Red Bull Racing experienced its worst race result for almost two years as both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber failed to finish the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Tue 11.09.12, 3:03PM
Up until yesterday the team hadn’t recorded a double DNF since the Korean Grand Prix of October 2010, but the team left Monza with no points today after Vettel’s race was ended by an electrical problem and Mark Weber spun out with just a few laps to go.
Vettel’s race began well, with the defending champion picking a place at the start and holding fourth throughout his first stint on medium tyres. However, after his single stop he became embroiled in a tussle for position with a hard-charging Fernando Alonso. Under pressure from the Ferrari driver, Vettel took a tough line through the Curva Grande with the result that Alonso went off track. The stewards investigated and the German was handed a drive-through penalty for “forcing another driver off track”.
Having taken his penalty, Vettel emerged in ninth behind team-mate Mark Webber. He passed the Australian and the pair attempted to salvage something from the race rising to sixth and seventh by lap 47.
And then it all began to go wrong. Vettel suddenly and pulled off track at turn one, his race ended by an alternator problem – the same technical failure that had caused him to stop late in FP3 on Saturday.
“The first I knew about it was roughly 300 metres before I stopped the car; it was an alternator problem, similar to yesterday morning,” said Vettel. “I think we lost some points, we didn’t finish, and that doesn’t help. All in all, we were more or less where we deserved to be, so I think we did the best we could [before the problem] but the pace was not as strong as the leaders.
“However, there are not so many straight lines at the next couple of races, so we shouldn’t lose that much [to our rivals].”
Worse was to come. With only two laps to go until the finish Webber spun out from seventh and two laps later limped back to the garage to retire.
“At the end I had absolutely no rear tyres left. I was pushing reasonably hard as Nico [Rosberg] was coming at me on his fresh two-stop tyres, so I had to keep pushing,” Webber said. “For the sake of a couple of points, maybe I shouldn’t have pushed so hard, but I wanted to stay on it. The rear tyres were finished though. I dropped it out of Ascari, but I managed to keep it out of the wall.
“After that the tyres were badly flat-spotted I though it best to retire because I was worried about damaging the car,” he added. “When you do 300km/h around here I couldn't even see the track, so might as well retire.
“It was a poor day for us as a team,” he concluded. “We put ourselves right on the back foot today with probably the worst start since Melbourne. So we have to look at that. Most of the stint I spent trying to get myself back into it and it wasn’t looking ridiculous but we were exposed at the end, and that was that.”