High Attrition Helps Team Lotus
Italian Grand Prix
It was the final European race of the season, and as usual it took place at the famous Monza circuit in northern Italy. Virgin Racing brought in a massive upgrade to the rear of the car, and were anticipating to be closer to Team Lotus. Lotus themselves announced that Jarno Trulli would continue to drive for them in 2012, that makes the Italian the third driver to be confirmed for the new teams next year, alongside his team mate Heikki Kovalainen and Virgin’s Timo Glock.
After the rain in Spa, a sunny qualifying in Italy once again meant all six cars started at the back of the grid. On the back row, Daniel Ricciardo outqualified Vitantonio Lizzui for the first time. A row ahead, Timo Glock was narrowly ahead of his team mate Jerome D’Ambrosio, while only being four tenths off the Team Lotus cars in front. And Jarno Trulli was able to put his new power steering to good use by outqualifying Kovalainen for only the second time this season.
Any hope for a good race from the Hispania cars vanished almost immediately. While Ricciardo didn’t even get off the start line, Liuzzi had a far more dramatic first corner.
Going too quickly in the breaking zone, Liuzzi put a wheel on the grass to avoid contact with a Sauber. This sent his car into a slide across the grass, and slamming his car sideways into Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg, causing all three to retire. Rubens Barrichello and Kamui Kobayashi were also effected by the incident, with Barrichello being held up and Kobayashi losing his front wing.
The Safety Car was brought out and the chaotic start saw a massive change around in positions, Kovalainen was 12th, Trulli 13th and Glock 14th. D’Ambrosio hadn’t lasted much longer than the HRT’s, with gearbox problems ruining his race.
The end of the Safety Car saw the three remaining cars tumble back down the order, but not before Trulli was forced to pit after contact with Felipe Massa. Dropping him all the way down to 18th.
Daniel Ricciardo was able to come back out, but was never able to be in the classified times, Hispania basically using the race as a glorified test session.
The high attrition of the race meant that it was a good chance for a high finish from the new teams, and at the best, Kovalainen was up to 12th, but fell back down after he pitted, allowing Barrichello to jump him.
It took to the second pit stop for Jarno Trulli to be able to jump Timo Glock, and was able to extend a gap from the Virgin car. And it was Heikki Kovalainen who finished up in 13th, the third time Team Lotus have finished there this season. He was 30 seconds ahead of Trulli, who was 20 seconds ahead of Glock, all of whom had finished on the same lap. Daniel Ricciardo finished 14 laps down.
|1||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus||13th||10|
|2||Jarno Trulli||Team Lotus||14th||6|
|3||Timo Glock||Marussia Virgin||15th||4|
|5||Jerome D’Ambrosio||Marussia Virgin||Ret||0|
Heikki Kovalainen – Team Lotus (13th): “I had a great start, passing Jarno and then seeing the HRT coming into T1 in a pretty hardcore style so I avoided that and was then up into a good position early on. I managed to hold that place for a good number of laps and found the tyre degradation pretty easy to manage.”
Once again there are no changes, but Trulli’s lead at the top is now just three points. So while Vettel could take the full Drivers Championship by the next race, this one could go down to the wire. Timo Glock is edging his way ahead of his team mate, while no one else scored. Jerome D’Ambrosio’s record of ten races without a retirement sadly has come to an end.
|1||Jarno Trulli||Team Lotus||71|
|2||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus||68|
|3||Timo Glock||Marussia Virgin||56|
|4||Jerome D’Ambrosio||Marussia Virgin||49|
|8||Karun Chandhok||Team Lotus||2|
Oh would you look at that. Team Lotus are walking away with it.
And we’re off to Singapore for the final leg of this Formula 1 season. Tonio Liuzzi is badly affected, as he suffers a terrifying five place drop and a reprimand after his role in the first lap crash, which will badly affect his qualifying position.
Last year was of course where Kovalainen began moonlighting as a fire fighter, after his Team Lotus was set spectacularly ablaze towards the end of the race.
Virgin Racing are promising more updates to the car, so with any luck they should be closer to Team Lotus, and start having more decent races with them.