MONZA, Italy – Lewis Hamilton dominated Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix for McLaren to score his first win Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Behind him, however, Ferrari suffered the indignity of being beaten by a customer team on their home ground as Sergio Perez got some payback for Malaysia with a superb drive, which made the maximum of some excellent strategy by Sauber.
Everyone else started on Pirelli’s medium tyre but Perez and Sauber opted for the hard, gaining a late-race advantage on the mediums which saw the Mexican climb from eighth to second after his pit stop on the 29th lap.
By the end was he was just 4.3 seconds Hamilton, but Hamilton had everything under control and scored a much-needed victory which brings him back up to second place in the world championship.
A damage-limiting drive from Fernando Alonso saw the Spaniard survive an uncomfortable off-course moment in the Curva Grande which was deemed by the stewards to have been caused by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, whom Alonso was attacking at the time.
A good start had helped Alonso to climb from his 10th place on the grid, and after his prolonged battle with Vettel he was aided by team mate Felipe Massa who had split the McLarens from the start.
The Brazilian duly conceded second place to his partner on the 40th lap, and Alonso seemed set to finish there until the flying Perez swept by him on the 46th lap. The Ferraris thus finished third and fourth, garnering Ferrari 27 points to move them back to third place in the constructors’ points table behind Red Bull and McLaren.
Button looked set for second until he lost drive on the back straight on the 33rd lap, the McLaren team diagnosing a fuel pick-up problem.
It was also a very tough day for Red Bull. Vettel climbed up to third by lap 20, but his indiscretion with Alonso earned him a drive-through penalty and later he was advised to switch off his engine rather than risk a failure, which was thought to be imminent.
With teammate Mark Webber making a bad start, and later spinning and flat-spotting his tires before creeping round to the pits to retire, the team lost a lot of their advantage in the constructors’ stakes. They now have 272 points to McLaren’s 243, Ferrari’s 226 and Lotus’s 217.
In the drivers’ stakes, Alonso enlarged 37-point lead, now over Hamilton, 179 to 142, with fifth-place finisher Kimi Raikkonen third with 141 and Vettel with 140.