) did in commentary. Instead they should have been doing their job, commentating on the action directly, describing to the viewers how difficult it is to defend at 200+mph, judging perfectly the distances in tiny vibrating mirrors, and how difficult it is to follow a slower car that close going into braking zone after braking zone.



Imagine Murray Walker commentating this fierce battle. I would still be shaking of excitement … yes, that would have been almost one week after that infamous battle.

Instead we got a dry analysis of two former driver’s who seemed annoyed by yet another questionable Schumacher. I appreciate their insight information on a technical level. But they just ruined one of those great moments in F1 where two former champions battle it out.

Bring back Murray! I want to FEEL F1 again!


Brilliant post and spot on.


Great race shumi. Hope to see again in the podioum.


the only thing that grates on me is Coulthards & Brundles personal bias against Schumcaher. David, getting your little rule book out, just pathetic and schoolboyish. I’m not Schumachers biggest fan but this is very poor indeed (and very blatant, esp Coulthard)

You do not like him, we get it, you resent him, we get it, you had small careers as F1 racers, he did not, so you have an inherent bias against him, WE GET IT.

We must remember Coulthards drving “talents”, from memory, crashing on the parade lap at monza, crashing into the pit wall for a pit stop, and the list goes on and on. no wonder he hates schumacher with such raw dislike.

the coverage better change guys, remove your bias.


Has to be Vettel, he owned a race that everyone thought Red Bull would struggle at, that move on Alonso took serious balls. I know there is a lot of chat about people saying he can only win from the front. They may or may not have a point, but even if he can only win from the front, is that a bad thing? The great Jim Clark was widely known to prefer dominating races from the front and was susceptible to making mistakes if he was being pushed from behind or having to catch people, he is regarded as one of the greatest, why is Vettel being critisized?

On the Schumacher debate, I thought he drove a great race, right on the limit of whats fair but thats why he is a 7 time world champion and the rest of the guys arent. Hamilton should have known better than to stick his nose up the inside of Curva Grande from a mile behind, the other swerves I think were Michael moving once then retaking the racing line. That does need clearing up in the rules though, should you be allowed to retake the racing line if it means moving right the way back across the track again, for what its worth I would say yes. Only Hamilton struggled to get past him, a very lackluster race from Lewis IMO. Before some folk start I am not a “Lewis hater” and am certainly not a Schumacer fan.


I don’t believe the discussion here shoult be about Schmacher and if he deserved a penalty or not. Personally I don’t think he did – its up to the driver behind to overtake and if you give him all the DRS/KERS gizmos as well than why can’t the driver ahead be somewhat abrupt in defending his position (especially when the guy behind is being given playstation helpers).

Alas the point here for me is if Hamiltion was the one doing the defending against F1’s wonder boy Vettel or Button or the poor guy Massa – or anyone else for that matter – and Hamilton caused the other guy to put 2 wheels on the grass at 200mph wld Hamilton be given a penalty?

Using past decisions that answer has to be – unfortunately – an emphatic yes.

As a fan or sport all you want to see is fair decisions by those in charge and F1 like many other sports is not being fair and impartial in its stewarding decisions.


Amazing isn’t it? Even when a driver comes fourth the majority of posts are about him…

Presumably all those who thought Schumacher’s performance amazing must have been in ecstasy at the masterly display of defensive driving by Petrov in front of Alonso at Abu Dhabi last year!

As far as the stewarding, no penalty for Schumacher was right. The only thing the sport needs, though, is cast-iron consistency so that every driver is treated the same way.


people are making a big deal of how jenson got around schumi much quicker than hamilton….hamilton couldnt afford another dnf,he said so many times during the weekend his priority was to finish the race.he had a lot more to lose than jenson


He had a lot more to lose because Jenson is currently beating him…his previous tirade against the stewards also means he has got to be more careful. Another stewards reprimand will result in him getting a 10-place grid drop and will hand more initiative to his teammate…


Does anyone here actually realize that team cars aren’t exactly the same? Each driver has a staff of engineers and if you ask any two engineers a question on strategy I’d bet you’d get two different answers. The perfect example was Buttons car and Hamiltons car.

Driver of the day – Alguersuari; great drive in a mediocre car…again


By saying that Lewis and Jenson have the same car, we don’t refer to strategies. We refer to the actual car. Engine, front wing, rear wing, floor, exhaust etc.

The drivers and their team decide after practise how they will aproach the race. Like we saw couple of races ago, Alonso and Massa chose diferent front wings.

This is totally the choice of the driver and their team.

I hope I made it clear to you 🙂


I think we need a bit more detail here. There is the driver who did the best in an absolute sense (generally the winner), the one who made the most of his car, and the Kamui Kobayashi award for the most entertaining. We’ll throw in another for Most Improved too. Schumacher can claim a victory for causing a lot of entertainment and definitely being most improved so I think that explains why he’s winning this poll on aggregate. The making your most of the car award is always the political one since you insert the name of your favourite driver and claim his car’s not that great. I like Vettel for it since he may have the best car but he’s using to absolutely crushing effect, rather than just winning by a bit. I accept the Alonso position though.

I very much agree with the earlier who argued this period is fundamentally more interesting than the early 2000’s despite Vettel’s dominance because the competition behind the leader is very good with this large group of world champions and some promising youngsters. The Schumacher era was also rather blighted by the tire wars where at one point the Bridgestoned Ferrari was untouchable and the in 2005, the combination was weaker and there was the sense not much could be done about it. Not to mention the lack of passing which meant Schumacher’s greatest trick was the stunning few laps during the pit windows where he’d pick up positions.


The long slow death of Williams is just like the long slow death of Tyrrell. Two much beloved and extraordinary teams in their heydays. I cannot see a way to go from here back to championship challenging. Since 1997 they have steadily gone from championship-winning to race-winning to podium-scoring, to point-scoring to where we are today where they are lucky to be challenging for points and this is with points down to 10th now as well rather than just 8th or even 6th!! I really cannot see a Honda to Brawn-type resurgence!


Very simple put Alonso,Button,Hamilton in the Redbull and I am pretty positive they would win. Put Vettel in the Ferrari and he wouldnt. Drivers 20 percent and race car 80 percent. The most oustounding talent is Newey!!!


If by “bravely” you mean “illegally”, then I’d agree. He was clearly changing direction more than once in defending his position, which is not allowed. The reason it’s not allowed is so no one dies while throwing one up the inside/outside after the lead car has executed their “one move”.

Hamilton got a 25 sec time penalty for less than that in Malaysia, with no warning from Charlie.

As Ron Dennis would say, “where is the consistency?”

Vettel has to be the driver of the day … he reclaimed the lead with a great pass, and was gone. I think the McLarens had the pace to run Seb close, but only if they got away cleanly with him. They both got held up by Schumi for too many laps, and that put paid to that.

McLaren, too much wing!!

Did anyone else see that one of the stewards was 25 years old?! Now I know that the EPL has had 24 and 25 yr old refs, but in that sport there is a physical element to being a ref. I think the max age is 45 for an EPL ref (might be a bit higher; I know it’s 45 to be a ref for FIFA tourneys).

But being a motorsports steward requires no physical effort, so you would think the FIA would try to get more experienced motorsports people into the stewards room.


Regardless of what you think of his tactics, Schumacher made that race one of the most entertaining of the year. Without him it would have been relatively tedious. As an old school Damon Hill fan, I can’t believe I find myself rooting for him. But I have to confess, I’d love to see Schumacher win another race before he bows out for good.


“SV only memorable thing was that pass on Alonso. The rest..I didnt even see him for the whole race. Is that what makes a good driver?”

Well, it could be because he’s so far ahead of the rest that he doesn’t often come up on your TV screen. Ever thought of that ?

It seems extraordinary to me that twice as many people on here vote for Schumi over Vettel. Come on guys, MS’s glory days are over, finished, vergangen. Wake up and smell the coffee, it tastes of Vettel. What he’s done this year is extraordinary, especially when you compare him to Webbo, who is, let us not forget, a very quick guy.

Jenson drove a great race also, and showed Junior Hamilton how to overtake, but with that ballsy move in the Curva Grande, you have to give it to SV. One wonders what he has to do to convince some people.


I voted MS and my second option would’ve been Alguersuari. Vettel is a good driver, but driving in front and seeing just one overtake -even if it was a very good one- doesn’t cut it for me.

Defending like MS in a inferior car for half the race against a LH in a McLaren is something to aplaude.



We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one. But time is on my side !


1.- Alguersuari. 18th to 6th.

2.- Alonso. Amazing start and position by the 5th car of the grid. Probably a winner in a McLaren car.

3.- Button. McLaren had a good race pace to press even Vettel but worse tyre degradation. Not bad but far fron astounding.

4.- Schumacher. Nice race and a big headache for his haters.

5.- Bruno Senna. After his bad star at Spa, the Brazilian scored his first points.


This McLaren supporter has to give it to Sebastian Vettel for that incredible overtake on Alonso.

I can’t remember a braver move since watching Nigel Mansell going wheel to wheel with Senna.

I know he’s has the best car for the last two seasons, but Monza 2011 has dispelled any doubts I had over his ability.

He’s such a nice guy as well. Damn him !


Vettel for the driver of the day. Not sure why Schum is leading in the poll, that’s 5th place we’re talking about with at least 3 potentially faster cars being eliminated or delayed with all the accidents.

My QUOTES of the day have to come from Rosberg:”Liuzzi flew like a torpedo over the grass and put me out of the race” and Kovalainen: “I had a great start, passing Jarno and then seeing the HRT coming into T1 in a pretty hardcore style”.

Makes you wonder why FI went for di Resta and I feel suspicious about Liuzzi’s constant crashes last year. Maybe the driver was more at fault than some F1 journos (not JA) were suggesting. HRT should give guys like Bottas a chance, Liuzzi is looking good for Le Mans or International GT Open, maybe the independents’ trophy in the WTCC. It was lucky he didn’t hit Petrov’s cockpit area and blaming Kovalainen for your own mistake is really nasty.


People are voting for MS because he has an inferior car but drove great. Is the skills that make people vote the driver of the day and not the possition they finish in.

As far as I know, SV was never chosen the driver of the day on this website this year. He had great races and won a lot of them as you probably know, but there was nothing special in them or maybe another driver shown better skills.


Ok we all see the bias shown here by David & Brundell. Jenson in car which has 1 secs advantage over Mercedes (+ mercedes engine too) drove superb but schumi was ordinary…. I dont know if this something to do with Nationality or simply the fact these guys got spanked by Schumi in their hay-days & are still not over it.


A very enjoyable race – plenty of bravery from alot of drivers, lots of people pushing the limits.

I have to finally voice my opinion on the Williams F1 team today. I’ve been a very patient Williams fan for many years now and I just cannot see how they have made no progress at all of late. In fact the opposite is true. Maldanado found himself up in p6 today after the first corner incidents, and then the Massa/Webber crash. Just when I thought we may have lucked into some really, really valuable points, it all started going wrong again. In the space of probably 20 laps, I saw that car get overtaken by Massa, Buemi, Alguersuari, Senna, Di Resta, some guy on a skateboard, two nuns out on a leisurely stroll…. I mean seriously, how can a team of this caliber and experience be slower than every other team on the grid by such a considerable margin?! Something major needs to happen, or we will be behind at least one of the ‘new teams’ next year, and may not score a single point in the whole season. Hopefully the Renault engines will begin to make a difference next year, and some of the technical re-shuffling will surely have an impact. But wasn’t Rubens supposed to be a big influence in this years car, with all of his experience and knowledge? Is there any end in sight to this drought, James, or are we witnessing the final days of Williams?


A little off topic but I have a question about the DRS rules. On or about lap 35 I saw a screen shot of 2 cars following a back marker coming into Ascari. Both front running cars had the DRS activated. Am I to believe that as long as you are with in 1 sec. of the car in front, back markers included the DRS is activated?


Yes, you can use it when you’re lapping someone.


Why is Hamilton in this group? He didn’t have an extraordinary race. And according to Brawn, Schumi was slower when Hamilton passed him cause he missed a gear as he was on the radio with his engineer. I think it would have been a much longer race for Hamilton had Schumi not missed that gear. I’m no Hamilton fan but I do recognize the man is good and agree with most people when he deserves to be in this list but not today.


Agreed … no way LH should be driver of the day for that drive. Not vintage Hamilton at all. Understandable that he wanted to finish the race, and understandable that other drivers would play on this with him.

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