Vettel and Red Bull Dominate Monza Qualifying As Hulkenberg stars
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By:   |  07 Sep 2013   |  4:36 pm GMT  |  269 comments

Sebastian Vettel has continued his momentum of a perfect weekend in Monza by taking a pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, by almost two tenths of a second ahead of Red Bull Racing team-mate, Mark Webber.

It is Vettel’s fourth pole of 2013, and the 40th of his career.

Vettel has shown great pace all weekend and after topping both Q1 and Q2, the German went on to set two laps quick enough for pole position. It will feel all the more sweeter for Red Bull, who also saw Webber take a career best starting position at Monza, as their closest Championship rivals were unable to touch the Milton Keynes squad.

The shock result was Lewis Hamilton in 12th. He made a mistake, running wide at Parabolica and had to abort his first lap in Q2 and then when it really mattered he was held up at Parabolica by Adrian Sutil. After coming under investigation from the race-stewards, Sutil has been given a three place grid-penalty for tomorrow’s race.

Hamilton took the blame for a poor qualifying session, saying that he ‘drove like an idiot’. He is eluding to a mistake in Q2 where he ran wide at the Parabolica and ruined a set of medium tyres. After returning to the pits for new tyres he was unable to improve and make his way in to the final phase of qualifying.

Hamilton will begin the race in between the Lotus pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, with the Finn taking eleventh place. It was a very disappointing result for the team, after a strong showing in practice. Meanwhile, the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg could only manage sixth place, behind the Ferrari pair – headed by Felipe Massa.

But today there were two Germans that will grab the headlines for exceptional performances.

Nico Hulkenberg showed strong pace throughout the hour-long session and a spot in the top ten shoot-out illustrated why he is being linked with a seat further up the grid from Sauber.

Although, his performance hit new heights when he clinched third position on the grid with an excellent final lap late in the session. The young German has impressed at many points during his Formula One career, namely a 2010 pole position at a drying Brazilian GP and leading the race at Interlagos in 2012.

Today’s showing in neutral conditions will bode well for him given this point in the season and the fact that he has out-qualified both Ferraris at their home race; Hulkenberg’s name has come back strongly into the frame for Massa’s Ferrari seat this week and today’s performance – in front of president Luca di Montezemolo – may be what swings it for him.

“This was a nice surprise for all of us,” said Hulkenberg. “I didn’t expect that after a very difficult Friday. Yesterday we struggled a lot with the car and the guys have done a fantastic job turning it around to give me such a competitive car today.”

The Ferrari pair had a positive session relative to the Lotus and Mercedes pairings. Once again they attempted a slip-streaming tactic, but they were unable to threaten Red Bull – with Alonso complaining that Massa was ‘going too fast’, and therefore he could not get a adequate tow.

Massa ended the day 1/100th of a second faster than Alonso, and did himself no harm in impressing his employers.

There was also impressive displays from Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez, who took seventh and eighth places for Toro Rosso and McLaren respectively. Ricciardo and team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne both made it in to Q3 after sitting in the top six during the previous sessions. Vergne eventually qualified in tenth after an excursion through the gravel trap at the the exit of the Parabolica.

Perez got the better of his more experienced team-mate by a small margin, with Button taking ninth place alongside Vergne.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, Monza, Qualifying

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m23.755s
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m23.968s +0.213s
3. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m24.065s +0.310s
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m24.132s +0.377s
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.142s +0.387s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.192s +0.437s
7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m24.209s +0.454s
8. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m24.502s +0.747s
9. Jenson Button McLaren 1m24.515s +0.760s
10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m28.050s +4.295s
11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m24.610s +0.633s
12. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.803s +0.826s
13. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m24.848s +0.871s
14. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m24.932s +0.955s
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m25.011s +1.034s
16. Paul di Resta Force India 1m25.077s +1.100s
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m25.226s +0.907s
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m25.291s +0.972s
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m26.406s +2.087s
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m26.563s +2.244s
21. Jules Bianchi Marussia- 1m27.085s +2.766s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1m27.480s +3.161s

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Oops. I meant Daniel Ricciardo. Sorry, typo…. 😛


Not surprised at all by Nico Hulkenberg’s pace. Sauber was quick here last year. with Nico on the wheel you know you have a driver that is good in Quali too, Perez lacks that single lap pace. Nico is a lot like Vettel I must say.

Good thing Danile Ricciardo is getting his chance… now give Hulkenberg and Bianchi the chances they deserve


Recently I read an alledged Ferarri policy: “should always be a champion in the car.”

If this is true, then despite the comments that Ferarri drivers have often been sacked for less, the only reason Fernando is still in the team, must be that they are working on bringing Kimi back. After they got rid of him before, I could not see that happening, but he is the only champion on the grid to be potentially available.

I think for the team, this has come out of the blue; they were considering a change for the second seat, but a first seat issue has arisen too.

For Alonso, this has been building, in hindsight. The look he had when he lost the championship in Brazil last year (I mentioned it in another thread), and comments he shared in a joint interview with Webber in a restaurant earlier in the season – dissatisfaction with having to drive to cope with tyres, having to remember there were other, more enjoyable categories beyond F1.

Mark has sorted his exit strategy, to Porsche. I get the feeling that Fernando won’t be completely gutted if there are no more F1 opportunities if/once this one crashes and burns.

He has already bought a cycle team…


Off topic, but James what’s happening with Kimi to Ferrari rumours? Eddie Jordan again today said Kimi will go to Ferrari


It’s in the balance.

Kimi still taking to Lotus, Montezemolo is saying there are other drivers besides Kimi. Hulkenberg is definitely back in the frame. But they’d like to keep Massa. Meanwhile they are worried in case Alonso decides to take a sabbatical – in spite of his claim on Thursday that he won’t


This race needs one Mark Webber to have a blindingly fast start. Oh wait…..


MW had a great start in Monaco.

We can live in hope!


A wet race, is all we need…

The race Vettel won for Toro Rosso, Hamilton was overtaking everyone, and more two or tree laps, he would catch the German..

What we dont need is RG doing his crazy starts and taking out the stars of the race, Monza has a very difficult start with a chicane right away… just let the drivers, drive!

This year we are not having many incidents at the starts…


Hi James,

Which drivers outside the top 10 have a higher downforce setting? And of these, Is there anyone who stands out in your opinion who could cause and upset tomorrow if the predicted thunderstorms arrive?

Do you know the latest forecast? Is the rain still likely to hit in or for the race?

Fingers crossed for something to mix it up.

If it stays dry, Do you expect Hamilton or the Lotus pair to be able to make a challenge if they start on hard tyres?


As an Italian speaker, I can confirm with 100% certainty that Alonso stated “Siete dei geni” (“You are geniuses”), in an extremely sarcastic/malicious manner.

The ‘idiot’ jibe arises from the phrase “idioti” (“idiots”), which does sound similar to “dei geni” (“geniuses”) on the radio feed.

For all the uncertainty over Alonso’s choice of words, one thing is certain – as soon as those lights go out Massa is sure to give way to his team mate. “Genius.”


Actually he said “Siete proprio dei scemi”. Scemi means idiot.


I’ve listened to it several times and it sounds more like geni to me- geniuses


Big Girl’s Blouse said “schemi” (idiots).


He was told he may have to let Rosberg past as he was on a hot lap albeit 12s behind

He basically said are you thick? Of course not

He ended that out lap 5s ahead of Rosberg no drama

That is it, as far a I can tell but I remain open to alternative interpretations


All in all, whatever it was that transpired, it should make for a fascinating start to the race. A fired-up Fernando is sure to make for a fascinating afternoon.


Thanks James – for putting Alonso’s comments and media speculation in perspective.

It’s quite a rude way of making the point, unless it’s in the context of banter amongst good friends.

But I guess in an F1 one can’t always phrase messages politely.


RedBull did exactly as I hoped for. lower downforce and higher gearing. make Seb drive the wheels off the thing, hang on, and prove he is worthy of his 4’th championship in a row.

of course, that is ALL speculation at this point.

Kudos to Mark for being so close. Sky coverage is good, but not perfect, but I never saw Mark being anything short of near perfection in the chicane at the end of the front straight…

sure wish I had seen a replay of Hulk’s run. had to be monumental! good for him – hope it is enough to get a good drive next year!

argh. Kimi and Lotus are toast this year…

good for Filipe’. Ferdie and Ferrari seem to be self-imploding. not a hater, but I just fail to get the whole supposed “greatness” of Ferrari – the Chinese fire drill pitstops and poor chassis’s and total lack of any innovation in the ’60’s along with that was the last damned thing ya wanted to have a real accident in because u would certainly be dead…

2 Toro Rosso’s in the final Q3?? very kewl! NOT a fan of Marko, Tost, or formerly, Berger by any means, but I think they got it right with Daniel. good luck to him…

pretty obvious Gutierez just ain’t got it. and Bottas ain’t the wunderkid he was proclaimed to be either.

Kovy is an old has-been who cannot get the sponsorship he claims he will not even try for, Guido is showing some form at times, and Max finally almost had the better of his highly rated teammate (even tho Max had an extra FP1 session).

Merc and Force India were like nearly backmarkers and Jens in particular, failed to impress when it mattered.

regardless of possible rain, this could be an epic race. I cannot wait…


A couple of comments;

1) I liked the tactic Ferrari tried with the drafting. Why not? Drivers will try to take advantage of it anyway, to do it as a tactic is fine by me.

2) Alonso’s remarks should be taken with a grain of salt. There is an enormous amount of pressure on him ad combine that with is equally large ego and standard he sets, he is bound to erupt sometimes. He is Spanish!

3) Glad to see Lewis own his mistakes. I thought earlier in the year when Nico was out performing him, he sounded as though it was anyones fault but his own.

4) Superb job by Hulkenberg. I hope he gets a podium.

5) We are in for a good race. Given Alonso’s magic at starts and opening laps, the superb skill of Vettel, and Hulk and Webber in the mix, I expect a race to remember.


Good comments David but I should point out that Massa has gained more places off the start than Alonso this year.

Massa +14

Alonso +6

Compared to,

Webber -15

Just saying.


Take it with a grain of salt because Alonso is Spanish?

So if Vettel had said to his team “you are all idiots/stupid/geniuses (sarcastically)” he is not allowed because he is German?

10 bucks says you (I think an Alonso fan) would rip Vettel apart for being arrogant, primadonna and so forth if he ahd done the same. In fact, Vettel has been ripped apart by media and F1 fans for way less things he said.

Colombia Concalvez

”3) Glad to see Lewis own his mistakes. I thought earlier in the year when Nico was out performing him, he sounded as though it was anyones fault but his own.” BS. Where did Lewis sounded like that ?, don’t make things up, seriouslt don’t!.


Surprise of the day was definitely Hulkenberg, closely followed by Hamilton. I was convinced the Mercs were sandbagging.

Also James, on the BBC, Eddie Jordan mentioned rumours about Alonso taking a sabbatical…… Is this just tabloid gossip or is there any meat to it? It would be a risky time to take a break, wouldn’t it? Who knows who’s going to be at the top next year?


It’s been discussed in Italy

He said no on Thursday, he brought inject up to deny it


So James, is ALO/RAI likely then for 2014?

What does your source says?


It’s quite fluid – I think Massa may be out, but whether it’s Raikkonen or Hulkenberg, who will get the drive in the next couple of weeks, seems quite fluid.


Some thoughts:

1) That was very impressive of Hamilton to take responsibility of for his mistake and failure to get the car into Q3. Yeah, Sutil blocked him, but Hamilton should not have driven into the kitty litter on the previous hot lap, and he owned up to it. He’s really growing into a man before our eyes, and it’s making him a better driver, because he knows that he’s not just going to get magical results all the time because of his talent and has short-comings he needs to work through.

2) Nico Hulkenberg just secured a move up the grid today. Simply put, if you don’t have a finalized driver lineup for next year, you have to try to hire him. If I’m Ferrari and I can’t get Kimi, I hire him. If I’m Lotus, I hire even- either to replace Kimi, or to dump Grosjean and take him. If I’m McLaren, I dump Perez in a heartbeat and take him. The top teams who don’t hire him will regret it years later. He is the best talent to come in since Hamilton and Vettel.

3) This Alonso-Ferrari thing clearly runs deeper than has been revealed, all while it’s become clear that Ferrari are trying very hard to bring Kimi back. You really have to wonder how much longer this rift is going to go on before there is a split. Ferrari don’t tolerate their drivers acting up for very long, and if Alonso isn’t careful and doesn’t adjust his attitude soon, he could well find himself dumped off and with a scarlet letter on his forehead that not many teams would be willing to overlook.

4) Strategy is going to be incredibly fascinating tomorrow. I think it’s clear that Vettel is going to run and hide from the lights to the finish. But the rest of the podium and grid is unbelievably fluid. You’ve got Hamilton and the two Lotuses who have quick cars and will be able to invert the tire strategy and very safely do one stop.I think we’ll see at least one of them on the podium tomorrow, as they will have a superior strategy and will be able to “Perez” their way up the grid. We may even see two. And if it rains… all bets are off.


Great observations.

Tyre strategy by the Lotuses and Hamilton is going to be very interesting. Can’t wait for the warming blankets to come off.


Holding your hand up when you make a mistake is not impressive, it is what you should do normally.

He drove into the gravel and Sutil was wrong eventually and he deserved the penalty, how ever Hamilton could have done that smarter.

Sutil was about to start his hot lap so Hamilton should have braked way before and created space before the corner and let Sutil fly away instead of getting into his gearbox mid corner. How was he going to pass Sutil in the corner with both of them starting a hot lap?


He tried to overtake Sutil cause being in the faster car he would have caught him anyway. Remember he crossed the finish line with less than 20 Sec to go.


If Perez started on the hard tires from the same position as lewis (last year), am I right to say that lewis may even challenge for the lead near the end if he gets a good start? Lewis will definitely have the soft tire advantage towards the end of the race. Your thoughts James?


“Hamilton took the blame for a poor qualifying session, saying that he ‘drove like an idiot’. He is eluding to a mistake in Q2 where he ran wide at the Parabolica and ruined a set of medium tyres.”

No. Hamilton is *alluding* to, not *eluding* to. Matt Meadows mixes those two up quite often. 🙂


Not a normal quali session with much dramas. But race will be very interesting, just hope it doesn’t feel like Spa after a couple of laps. High chances it will be I guess.

Thread the Needle

Sutil showing his true colours, what a shame he has to do things like that


So much is being said about Alonso recently. And I do feel for him. I am not so sure how this will be handled by our president but we do need to be honest with each other in that our car isn’t that competitive. This has been going on for a couple of seasons now. We need to assemble a winning car. That is very important. Without a winning car, frustrations will surely happen. And this (in my opinion)is what we are witnessing. Most organizations have annual performance agreements (PA) for every employee. Perhaps it is time that we take full advantage of PA and reward accordingly…



So, you work for Ferrari do you?


In the article you state of Hamilton: “He is eluding to a mistake in Q2 where he ran wide at the Parabolica and ruined a set of medium tyres.”

I think you really mean he is alluding. Eluding refers to hiding.


Very impressed with SV I have to say. Yes he has the car, but he surely get most out of its potential. 40 poles and only 26 years of age. 28 away from MS record, is it? 25 from Senna’s of that I am sure. Impressive.

Does not augurs well for tomorrow as far as a fight for first is concern. Can the Ferraris keep the Red Bulls honest? Lets hope so.

Mercs & Lotus surprised many if not most, for alas the wrong reason.

The Hulk. He seems to have stood out in all the categories he entered in prior to F1. That seems not to have change. I hope that he gets a good seat next year. Ferrari should get him if they let go of Massa.

Vettel for the win is as safe a bet as one could get for tomorrow. Hope it will be a good race still. Marc


James please ask Sutil what the hell is his problem! Hope Calado will replace him next year.


Vettel again demonstrates why he is the best driver since Senna. His pole lap was magnificient. Hamilton, Alonso and Riakkonnen are vastly overrated and if Vettel had their cars, I’ve no doubt he would still be leading. Vettel would destroy all three of these drivers would ease if they were teammates, leaving their fanboys crying in their beers. Vettel will soon become 4xWDC and will go on to break Schumacher’s record. Glory to the great Sebastian Vettel!


Well I never…


Because the first time Daniel Ricciardo drove an RB9 he was 2/10 off Sebastian’s pace!!- you don’t have a clue mate..


0.2s off? He was 0.2s ahead, fuel-corrected … that came out from RBR themselves. And that was on the day before Vettel, so less rubber on track.

I pegged OJ as a particularly deluded Button lover. I guess it’s more anti-LH than pro-anyone. Typical.


Elie, yeah I first heard that info from the BBC’s Tom Clarkson during the Hungarian GP FP2 broadcast.

Benson mentioned it too in his piece after Ricciardo was confirmed for RBR:

The article is quite illuminating.


I just remember the raw time differential of.279 think KRB..

I never saw fuel corrected times..etc.. I didn’t think they would disclose that!.

OJ is another one of the very many score board experts who can’t/won’t separate driver from team/car


It seems a shame that since Malaysia, Webber hasn’t even been able to put himself in a position to disobey team orders or hinder Vettel. Well you never know, Webber may may a sensational start tomorrow…


Stunning lap from Hulk, never saw that coming.


Wow, Hulkenberg’s tall, isn’t he? Great quali by him, considering his teammate couldn’t get past Q1.

Pretty obvious from FP2 that Vettel and RBR were going to be favourites for pole. Second front-row lockout for them this year. Congrats to Seb on his 40th pole, wow.

Bad mistake from Hamilton to go into the gravel. Though it might not be so bad … think 3rd was the best that he could’ve scored today, likely 4th.

Starting from 12th he should start with the hards, then hope for rain after the leaders pit! I think a top 5 result would be a good recovery, but it will take some doing.

Hilarious radio from Alonso, if the translations are correct!

Race prediction: VET, ALO, WEB, ROS, MAS


Hulk – is he too big for the 2014 Ferrari?

He is tall for an F1 driver isn’t he!


Red Bull one two at Monza, their least suited track…Championship is done.

Insane lap by Hulkenberg.

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