Italian Grand Prix – McLaren Score 1-2 at Ferrari’s Home Race

It was a McLaren-dominated Italian Grand Prix all throughout the weekend at Monza, regarded as Ferrari’s spiritual home. Not only did they lock-out the front row on the grid in Saturday Qualifying, they scored a 1-2 finish in the Sunday’s Race with Fernando Alonso winning from Pole position and teammate Lewis Hamilton coming second. Alonso also took the fastest lap! Ferrari could salvage only a distant third place as Felipe Massa had to retire after nine laps and Kimi Raikkonen – hampered by a stiff-neck as a result of the Saturday crash and also by a pace-less spare car – took the last place on the podium.

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The Finn briefly held 2nd position as his one-pit-stop strategy as compared to Hamilton’s two helped him leapfrog the McLaren driver after his second pit stop but that was short-lived as Hamilton belligerently overtook Kimi and regained the place. Kimi never really had the pace to stave him off and instead chose to nurse his car into third place.Yet again, BMW proved that they’re the third-best team with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica taking 4th and 5th places. Nico Rosberg’s ascendancy continued with 6th place, with Heikki Kovalainen taking 7th and Jenson Button taking up the last point in 8th place.

The race started in a frenzied fashion as Massa looked to have taken 2nd place from Hamilton but the Briton re-took the place at turn 2 and was never really bothered again. Kimi had a good start and moved into 4th place ahead of Heidfeld and though the German ran close behind in the early stages, the gap grew to a healthy 30 secs at the end. David Coulthard was the only other driver not to have finished (apart from Massa) after his front wing disintegrated on the 3rd lap and he slammed into the tyre wall; this prompted a 5-lap safety car period and at the restart, Alonso managed to hold off Hamilton and stayed in the lead throughout.

Ferrari are now with their backs to the wall and with only four more races to go in the season, they are forced to put all their efforts behind Kimi who lies third in the Drivers’ standings with 74 points. Hamilton has 92 with Alonso 89 and it is one amongst these three drivers who will emerge Champion at the end of the season. But its a steep climb from hereon for the Ferrari driver. Fingers crossed….

Race Reports: Grandprix.com | Formula1.com | BBC Sport

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