Sebastien Vettel won his eighth Grand Prix of the season and the 18th of his career at the Italian Grand Prix Sunday and said that the only thing missing when he stood on the podium was a Ferrari racing suit.
Vettel started from pole in his Red Bull-Renault and retook the lead from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on lap 5 before running away and hiding from the rest of the field.
Much of his excitement stemmed from the fact he’d won his first Grand Prix at the storied Monza circuit just three years ago. "It is the best podium in the world," he said.
But then he added:
"The only thing that could make it better is probably wearing a red (Ferrari) suit."
Now, earlier this season, Vettel signed a contract extension to the end of 2014. So did designer Adrien Newey.
But Ferrari is on the ropes. Yes, Alonso finished third on Sunday but if the race had been any longer he likely would have been passed by Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren-Mercedes who would have joined teammate and second-place finisher Jenson Button on the podium with Vettel.
So the pressure is on Ferrari to win, not be second or third.
Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo was musing the other day that he has full confidence in his designers and technicians to come up with a car for 2012 to beat the Red Bulls. "We don’t need Adrien Newey," he said.
But he said the same thing last year about 2011 and it didn’t happen. You can bet if the Ferrari is a third-or-fourth place finishing car next year that de Montezemolo will be very interested in Newey.
And Alonso, while a great driver, is not winning races either and Vettel will soon be a two-time world champion (he can clinch the title at the next race in Singapore in two weeks). With Alonso’s contract finishing at the end of 2012, there could be pressure to make big changes, unless . . .
So Sebastien Vettel and Adrien Newey at Ferrari in 2013? There are signs.
Meantime, Michael Schumacher was fifth in a Mercedes at Monza in what was a highly entertaining Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion is showing signs of his old brilliance but had to be warned by his own team about blocking after it was obvious that he frequently made more than one defensive move to keep Hamilton behind him.
A huge crash deep in the field, triggered by Vitantonio Liuzzi at the first corner, eliminated four cars at the start but didn't affect the leaders or the race outcome.
Positions six through 10: Felipe Massa, Ferrari; Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso; Paul di Resta, Force India; Bruno Senna, Renault; Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso.
Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, ran into the back of Massa's Ferrari and subsequently crashed out as the result of damage done to the front of his Red Bull.
– IndyCar boss Randy Bernard flew to the Continent to sit down with Lotus executives concerning their commitment to supply engines to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012. While Honda has signed a number of teams and Chevrolet is moving toward announcements, there has been nothing but silence from Lotus.
Does the fact, then, that Bernard subsequently attended the Italian GP as a guest of Ferrari mean anything?
Or was he (according to a friend who send me this list) . . .
- Arranging Ferrari bodywork for the Dullara?
- Getting screaming Ferrari engines for IndyCar after being rebuffed by Lotus?
- Extending a job offer to Massa for 2013?
- Finding a replacement for Brian Barnhart?
- Seeing what a full grandstand looks like?
- All of the above?
– Team Lotus cannot be serious about F1. It re-signed Jarno Trulli for the 2012 season. That says it all.
- Oh, and by about 8:40 a.m. Sunday, 40 minutes after the start of the race, TSN was into its fourth set of commercials. Not fair, fellows.