So, after that quotes-tastic end to this commentary I'll call it a day. A fantastic run from Rubens Barrichello, a return to form for Jenson Button, and an explosive finish from Lewis Hamilton. 'Then there were two' as far as the title race goes, I'd wager, but what
a cracking race Monza gave us once again.
That's the end of the European leg of the season, but the final four races of the campaign promise high-tension, incident and excitement so do not go anywhere. Next up is the Singapore Grand Prix - I'll be back in the commentary seat - and the night race is sure to get the pulse racing and no mistake. I'll see you then, but right now don't forget we have the F1 Forum
on the Red Button to bring you all the post-race chat and analysis. Before I go, though, I have to award my inaugural "quote of the day" to Adrian Sutil who, while being interviewed by Jake and the team on BBC One after the race, was flanked by a sizzling Italian beauty. Asked if he knew who the young lady was, the ice-cool German replied
"not yet". That, ladies and gentleman, is why he is our text commentary hero. Legend.
Lewis Hamilton on BBC One:
"Every lap I was pushing like a qualifying lap. It's to be expected. We didn't have the pace so we were pushing hard - I did all I could to catch the Brawns and win it. The car was still good today, just not good enough. I can only apologise to my team and all my fans. But we have some upgrades coming and hopefully they will help us have a little bit more."
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh on BBC One:
"Lewis was pushing to the end. That's how he is. Obviously there's great disappointment at losing third spot, but he was pushing to the end. He had a purple sector in the first score of that last lap and he was trying to catch Jenson - we can criticise him, that's what makes him the great racing driver that he is."
Fourth-placed Adrian Sutil on BBC One:
"I feel really good it was a great race for me and I really enjoyed it - even though it was a bit disappointing to be stuck behind the red car with kers for the whole race. I had a great start and we have got five points so we should all be happy."
More from race winner Rubens Barrichello:
"It is a winning year whatever happens. It's not long ago that we had no jobs, so we have to remember that. - the team have done a fantastic job. The strategy was great - the work on Friday was really good and that all helped us to get this result. I am going to give my very best, it's going to be a good and a healthy fight - I'm looking forward to it."
Kimi Raikkonen on BBC One:
"Third place was a little bit of a gift for us here but we need the points so it is great - it's nice to be on the podium it's much better than finishing fourth. It is frustrating to do everything you can do during the race and still finish so far back, but we need to keep going and get as many points as we can."
Jenson Button on BBC One:
"My lap times were good and I always felt I had good pace at the ends of my stints. Lewis started pushing at the end and the team were getting excited, but I think I had him covered - it's hard to pass here even with Kers. I don't know what happened to Lewis, if he made a mistake or had a failure. Obviously I'd rather be sat where Rubens is, but I have extended my lead over the Red Bulls. The man sat next to me here (Barrichello) is obviously my big rival for the title now. That's good, we get on great, but obviously we are both super competitive and want to win. It's just nice to be back on the podium."
Rubens Barrichello on BBC One:
"It feels great, I have no words. I had a tough night because we didn't know about the gearbox and there were some concerns. But we came though and I had a great first lap - that's what made my race. It felt great, amazing."
Brawn team boss Ross Brawn on BBC One:
"I think you could see Jenson Button was very tidy and it was Lewis Hamilton who was looking ragged. It's difficult to hold your nerve, but we had to keep at it and do what we normally do. As for the championship race, all I ask from my drivers now is they compete fairly and openly - everything has got to be on top of the table, they have got to work together fairly - they are old enough to deal with it!"
lordfunkymunky on 606:
"As much as people like to moan about the Brawn dominance this year, we still have to remember that this is a team that formed from the failure of a Honda team, and until the last minute looked like it wouldn't even be here this year. Astonishing."
Eko, Leeds, via text on 81111:
"There is no doubting Lewis Hamilton's talent but he makes too many errors to become a great of F1."
BulletMonkey on 606:
"Despite coming second, Button will surely take a lot from finally ending his barren run and, hopefully, scrape over the line for the world title. Not over yet of course, but he's still in a good position. It certainly looks now like his only rival is Barrichello - Vettel probably has too much to do at this point."
Joy unconfined for Rubens Barrichello at the top of the podium - his third career race victory at Monza - with Jenson Button affording himself a smile following his return to form and the podium - his first podium finish in six races. Worth bearing in mind, though, that Barrichello needed to take three points a race off Button before today if he is to pip his team-mate to the title - so in effect this wasn't quite enough in that regard. Not that he looks the least bit concerned at the moment of course! Kimi Raikkonen, on the third step, looks about as non-plussed and cool as ever, but then what did we expect?
Lewis Hamilton's crash is at least good news for Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who squeezes into the points as a result. Not that his drivers' championship charge is helped a great deal by that of course. Rubens Barrichello, meanwhile, closes the gap on Jenson Button at the top of the charts to 14 points. Adrian Sutil, Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen and Nick Heidfeld are the other point-scorers of the day, with Hamilton classified 12th as his crash came on the last lap.
Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio Five Live:
"I think Lewis will have learned a lesson here today, even Michael Schumacher never stopped learning sometime you have to just relax take it easy and bank the points - you really shouldn't be crashing out on the last lap - that sort of thing can make you look like a little bit of a fool."
What a dramatic finish, then! It was actually on the exit of the first Lesmo that Lewis Hamilton caught the kerb and went into the wall going into the second Lesmo. Completely oblivious to the carnage behind them, though, Rubens Barrichello leads Jenson Button home for a Brawn GP one-two. Kimi Raikkonen completes the podium.
RUBENS BARRICHELLO WINS THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX Lap 53:
LEWIS HAMILTON CRASHES OUT! The Briton, having just posted his fastest lap of race with a 1:24.8, spins into the wall at the second Lesmo and the McLaren's race is done with just a lap remaining. The safety car speeds out and that's your race order settled folks...
The battles are still on for second and fourth - just - with Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil continuing to pile the pressure on Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen respectively. Time is fast running out for either to make a move, though...
This is surely Rubens Barrichello's race win now, with the Brazilian leading Brawn team-mate Jenson Button by four seconds, with Lewis Hamilton still in third. Barrichello has also just set the fastest time of the day for the first sector - a right royal procession to the flag, this.
Jenson Button is told he needs "just a little more in each sector" if he wants to hold off Lewis Hamilton and close on race leader Rubens Barrichello. And the British Brawn driver is doing just that as we speak... Further back, Sebastian Buemi gets a shove off a Toyota, before further down the lap Jarno Trulli spins off under pressure from... yep, team-mate Timo Glock. How fun.
Lewis Hamilton is just over 1.5 seconds behind Jenson Button now, but the Brawn GP driver looks up to his British compatriot's pace now and the McLaren might just struggle to get close enough to Kers power-boost his way past. Less than six seconds separates the top three, by the way, with Raikkonen and Sutil 14 seconds back. That's your podium folks bar incident, but in what order?
"Use the overtake button if you need it, use the overtake button if you need it," Force India's race engineer tells Adrian Sutil. The German continues to probe Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, but the Finn is holding his nerve at the moment. Giancarlo Fisichella, back in 14th, is urged by race engineer Rob Smedley to put a shift in and close on the points places with those in between struggling to find grip.
Force India's Adrian Sutil is crawling all over the back of Kimi Raikkonen like a cheap suit, and Ferrari's pit men look on anxiously as the German threatens their fourth spot. Sebastian Vettel slides off at Parabolica, meanwhile, and the Red Bull's hopes of closing the gap on the Brawns in the drivers' championship are fading faster than a Big Brother contestant's 15 minutes of fame.
Lewis Hamilton is going around 0.4 seconds a lap faster than Jenson Button and closing the Brawn GP with every passing minute. He is now just 2.7 second behind, and that will be music to the ears of Rubens Barrichello who would love his team-mate to get involved in a battle with the McLaren. The Brawns' title rival Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, just doesn't have the pace to hold on to eighth spot from Nick Heidfeld and the BMW passes him to push the Red Bull driver out of the points places.
Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live:
"I think something else might have gone wrong with Kimi Raikkonen's pit stop - did enough fuel go in? I would like to see that again."
Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil pit at the same time - and both have problems. The Ferrari looks like he stalls before getting away, but further up the pit lane Sutil knocks out a couple of pit men as he misses his mark. The pair emerge as they were - Raikkonen from Sutil - and that's a trick missed by Force India's driver because Raikkonen looked there for the taking after that pit error.
Adrian Sutil, in second, posts the quickest lap of the race with a 1:24.739 but he still can't pass Kimi Raikkonen at the front. The Force India crew might have to rely on their pit-stop to overcome Ferrari's current race leader. Behind that pair, Rubens Barrichello leads team-mate Jenson Button by 5.1 seconds, who in turn is 3.4 second ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Kazuki Nakajima and Jarno Trulli finally pit for the first time in the race, and they will struggle to point in their respective Williams and Toyota now.
That's Lewis Hamilton's race hopes done you would think. He pits a lot earlier than we thought and despite a short stop of 7.1 seconds he re-emerges behind the Brawns. His only hope is to get close enough to Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button that his Kers button will come into use. It's an order taller than Peter Crouch on a ladder, but you never know...
Fastest lap of the race from Lewis Hamilton with a 1:24.869 and his lead over the Brawns is 16 seconds. Jenson Button is now five seconds off team-mate Rubens Barrichello - is he just not 'feeling' the prime tyres?
Lewis Hamilton, now the race leader but with an additional stop to make, is lapping around the low 1:25s and he tells the pits the balance is good and he wants to stay on the primes. However, he needs to pick up around 10 seconds on the Brawns in five or so laps if he is to win this, and call me a doubting Darren but I can't see him doing it. Rubens Barrichello favourite now.
Vitantonio Liuzzi on BBC Radio 5 Live:
"We had a problem with the gearbox or transmission - it was a problem with the car so unfortunately it was just like that."
Rubens Barrichello is the last of the top five to pit and it's half a second faster than Jenson's - conspiracy theorists relax. The Brazilian is now on the softs, with his British team-mate on the hards until the end of the race. We'll only really know the genuine mix up the front once Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil pit for a second time, but it's looking pretty darn good for Ross Brawn's pairing, it really is.
Robert Kubica on BBC Radio 5 Live:
"I managed to overtake Vettel with the broken wing but the pace wasn't great - then I had to come in for safety and then a few laps later we had an oil leak so I had to retire It's been difficult this weekend, not just for this race, but for the rest of the season I now have one engine left for four races so it's a difficult situation."
Jenson Button is the first of the Brawns to blink - he comes in and it's a near-perfect 9.1-second stop and he emerges in totally clear air. Happy days.
New fastest lap of the race from Rubens Barrichello - a 1:24.999 - and Jenson Button is just about hanging on to his coat tails as the Brawns' lead over Lewis Hamilton extends to 12 seconds. Heikki Kovalainen pits.
Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live:
"I want to congratulate Vitantonio Liuzzi he has recovered some confidence in the reserve driver market - which we needed after the Luca Badoer debacle. He has stepped straight into the car and fuel corrected he has been as quick as his team-mate. Really well done."
Fernando Alonso comes in from sixth place - he'll run on the prime tyres until the end of the race.
Nico Rosberg continues to trail the pack in 16th place, with the likes of Toyota's Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli, Ferrari's Giancarlo Fisichella and BMW's Nick Heidfeld pushing to get into the points places. Sebastian Vettel is currently hanging on to the point-scoring eighth place with a 4.3-second advantage over Heidfeld.
McLaren tell Lewis Hamilton he needs "another 0.3-0.4 seconds a lap" if he is to catch the Brawns at the front - a big ask. Disaster further back for Force India debutant Vitantonio Liuzzi as something goes awry down the second chicane - it could be clutch, says Martin Brundle - and he is the fourth retiree of the race from fourth place. Massive shame for the Italian, who had very much been impressing to that point.
The Brawns are flying - Rubens Barrichello leads from Jenson Button and those two are nearly 10 seconds ahead of third-placed Lewis Hamilton. They are are lapping around 0.5 second a lap faster than the McLaren at the moment and this is where the one-stop strategy could well prove decisive.
Jaime Alguersuari makes it three retirements. BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz
reveals Ferrari are all too aware of Force India's pace - they have fuelled Kimi Raikkonen a lap shorter than planned in reaction to Force India doing the same a couple of laps ago with Sutil. That could be a real battle later on.
Kimi Raikkonen is the last of the two-stoppers near the front to come in and he slots back in behind Vitantonio Liuzzi and Lewis Hamilton but ahead of Adrian Sutil. Stalemate.
Mark Webber on BBC Radio 5 Live:
"It looked like a racing incident with Robert Kubica at the start - he was inside my left wheel and I couldn't see him, there was contact and It flicked me up in the air a bit, the car wasn't that damaged but I just couldn't get out of there. It gives it a blow for sure I haven't had any points in the last three races it's my first DNF of the season - I am going to struggle if I am not scoring points - but I have had a good little run at the championship - but we have to keep going it's been a difficult weekend for us - and it's going to be a difficult rest of the race for Seb(astian Vettel)."
Adrian Sutil pits from second place and he is back out behind Fernando Alonso, but ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen - the Force India might be happy with that. Jenson Button is starting to put the fast laps in as the title race front-runner goes into the mid 1:25s - he is now third behind race leader Kimi Raikkonen and Brawn team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live:
"It has been touch and go here this weekend about what tyre to go on the softer compound or the harder 'prime' tyre - but it seems to be becoming apparent that the prime is the one to be on."
In comes Lewis Hamilton at the end of lap 15 - it's a smooth stop and he re-emerges in front of Vitantonio Liuzzi in fifth. That's a lap or two earlier than we expected, that's down to graining apparently. Robert Kubica, meanwhile, has turned into the pits from 18th and turned his engine off! That's the second retirement of the race - is he saving engines?
A new fastest lap from Lewis Hamilton - a 1:25.017 - and his lead from Kimi Raikkonen is 6.8. Force India's Adrian Sutil continues to breathe down the Ferrari's neck, but the top three are all on two-stop strategies don't forget. Rubens Barrichello leads the charge of the two-stoppers, but he is 17 seconds off Hamilton at the front. Jenson Button, in turn, is 20.5 seconds off the front.
Talking of debutants, Giancarlo Fisichella has taken his Ferrari up to 11th from 14th on the grid - he'll be looking to get into the points. Lewis Hamilton reports the balance of his McLaren is "fine" but he is getting a bit of oversteering. He'll be switching to the prime tyres at his first stop.
Personal best lap from Jenson Button - a 1:26.1 - but that's still way off Lewis Hamilton's pace up front. The Brawns are fourth and fifth as it stands and 14 seconds off Hamilton, with Adrian Sutil pressuring Kimi Raikkonen for second place. Sutil's Force India team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi holding off Renault's Fernando Alonso down in sixth, by the way - the debutant continues to impress.
Robert Kubica comes in - it's a 10-second stop - and that should free up Sebastian Vettel to put in a bit of a charge on the points-places in his Red Bull, the German is now ninth.
Jenson Button is told to pick up his pace - he needs to be "within 0.9 seconds a lap" of Lewis Hamilton if his one-stop strategy is to pay dividends, his Brawn team say. Robert Kubica will have to come in and change that front wing - he is black-and-orange flagged by the marshalls. Lewis Hamilton posts another fastest lap - a 1:25.219, his lead now 4.2 seconds.
Another fastest lap from Lewis Hamilton, the Briton dancing around Monza at a sensational pace in his McLaren. His lead is up to 3.5 seconds already, but I reckon he'll want that up to 15 seconds and more by the time he pits at around lap 16.
Heikki Kovalainen, fuelled heavily, is passed by Fernando Alonso going into the first chicane - is he signing away his McLaren seat for next season as we speak? Nico Rosberg pits in his Williams, meanwhile, and it's a long ol' stop - a difficult afternoon for him nears impossible ranks. Robert Kubica, meanwhile, is going to continue even despite that front wing problem, "let it fall off if you have to" the pits have apparently told him. TV replays suggest it was the Pole who took out Mark Webber on the second chicane on that first lap.
Problems for Red Bull - Sebastian Vettel almost goes off at Ascari as he fights with the balance of his car, they are really struggling. BMW's Robert Kubica has a damaged front-wing end plate on the left-hand side, apparently, sustained as he stormed his way through the pack up to ninth. BMW were tipped to do well, here, before the engine problems of qualifying lest we forget. Lewis Hamilton posts the fastest lap with a 1:26.5, while Vitantonio Liuzzi is up to sixth.
Lewis Hamilton hangs on to his lead by a gnat's eyelash ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, with the Ferrari storming past Adrian Sutil into second. Great start from Rubens Barrichello, the Brawn GP driver already up to fourth, while Jenson Button dances past Heikki Kovalainen who is dropping down the pack at an alarming rate. MARK WEBBER IS OUT!
The warm-up lap is under way, moments to go until the start. Are you ready? I have a feeling the first corner could be explosive...
Five minutes to go, so I am going to stick my neck on the line and give you my podium prediction. I'm going Hamilton-Raikkonen-Button. So if you have any sense at all, avoid that bet at all costs and put the money towards something nice for your mum. Nice.
Anon via text on 81111:
"35 points in 5 races will do for Button. Go Jenson!"
Just time before the race action starts for you all to have a scan at two highly recommended items (even if I do say so myself). Our outline of the
highs and lows of the Monza track
tells you all you need to know about one of F1's true beauties, while former driver and current F1 pundit David Coulthard gives us
his thoughts ahead of the race.
"Red Bull are realists and they know that with more than 20 points to pull back with only 50 available it is a long shot," says the Scot.
Adrian Sutil on BBC One:
"I will have to defend myself from the Kers cars quite vigorously - my strategy will be ruined if they all get past me."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter:
"Ted Kravitz tells me Jaime Alguersuari will start from the pit lane as Toro Rosso have made some last-minute performance changes. He was 20th anyway."
VillaFour on 606:
"Really can't see any of the two-stoppers winning today. For that strategy to work they have to be flat out for every lap and hope that when their pit stops come around, they manage to appear in space. It's just too much to ask for. Kovalainen for the win."
Bernie Ecclestone insists he is "not worried" about 'crashgate' on BBC One, adding "it will all sort itself out one way or another at the hearing". That takes place a week on Monday. Anyway, I'll let you get on with the Renault chat
if that's OK - good work all round on that, I must say. On to less sordid, and unarguably less interesting, "news" - is that right Lewis Hamilton has split up with that Pussycat Doll girl? That's what the Sunday Mirror says. Ber-limey. Who will the hoardes of cameramen stare and point at in the paddocks now?
Paul, Farnborough via text on 81111:
"If the proposed championship format had been introduced this season the title race would have been over in July and nobody would be interested. Surely its about consistency over the season not six early-season wins! Is the 'winner takes all' format still on the table for next season?"
Now then, let's have a quick and possibly painful look at the latest controversy to engulf Formula 1 -
Renault and "crashgate".
If I may refer you to our colleague
Martin Brundle's cracking look at the ins, outs and shake-it-all-abouts in his Times article.
To quote the big man: "Coming on top of the spying, lying and sexual shenanigans of the past two years, it's the last thing the sport needs... Talking with a group of eminent people, Niki Lauda asked: "Do you think it was an intentional crash?" I instinctively replied: "Yes." He said: "I agree completely." So that's our guess for what it's worth." Is there another sport in the world that shoots itself in the foot quite as often as Formula 1?
Hywel via text on 81111:
"I hope Kimi wins today, after plenty of criticism this season i think he deserves to revel in the glory of a ferrari win at Monza."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza:
"It is hard to avoid the sense of history looming large at Monza. The track was built by motor racing enthusiasts in 1922 and
has been home to the Italian Grand Prix since the F1 world championship began 60 years ago
- with the exception of 1980 when the race moved to Imola.
"An absolute must for any first time visitor to Monza is to plot your way through the trees in search of the abandoned oval circuit. The high-banked track was added in 1955 but abandoned just six years later because too many drivers wondered just how safe it was to hurtle round the ludicrously steep sides at ludircrously high speeds. I managed to find a stretch of the oval just before the entrance to the Ascari Chicane and it was so amazing to take in a relic of the past. Whilst I stood, half tipping over, two road cars trundled along the bottom curve of the banking, but on foot or by car it just seems impossible to really get a sense of what it was like for the drivers to plummet round there heart-in-mouth."
Koyomi on 606:
"I think it'll be either Barrichello or Sutil for the win, but Kimi could spring a surprise from 3rd with his Kers."
Jon via text on 81111:
"I'm probably not the first to suggest this but maybe If Fisichella had stayed at Force India he probably would have been on pole for his home GP?"
So, a massive day for so many reasons and so many drivers. Jenson Button will be hoping to reignite his drivers' championship charge with a first podium finish in 84 days - his title lead is now down to 16 points - while his realistic challengers, Rubens Barrichello, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be aiming to eat further into his points advantage. Giancarlo Fisichella and Vitantonio Liuzzi - who endured/enjoyed (delete as applicable) will be hoping to impress on their debuts for Ferrari and Force India respectively. Ferrari will want to put on a show for their home fans the tifosi, while McLaren's recent resurgence can only be described as Lazarus-esque. And what about Renault? I'd wager they will be quite happy to get back to racing after this week's shenanigans huh? More on that later...
Pete, Worthing, via text on 81111:
"We quite often get good qualifying but the potential of the race doesn't live up to expectation through first corner incidents and rookie drivers - let's hope this one manages to."
bobbajobby on 606:
"Watch out for Raikkonen - he's driving like a man possessed these days and is getting better at using his kers! Another podium for him I reckon."
If you can't see the TV pictures above, give this page a cheeky refresh why don't you. And while you do that, consider this: The last time two Britons topped the podium was the Austrian Grand Prix in 1999, when Eddie Irvine finished first and David Coulthard second. A repeat on the 10-year anniversary would be nice - as Anon via text points out below. By the way, don't be shy folks, put your names on your text. Unless you're skiving off work and deliberately want to remain anon obviously. Your secret's safe with me.
Cricketing_stargazer on 606:
"Rubens Barrichello is taking a massive risk but, he is right that it is his only chance of a podium finish and keeping the battle (just about) open."
Anon via text on 81111:
"When was the last time we had a Brit one and two? It would be great to see a Lewis and Jensen one-two on the podium today wouldn't it?"
huhuhuguyz on 606:
"Re: Anon via text - I watched the qualifying again this morning and there is nothing in this world to ever suggest Lewis did block Buemi. Even if it was so, there was nothing intentional or deliberate about it."
A quick weather update for you, then, with our TV coverage just over 10 minutes away - it is bright and beautiful at the moment, and that is
how it is forecast to stay.
However, talk prior to the weekend was of the threat of rain, and word reaches me that weather forecasters are not always right. Is that true? Only I watched a documentary the other day called "Back to the Future II" and in it Doc Emmett Brown could predict the end of rain to the second. Strange.
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza:
"The Kers system - which gives drivers an extra 80bhp boost of power for around seven seconds per lap - is expected to be a huge advantage to the McLaren, Ferraris and Renault cars, who all have the battery pack installed this weekend. Mercedes have produced what is believed to be the best system in F1 this year and their motorsport chief Norbert Haug says Kers should give pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen an advantage of three tenths of a second per lap and 15m in distance gain during the race. But despite the racing intrigue Kers provides, Haug says it isn't the right thing to retain Kers in next season's cost-cutting environment."
Wrex_PCR on 606:
"Can't see Button overtaking Barichello... but I do have a sneaking suspicion that Ruben's gearbox might not make it to the end - he's not had the best of luck this year."
Anon via text on 81111:
"Am I the only one who thinks Hamilton should have been penalised for blocking Sebastian Buemi's lap in qualifying? Fair play the Toro Rosso probably wouldn't have gone any faster, but who knows?"
News overnight by the way, that Rubens Barrichello has refused to change the charred gearbox in his Brawn so as not to incur a five-place penalty on the grid. The Brazilian believes his best hope of victory or a podium place is to chance his arm on the gearbox surviving the race - conspiracy theorists might suggest Brawn GP bosses wouldn't be too
unhappy if said gearbox failed during the race meaning they can concentrate on Jenson Button's title bid for the remainder of the season. Any of you in this camp?
Tenordrumman on 606:
"I'm relishing the thought of watching this race. Lewis looks to back to his best and must be favourite to win, I expect Kovi to be up there with him as well."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Monza:
"Are you ready to say arrivederci to the European leg of the season? You probably could not ask for a finer farewell than by racing at two classic venues; first Spa and now Monza. It is incredibly busy here at the royal park circuit. Home boys Ferrari have a lot of guests in the inner sanctum of the paddock while the tifosi are thronged amongst the woods and rickety metal grandstands. The sun is shining and with plenty of shuffling expected off the start all the signs point to a cracking race. If you believe in omens then today the 13th race of the year will be run on Sunday 13th - but, fear not, there has never been a number 13 car used in Formula 1."
Czar-Orac on 606:
"I'll go for Rubens too. Assuming the Brawn team don't find another excuse to hinder him... They'll probably switch him to a nine-stopper while he's in the lead."
So here's what I want you good people to do - I want you to send me your missives in your thousands via text on 81111
or over on
and let's see if we can't just cobble together the correct podium placing ahead of time. It's a bit like "magician" Derren Brown's means of predicting lottery numbers, only not fake and not done with an annoyingly smug grin on the bed of a rubbish goatee.
Lewis Hamilton might have produced a stunning late lap to snatch pole position yesterday, but a look at
our fuel-adjusted grid
reveals McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen was actually the fastest man in qualifying, with the Brawn GPs of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button bang in the mix. A mere 0.073 seconds separated the top four drivers yesterday, in fact, and that did not include Force India's Adrian Sutil, the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen or either Red Bull. And, as if that didn't provide intrigue enough, seven of the top 10 drivers appear to be on a one-stop strategy, with Hamilton, Sutil and Raikkonen on a two-stopper. Potential carnage.
F1 mole is tipping Jenson Button,
F1 commentator Jonathan Legard
foresees a Kers-boosted lock-out of the top three,
and I threw the names in a hat and picked out text commentary darling Adrian Sutil. Today's Italian Grand Prix could just be the closest fought race of the season yet, and predicting a definite winner looks more troublesome than a four-year-old after too much fizzy pop. Anyone dipped their toe in at the bookies today?