Red Bullhad a grand prix to forget today in Monza after Sebastian Vettel suffered the same alternator failure that denied him a win back in Valencia in June, and Mark Webber was also forced to retire with badly flat-spotted tyres in the closing laps.
Vettel was also handed a drive-through penalty earlier in the race for forcing Fernando Alonso off the track around Curve Grande. After such a frustrating afternoon, the double world champion is now looking ahead, optimistically, to the next couple of races.
“I found out I had a problem roughly 300 metres before I stopped the car,” said Vettel, recalling how his race ended. “It was an alternator problem, similar to the one we had yesterday morning. The drive-through incident was decided and happened, so there’s not so much to say about that.
“We lost some points today; but we did the best we could – you could see that our pace was not as strong as the leaders. It had been a good race for us given the lack of pace. There are not so many long straights at the next couple of circuits, so we can challenge there.”
Webber explained the problem with his tyres that caused him to drop out of the points positions and then retire:
“Towards the end of the race, I had no rear tyres left and I was pushing reasonably hard,” said the Australian. “Nico (Rosberg) was coming on his fresh two-stop tyres, so I had to keep pushing and staying on it – for the sake of getting a couple of points, maybe I shouldn’t have pushed as hard, but I was trying to stay on it.
“The rear tyres were completely finished, so I dropped it out of the Ascari chicane; I managed to keep it off the wall, but then the tyres were so heavily flat-spotted, I was worried about damaging the car. We do 330 km/h round here, I couldn’t see the track, so we decided to retire.”
Team principal Christian Horner summarised the feeling within the team, and also explained the various problems affecting the drivers.
“A hugely disappointing race – our first non-points scoring race since Korea 2010,” was his evaluation. “It was a repeat failure on Sebastian’s car with the alternator and we need to look into it and work with Renault to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It’s already cost us a victory in Valencia and now a points-finish again here in Monza. It’s important we address it for the remaining seven races.
“For Mark, it was a tough race. Unfortunately he just ran out of tyres near the end of the race and the resulting flat spots that came from the high-speed spin put an awful lot of vibration in the car. Rather than risk a failure, we chose to retire the car.”