Lewis Hamilton was victorious in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Hamilton claimed his third victory of the season with a charging Sergio Perez coming home in second following a stunning drive.
World Championship leader Fernando Alonso was third following a great drive from 10th position on the grid. Alonso benefited from his closest title rival Sebastian Vettel being penalised for forcing him off the road as they battled for position during the middle stages of the race. Vettel would later retire with a mechanical failure. The result means that Alonso actually stretched his championship lead to 37 points despite not having won.
For much of the race it looked like an easy one-two was on the way for McLaren. Early on that was not the case, after Felipe Massa made a great start to pass Jenson Button for second and then pressured Hamilton into the first chicane. Hamilton defended the inside and then pulled away from Massa during the opening laps. Button would drop back from Massa and then started to attack towards the end of the first stint. He eventually overtook the Ferrari for second just before their pitstops.
McLaren’s dreams of a one-two were dashed when Button was forced to park his McLaren on the approach to the Parabolica. Radio transmissions from the team stated that the issue was believed to be a fuel pressure problem.
That put Massa back up to second, but Alonso was chasing him and looked to have more grip available than his team-mate as the race progressed. The championship leader had gained two places off the start, before overtaking Kamui Kobayashi and Kimi Raikkonen in quick succession. Alonso did have some problems getting by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, though both were eventually left trailing the Ferrari. It was whilst Alonso was trying to pass Vettel that one of the bigger controversies of the race occurred. With Alonso attempting to go around the outside of Vettel at the Curva Grande, it appeared Vettel squeezed the Ferrari driver off the road. Alonso was screaming down his radio after the incident. Soon after Vettel was handed a drive through penalty. When Alonso caught up to Massa, his team-mate didn’t provide much of a fight.
Despite an eventful afternoon, Vettel still looked set for sixth until he was ordered to stop his car due to a developing technical problem five laps from home.
Unlike all the frontrunners, Perez had started on the hard tyres, allowng him to run until lap 29 before his first pitstop. He rejoined in sixth having benefited from Vettel and Button’s issues, and then started lapping 1.5 seconds faster than the hard-shod leaders as he thrived on the medium rubber. He looked to be on for a shock result as he passed Massa and Alonso easily. He then set about catching Hamilton and was still taking a second to a second and a half per lap out of the McLaren. It did appear that Hamilton may have had enough in hand to defend his position as he picked up the pace following a well-timed radio call to advise him of Perez’s advances. The Mexican would ran out of time to catch the McLaren, but still claimed his third podium of an excellent season.
Alonso and Massa finished third and fourth, ahead of Raikkonen’s Lotus, which held off two-stopping Mercedes duo Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Raikkonen’s one stop strategy was remarkable given how early he made his first stop.
Rosberg had a great race to finish seventh after a terrible first stint. His team-mate Michael Schumacher had looked to have some pace but struggled as well towards the end of the first stint prior to recovering his pace during the second stint. In a weekend where his future was once again one of the major topics of conversation, he’ll have been satisfied to once again beat his younger team-mate.
Mark Webber recovered from a slow start to get into the top six, however his good work counted for nothing as he went on to spin his Red Bull out of the Ascari chicane in the final laps and then retired.
Force India’s Paul di Resta took eighth. The Force India driver was lucky to escape punishment for his defence of an attempted pass from Bruno Senna. His team-mate Nico Hulkenberg had charged through from the back of the grid to look like a points challenger prior to having a late mechanical problem.
Kamui Kobayashi in the second Sauber and Bruno Senna’s Williams completed the points-scorers after a last-lap problem for Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo’s team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne retired in dramatic style with an apparent suspension breakage approaching the Rettifilo. His car became airborne after hitting one of the inside kerbs at speed. Luckily for Vergne he escaped with nothing more than a sore back.
The championship moves to Singapore next. The Italian race marked the last race in Europe this season. Fernando Alonso will be doing everything he can to defend his 37 point lead
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS
The Italian Grand Prix
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h19:41.221
2. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 4.356
3. Alonso Ferrari + 20.594
4. Massa Ferrari + 29.667
5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 30.881
6. Schumacher Mercedes + 31.259
7. Rosberg Mercedes + 33.550
8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 41.057
9. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 43.898
10. Senna Williams-Renault + 48.144
11. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 48.682
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 50.316
13. d’Ambrosio Lotus-Renault + 1:15.861
14. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
15. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
16. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
17. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 2 laps
21. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 3 laps
22. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 6 laps
Fastest lap: Rosberg, 1:27.239
Driver Team On lap
Button McLaren-Mercedes 32
Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8