Vodafone Mclaren F1 Team

Hamilton wins, Alonso third, but Sauber driver Sergio Perez was real star of 2012 Monza F1 GP

Lewis Hamilton ruled Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix in a superb drive from start to finish in his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, to score his first-ever win at the famous cathedral of speed held on the Monza circuit.
Behind the winning Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, however, Ferrari suffered the indignity of being beaten by a customer team in front of their cheering home crowd as Sergio Perez exploited the maximum of the excellent strategy determined by his Sauber team.

Everyone on the grid started on Pirelli’s medium tires but the Sauber team decided to go for the hard compound tires, gaining a late-race advantage on the mediums which saw the Mexican climb from eighth to second after his single pit stop on the 29th lap. By the end was he was just 4.3s behind the leading Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but the 2008 Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton had everything under control and scored a much-needed victory which brings him back up to second place in the world championship.

For the Scuderia Ferrari and the their Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, who survived the multi-car pileup at the first corner at Spa without a major injury, saw the Spaniard survive a breathtaking off-course moment in the Curva Grande which was considered by the stewards to have been caused by a reckless action of German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, whom Fernando Alonso was trying to overtake at the time.

The German was given a drive-through penalty for forcing the Spaniard off the track in an incident reminiscent of a similar one involving the same drivers in last year's race, where the German Red Bull driver passed the Ferrari driver around the outside of the 180mph Curva Grande with two wheels on the grass and felt that Fernando Alonso had pushed a bit too far. Fernando Alonso was not penalised for that incident, as the stewards saw that he had left just enough room for Sebastian Vettel. In this year's incident, on lap 26 of the race, the roles were reversed and it was Fernando Alonso who tried to pass Sebastian Vettel on the outside.

An excellent start had helped Spanish Ferrari driver and Formula 1 2012 World Champion leader Fernando Alonso to climb from his 10th place on the grid, and after his prolonged battle with German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, he was aided by Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa who had split the McLarens from the start. The Brazilian, who had a head turning catapulting start and almost overtaking Lewis Hamilton at the end of the start straight line, duly conceded second place to his partner, after receiving what seemed to be a hidden team order on the 40th lap. Fernando Alonso looked likely to finish there until the flying Sauber driver Sergio Perez flew by him on the 46th lap. The Ferraris thus finished third and fourth, collecting 27 points to move them back to third place in the constructors’ points table behind Red Bull and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

The other Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver and 2012 Belgian Grand Prix winner Jenson Button seemed surely to pass the finish line in second place until he lost drive on the back straight of the 33rd lap, which the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team diagnosed as a fuel pick-up problem.

It was also a very tough day for both Red Bull cars. The German Formula 1 double World Champion and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, who desperately tried to recover from the drive through penalty, was advised to switch off his engine rather than risking an engine failure, which was about to happen. With team mate Mark Webber suffering a bad start, and later spinning and flat-spotting his tires on the exit to Ascari before slinking back to the pits to retire, the team lost a lot of their advantage in the Formula 1 constructors’ standings.

Kimi Raikkonen battled superbly with Sergio Perez before conceding defeat, but was lucky to hold on to fifth as two-stopping Michael Schumacher was only 0.3s behind at the finish line, while Nico Rosberg in the other two-stopping Mercedes finished in front of Force India’s Paul di Resta to take seventh. The Scot was eighth, like the majority of front runners relying on a single stop, with Kamui Kobayashi making it a good day for Sauber with ninth after a steady run on a different strategy to his team mate Sergio Perez.

Williams’ Bruno Senna took the final point after an adventurous race which saw him having to make trips over chicane kerbs after both Nico Rosberg and Paul Di Resta gave him some difficult time. He dived past Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso on the final lap, as did team mate Pastor Maldonado who was only 0.5s behind him at the finish line. The unfortunate Australian was thus 12th in front of Romain Grosjean replacement Jerome D’Ambrosio in the second Lotus.

Finishing a lap down, the Caterham drivers had a race-long fight, with Heikki Kovalainen leading Vitaly Petrov over the line by a tenth of a second as they took valuable 14th and 15th positions. At Marussia, it was Charles Pic’s turn to beat Timo Glock, in 16th and 17th, while Pedro de la Rosa’s 100th race saw him catch and pass HRT team mate Narain Karthikeyan for an eventual 18th.

Besides Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg dropped out right at the end with mechanical problems on his Force India, while Jean-Eric Vergne was the first retirement early on when his Toro Rosso appeared to smash a rear brake disc and was sent flying over the kerbs of Variante Del.

Although not scoring any points at the Italian Grand Prix held in Monza, Red Bull still remain in charge of the constructors Formula 1 2012 World Championship on 272 points to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' 243, Scuderia Ferrari’s 226 and Lotus’s 217.

In the Formula 1 drivers’ stakes, Fernando Alonso has with 179 points an enlarged 37-point lead, now over Lewis Hamilton on 142, with fifth-place finisher Kimi Raikkonen third on 141 from Sebastian Vettel on 140, Mark Webber on 132 and Jenson Button on 101.

Monza - Abu Dhabi - Cairo

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