Race - Alonso back in title hunt after Monza win 12 Sep 2010
For 36 of the 53 laps at Monza on Sunday a silver car led the reds of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, but when McLarens Jenson Button ducked into the pits then it was Ferraris Alonso who led from Massa until he stopped on Lap 37. When he resumed, Alonso just made it to the first chicane ahead of Button, and thereafter there was never any question about who would win.
While the McLaren was ahead the gap between Button and Alonso fluctuated between 0.5s and 1.6s, but once the Spaniard got in front he opened it to as much as 4.0s before finishing 2.9s ahead. Massa was another 1.2s adrift, on a day when the Scuderia moved firmly back into contention for the drivers world championship.
It was a disastrous day for Lewis Hamilton in the other McLaren, who jumped to fourth as Mark Webbers Red Bull again started slowly, but at the second chicane Massas left rear wheel came into contact with Hamiltons front right, and by the first Lesmo the McLaren driver was in the gravel, his day done.
It also seemed like being a bad day for Sebastian Vettel as a brake problem momentarily dropped him behind Red Bull team mate Webber, from fifth to sixth. But a very clever bit of strategy from the Milton Keynes team saw them keep their man out until the 52nd lap before he finally made his mandatory tyre stop.
By then his long run had taken him ahead of fast-starting Nico Rosberg whod held fourth for most of the race for Mercedes GP. Vettel got out of the pits ahead of the silver arrow, which had Webber on its tail after the Australian had doggedly fought by Williams Nico Hulkenberg. The young German made a mistake on the 49th lap, blocked Webber enough to provoke an angry gesture from the latter, then Mark made a move stick a lap later.
Webber now leads the world championship again with 187 points to Hamiltons 182, but Alonsos great drive vaults him to third on 166, just ahead of Button on 165 and Vettel on 163. Red Bull have 350 points to McLarens 347 and Ferraris 290.
It was a tense rather than thrilling race, but the scrap for the lower points places was always entertaining. Hulkenberg chased fifth-placed Robert Kubica for much of the race and jumped the Renault in the pit stops, but the Williams driver dropped back to seventh after Webbers successful attack. Kubica took eighth, with Mercedes GPs Michael Schumacher a distant ninth ahead of Rubens Barrichello in the second Williams.
Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi just headed Force Indias Tonio Liuzzi over the line for 11th, with Renaults Vitaly Petrov benefiting from a very late pit stop to take 13th ahead of BMW Saubers Pedro de la Rosa. Toro Rossos Jaime Alguersauri was 15th after a drive-through penalty for missing a chicane, while Force Indias Adrian Sutil fought up to 16th after contact on the opening lap sent him into the pits.
Timo Glock won the new teams race for Virgin after Jarno Trullis Lotus blew up late in the race, from Heikki Kovalainen in the other T127 and Sakon Yamamotos HRT, after Lucas di Grassi had to make a pit stop on lap 52.
During Yamamotos pit stop a crew member was hurt after the lollipop was lifted too early. He was taken to hospital for checks and the team were subsequently fined US$20,000 for an unsafe release.
Besides Hamilton and Trulli, HRTs Bruno Senna stopped with mechanical woes and Kamui Kobayashi did not actually leave the pit lane after problems with his BMW Sauber before he got to the grid.
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