Italian GP: Fernando Alonso leads McLaren one-two 

Written by David on September 09th, 2007 at 3:49 pmLast Update: September 09th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Fernando Alonso Italian Grand Prix 2007 winnerFernando Alonso reduced Lewis Hamilton’s world championship lead to 3 points by taking a dominant victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza’s circuit. Lewis Hamilton prevented his teammate from making further inroads by putting a tremendous overtake on Kimi Raikkonen for second place after the Ferrari had got between the McLarens during the pit stops.

Raikkonen’s third place leaves him 18 points behind of Hamilton with 4 rounds to go, and with Felipe Massa retiring early with his first mechanical failure of the year, Ferrari’s title hopes look increasingly distant. While Alonso calmly led away at the start, Hamilton lost ground off the grid and was passed by Massa. The Briton went around the outside of the Ferrari into the first chicane, making slight wheel to wheel contact and cutting the apex of the left-hander in the process. The officials decided not to penalise Hamilton, who resisted Massa’s vigorous attempts to regain second further around the opening lap.

The safety car then emerged for five laps after David Coulthard’s front wing, weakened in contact with Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault, collapsed in the middle of the Curva Grande and sent the Red Bull into the barriers at high speed. Coulthard was unhurt in the accident. After the restart Hamilton was able to get away from Massa, who retired soon afterwards after reporting a mechanical problem with the rear of his Ferrari. Hamilton stayed close to Alonso through the first stint, but pitted two laps sooner, allowing Alonso to establish a more comfortable lead in the middle of the race.

While McLaren had opted for a 2 stop strategy, Raikkonen was only pitting once, and he was able to lead after the McLarens’ stops. He then maintained a sufficiently fast pace in his heavy Ferrari to keep McLaren under pressure, and when Hamilton made his final stop on lap 40, he rejoined behind Raikkonen in third place. Wiith Alonso far enough ahead to retain his lead even after his stop, it looked like Hamilton’s championship lead might dwindle to a single point. But just as Alonso was making his final pit visit, Hamilton was diving down the inside of Raikkonen into the first chicane and retaking second place. He then accelerated away to complete a commanding McLaren one-two.

BMW took 4th and 5th with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, despite the Pole losing a lot of time when his car fell from its jacks at his first pitstop. He finally reclaimed fifth place by driving around the outside of Nico Rosberg at the first chicane in the closing stages.

Rosberg beat the two-stopping Heikki Kovalainen and fellow one-stopper Jenson Button to sixth. The German and the Briton had engaged in a spirited battle in the opening stint, running absolutely side by side through the first chicane before Rosberg secured the position with an outside line dive at the Roggia. Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello completed the top ten, ahead of the slow-starting Jarno Trulli.

Italian Grand Prix Final (Race) Standings:

  1. F. Alonso (McLaren)
  2. L. Hamilton (McLaren)
  3. K. Raikkonen (Ferrari)
  4. N. Heidfeld (BMW)
  5. R. Kubica (BMW)
  6. N. Rosberg (Williams)
  7. H. Kovalainen (Renault)
  8. J. Button (Honda)
  9. M. Webber (Red Bull)
  10. R. Barrichello (Honda)
  11. J. Trulli (Toyota)
  12. G. Fisichella (Renault)
  13. A. Wurz (Williams)
  14. A. Davidson (Super Aguri)
  15. R. Schumacher (Toyota)
  16. T. Sato (Super Aguri)
  17. V. Liuzzi (Toro Rosso)
  18. S. Vettel (Toro Rosso)
  19. A. Sutil (Spyker)
  20. S. Yamamoto (Spyker)

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