Fernando Alonso seals home victory for Ferrari at Monza
MONZA – Fernando Alonso stormed to victory at the Italian Grand Prix in Ferrari’s home race as championship rival Lewis Hamilton retired after a collision with Alonso’s team-mate.
The Tifosi waited four years to see another Ferrari victory at Monza, and Alonso delivered the result in his first year with the Italian team, having taken pole on Saturday.
For Hamilton, it is a stark reminder that erring on the side of caution is not always a bad thing in this sport, as Felipe Massa went on to secure third place in a huge weekend for Ferrari in front of their dedicated fans.
Hamilton had already gained a place before clouting Massa, and could have at least gone on to secure fourth, and a potential twelve points, however, with Mark Webber finishing sixth for Red Bull, the Aussie again leads the world championship, which is worrying for the Brit, with favourable Red Bull circuits ahead.
Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button also boosted his championship chances by splitting the Ferrari pair, and led the race from the start until his pit stop on lap 36 with Sebastian Vettel taking fourth for Red Bull despite an issue with brakes.
The reigning world champion led from the opening lap, taking Alonso before the first chicane, but was never able to build a lead of more than a second, giving Ferrari the perfect opportunity to jump the McLaren during the sole pit stop, and that’s just what happened with 0.8 seconds in Alonso’s favour, as McLaren later confirmed that the Ferrari would have got ahead eventually as they had the quicker car and Button struggled to find grip with the new tyres.
With Hamilton out of the picture, and the F10 more than a match for Button’s MP4-25, victory was all but assured, and as the Spaniard took the chequered flag in Monza for the second time in his career-the last time in 2007 for McLaren-the grandstands went wild, before the inevitable storming of the circuit following the parade lap.
The circuit invasion is rarely seen in Formula 1 these days, but the Italians don’t do things by half – and the pride oozing from Ferrari, Alonso, and the Italian fans will be felt in the weeks to come as the season reaches its climax.
Speaking about his victory after the race, Alonso said: “I can only compare those scenes with my Spanish Grand Prix victory of 2006. It’s a very special, really emotional win.
“When I joined Ferrari I never imagined a day so good. As I’ve said at times this year, the integration into the team has been fantastic.
“The welcome by all the team, the Italian fans has been better than I ever dreamed.
“This podium in Monza, with all the people supporting Ferrari, all those fans with the Ferrari flags was a good feeling for me – a good shock.”
Nico Rosberg managed to split the Red Bulls for Mercedes, while fellow Germans Nico HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg and Michael Schumacher finished seventh and ninth respectively.
Robert Kubica continued Renault’s good run of form with eighth, following his podium at Spa, while Williams’ Rubens Barrichello rounded out the top 10 with another solid display.
The top five drivers are now separated by just 24 points with four races remaining as F1 faces one of its most open world championships for over a decade. And while some of the circuits may favour Red Bull, the McLarens and Alonso will almost always be quicker off the line.