Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg, Monza, 2013

Vettel leads Red Bull one-two as Ferrari tactics fail

2013 Italian Grand Prix qualifying

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Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg, Monza, 2013Red Bull locked out the front row of the grid for the first time since the Australian Grand Prix as their rivals hit trouble in qualifying at Monza.

Two of Sebastian Vettel’s closest championship rivals – Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen – were knocked out in Q2. And Ferrari’s efforts to move Fernando Alonso further up the grid did not produce the desired result.

While Vettel claimed his fourth pole position of the year Nico Hulkenberg claimed an impressive third for Sauber, beating both of the Ferraris.


A fairly standard Q1 session for 2013 saw the Marussias and Caterhams go out as usual along with Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez.

Pastor Maldonado was in the drop zone until the final moments when a late final lap got him up to 12th.

A confident Vettel stayed in the pits and didn’t set his first lap until there was less than seven minutes remaining, then set the fastest time with his second lap. The Mercedes drivers were next, Rosberg making an early start to the session after missing out on running during final practice.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.226
18 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’25.291
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’26.406
20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’26.563
21 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.085
22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.480


Red Bull cut it fine again in Q2, both drivers starting their final laps with less than four minutes to go. But again it proved no problem: Webber came within four-hundredths of a second of beating Alonso’s fastest time up to that point, while Vettel’s 1’23.977 was the fastest time of the weekend so far.

Lewis Hamilton’s first run did not go according to plan as he skidded into the gravel at Parabolica, ruining his lap as well as his tyres. He got back out in time for a second run but again Parabolica was his undoing.

This time he caught the Force India of Adrian Sutil which spoiled his run through the final corner. His time was briefly good enough to put him in the top ten but he was quickly knocked out by faster drivers.

The two Lotus drivers were also in trouble: Neither of them were quick enough to make the cut. Romain Grosjean said his out-lap was a “disaster” – he ended up 13th, four-tenths of a second shy of the top ten.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’24.610
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’24.803
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’24.848
14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’24.932
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’25.011
16 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’25.077


With Hamilton and Raikkonen left by the wayside in Q2, that left Alonso as the likeliest rival to Vettel. Ferrari adopted the tactics they had used the year before of having Massa give him a tow to boost his straight-line speed.

It worked to begin with, bringing Alonso closest to the Red Bulls, who set the pace at the beginning of the session. But it didn’t go according to plan on their final run. Alonso advised his team on the radio that Massa was too far ahead, leaving him without the benefit of a tow.

Making matters worse for Alonso, Massa edged him by a hundredth of a second on their final runs, taking third place off him.

Then came the surprise of the session. Nico Hulkenberg – who more often than not has missed out on Q3 by a few hundredths of a second this year, produced an inspired lap to take third place, relegating Alonso to the third row.

Both Toro Rossos also made it into the top ten but had reasons to be disappointed with the end result. Daniel Ricciardo initially split the Ferraris with his first lap before slipping to seventh. And Jean-Eric Vergne skidded into the gravel at Parabolica on his last run, leaving him tenth.

Webber came close to beating Vettel’s time with his final lap, setting the fastest middle sector time, and was probably not inconvenienced too badly by Vergne going off in front of him, but had to settle for second. At any rate, Vettel found even more time with his final run to secure his fourth pole position of the year.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’23.755
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’23.968
3 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.065
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’24.132
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’24.142
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’24.192
7 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’24.209
8 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’24.502
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1’24.515
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’28.050

2013 Italian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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101 comments on “Vettel leads Red Bull one-two as Ferrari tactics fail”

  1. if im correct thats 2 years in a row ferrari have tried the same tactics in monza qualifying and its failed both times

    1. What’s the definition of insanity again? :)

      1. Last year when they tried it, it did work, Alonso towed massa & moved massa up a few spots.

        It didn’t work the other way round because Alonso’s rear anti roll-bar broke, had that not happened alonso would probably have gained the extra tenth or so that massa did when he got the tow.

        1. +1. It did work for Massa but Alonso had a mechanical failure without which he would have improved too.

          1. Yes, his mouth broke down.

        2. I am clueless why you think the towing worked out for Massa last year. Massa did 2 runs in Q3 back then, one with and one without towing, the latter was the faster lap.

    2. If my italian serves me right then I think Kimi could replace ALO – not sure how long they put up with him.

    3. Is there any possibility to Sack Kimi with immediate effect?
      Leclerc would be more useful for Ferrari in last 7 races.
      Kimi is simply trouble maker for Ferrari and third driver for Mercedes.
      Kimi broke in front of Vettel in Monza and that caused contact between Seb and brit.
      This is more than idiotic behaviour from this “ferrari” driver.

  2. lotus better start on the hard tyres and do a perez in sauber repeat.

    1. Yeah, P11 is a great spot for Kimi :)

  3. Massa said he had a tow from WEB in Q3.

    1. If my eyes served me right that was indeed the case ;-) and Webber was quicker than both of them so it was a perfect tow

  4. @andrewbensonf1:

    Oh dear. @therealdcf1 says an Italian journalist says Alonso said over the radio the team were “all stupid” for messing up the tow attempt

    interestingly, In 2006 Alonso got a penalty for that! :D

  5. Nico Hulkenberg is a great driver, such a shame no front runner picks him. If Ferrari fails to get Kimi they should get Hulkenberg not retain Massa.

    On Seb, congrats for his 40th pole. On Lewis, man, head up and fight. On Ferrari, that car was not built for Saturdays.

    1. It’s scary that if Sauber need two pay drivers next year Hulkenberg may be out of a drive. Something’s seriously wrong with the sport if one of its best young talents gets pushed out.

      1. That’s exactly what I’m afraid of too. Ferrari really need to sign this guy!

      2. That’s really sad. He deserves a shot.

      3. That’s what happened to him in 2010 after setting pole in Brazil – but I think this time there are enough people in the paddock to recognize his talent.

        1. Yeah, it was surprising he wasn’t given a seat for 2011, but I think many didn’t recognise just how good the guy is and may have considered his pole a one off fluke. After the last two seasons I think it’s undeniable that he’s a great driver deserving of a top car.

      4. David not Coulthard (@)
        7th September 2013, 15:33

        Something’s seriously wrong with the sport if one of its best young talents gets pushed out.

        + Frijns

      5. Is that how you feel about KOB and Frijns too?

  6. “Two of Sebastian Vettel’s closest championship rivals – Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – were knocked out in Q2”.
    Should have said Kimi Räikkonen instead for Fernando Alonso.

    1. @keithcollantine Yeah I too noticed that error……

  7. the rese of the season would be 2011-like.

  8. Nico Hulkenburg looking for a top drive since 2010……

  9. So this is it. Ferrari used strange tactic in order to fail on a race-day. It feels like Alonso gave up.
    Vettel is going to win tomorrow. Alonso would be 2nd at best. And don’t forget to mention the Incredible HULK. That was unexpected.
    Ferrari should stop working with this car and focus their attention on 2014. Hopefully, they will fail next season too.

  10. Not sure where the impression that Alonso is angry from.

    I had the pit lane feed open & heard all the radio comms & Fernando said ‘Felipe is too far now’, There was no Italian insults that I heard at any time.

    BBC said that Alonso walked into the interview pen & walked straght out refusing to give any interviews, yet he was interviewed on sky in the interview pen & seemed to be in a cheerful mood saying that things had gone well & he was in a good place for the race.

    1. I think the impression is coming from this:

      1. Did he REALLY just say that? Oh man… suddenly a Raikkonen-Massa reboot is looking so likely…

    2. It was a really disappointing comment – you would never hear Sebastian saying that.

      1. People (Sebastian included) say things they don’t mean in bad situations. I have no doubt Alonso would have apologized after that one!

        1. Perhaps some of our fellow Italian F1 Fanatics can enlighten us on how offensive, if at all, Alonso’s comment (“siete proprio scemi” – assuming that’s what he said) was? Can you help us @fixy? :P

          1. Litterally “scemi” means dumbs, referred to the pit crew that messed up with the “slipstream tactic”.

          2. @guilherme Sorry I couldn’t answer before, I had no connection.
            Clearly Alonso said “scemi” (=idiots) and not “geni” (=geniuses), as he later corrected, although he used a preposition which would be suited to the latter and wrong with the first (justifyable as Alonso isn’t Italian). The tone of his voice is upset and certainly not happy with the team’s tactics. He says: “So I should let him [Felipe?] pass? Wow, you’re idiots, really guys…”
            It’s strange as they both left the pits together with Massa already ahead. Perhaps Alonso said that whilst still in his pit, maybe he wanted to gout earlier than Massa. What’s sure is that Ferrari’s tactics weren’t wrong and Alonso used Massa to beat him by over three tenths at the start. In his second run Alonso lost contact with Massa by his own fault and as a result Massa overtook him, demonstrating how Massa had in fact helped Alonso.
            The slipstreaming idea was correct and I don’t know how Alonso thought it was a bad idea, and obviously he wasn’t going to lend his tow to Felipe, so obviously the Brazilian had to stay ahead. If he thought he was too much faster and that Massa would’ve slowed him down, he should’ve asked the team to tell Felipe to move aside at that point, on the back straight maybe, when his tow would’ve become useless. Massa was on used tyres at the time, he was clearly there not to set his own best time but to help Alonso, who did not reduce the gap to Massa by enough to overtake him.

      2. @vettel1 Oh come on. Im a Vettel fan, but hey you’re always there to promote and positivly compare him, even when he has nothing to do with it. It’s annoys the heck out of me.

        1. @me4me I know it’s heat of the moment and I understand that will exemplify his emotions, but honestly on the back of criticising his team and his past history I wouldn’t be surprised if that were sincere…

          1. @me4me I should also add that if it wasn’t cult popularity to criticise Vettel for breathing incorrectly then I wouldn’t feel the need to.

        2. Indeed, the constant glee from @vettel1 is very tiresome. Shouldn’t it be enough for him that his favorite driver will probably be a four-time WDC soon, way ahead of all current rivals in terms of career success? Is that kind of attitude surely necessary?

          1. MJ4 here’s a novel idea, don’t read my comments? Am I being offensive?

      3. Indeed, Seb is cool as a cucumber at all times.

      4. he wouldn’t dare !!!!!!!

      5. Yes we know you like Vettel.

        1. @eljueta good. So would it not therefore be within human interests to accept that?

          I shall stress: if Vettel weren’t so heavily opposed (for example, being a racing driver in Malaysia by overtaking Mark) and labelled “selfish” and “not a team player” completely without justification, I wouldn’t feel the need to defend him. Thank you.

          1. I accept that. I also like Vettel. Just boring to always bring him up when he doesn’t have anything to do with the subject. Justin Bieber would also never say anything like that (maybe?). Who gives a dong?

          2. @eljueta Justin Beiber wouldn’t because he’s not an F1 driver ;)

            I mentioned that because the subject cropped up on twitter actually.

      6. Yes. Seb would never tell that. Only call other drivers Cucumbers and visually imply that his team mate is insane :)

        1. @evered7 valid point on the cucumbers, but that’s not his team is it? ;) He crashed into him :)

          Don’t know what you mean on the latter though – Webber is much worse for bad mouthing his teammate.

          1. @vettel1 Talking about his action just after Turkey 2011. When he walks after the crash motioning that it is insane.

            The team will criticize the drivers if they don’t deliver. I think the vice-versa should also apply. Karthikeyan might have crashed into him ruining his race but the team here has ruined his qualifying because of this strategy.

          2. 2010 not 2011

          3. @evered7 I wouldn’t say they’ve ruined his qualifying, rather that they didn’t help his qualifying. I do agree however that the whole slipstreaming thing is just an unnecessary distraction.

          4. @vettel1 I think the whole point of Massa and Alonso going out together for Qualifying was for Alonso to gain an advantage through tow.

            It seems like the plan was screwed up during the critical part i.e. Q3. Kimi also yells many things into radio but somehow it is considered cool by some people.

          5. @evered7 it was, but it’d be an advantage which no other driver would have the luxury of receiving in the first place, so I wouldn’t say in that respect he was handicapped as such!

            I don’t like Kimi’s shouting on the radio either at the team – I don’t think that’s fair. Shouting at other drivers, possibly (although it’s still not very good).

          6. They aren’t robots though, so I don’t mind the occasional spat as that is what makes F1 from a character perspective exciting!

          7. As long as the second driver is OK with helping the lead driver, I don’t see a problem with that. Massa isn’t exactly setting the track alight with his performance either, might as well aid Alonso in his WDC bid.

            Alonso is more vocal than many other drivers on the grid and considering that Ferrari used to be a championship winning team which is currently stuck with perennial development issues, he is getting agitated that even the operation part of the team is getting worse.

            I also agree that they are human and I have seen worse things in Football to even suggest this would be an issue at Ferrari.

          8. @evered7

            As long as the second driver is OK with helping the lead driver, I don’t see a problem with that

            I wasn’t suggesting that, but now you mention it I partially agree: although I do agree there isn’t a problem if the driver accepts such willingly, I don’t think that is a circumstance that should arise in the first place as it implies that they definitely aren’t hiring the best, hungriest drivers available to them. That’s not good from a sporting perspective.

            I can understand Alonso’s frustrations also: the management of the team is clearly flawed as they are not maximising their resource, nor are they effectively correlating upgrades (which is a massive problem when you are competing against a team with the relentless capacity for improvement that Red Bull have in abundance).

            Alonso is probably safe but it is easy to tell the relationship is becoming precarious. He doesn’t seem very happy in the team.

          9. @vettel1 I think Alonso will be the last man on the firing list currently. I also think Monty will allow the team to continue for next year with Allison playing a critical role. But if they don’t see a WCC/WDC, I am sure someone will bite the dust.

            Also Massa is being shown compassion as he was with the team for a long time driving competitively and was involved in an accident while driving for the team. Massa also shows a rich vein of form at the end of every season leading to beliefs that he might start the next season on form. But somehow that doesn’t materialize.

            Still even if they hire Hulk, he wouldn’t be beating Alonso. Kimi might give him a close run and he is what Ferrari will hire next season, I hope.

            And yes RB seemingly are able to out develop other teams while also starting strong thus helping Vettel in his WDC bid.

        2. I will stress this also: nor do I expect anybody to like Vettel, that would be completely senseless. However, I do think drivers ought to respect their teams and we as fans ought to respect the drivers as long as they don’t do anything stupid.

          So, by all means comment on Vettel’s “cucumber” and by all means I’ll comment on Alonso’s “stupid” – I see no problem with that. Note how I never once said anybody should agree with my opinion, anybody should like Vettel or anything of the sort.

          Also note how I acknowledged that he made that comment in the heat of the moment.

  11. @keithcollantine: How come Vettel is shown as eliminated from Q1

    Drivers eliminated in Q1
    17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.226
    18 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’25.291
    19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’26.406
    20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’26.563
    21 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.085
    22 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault