The F1 circus moves to legendary Monza, Italy's premier racing circuit, and the fastest track on the F1 calendar. The weather here has been hot and sunny, and no rain is forecast for the weekend !!
The buzz around the pits - is this Hamilton's last season with McLaren ?? After so many years with the team, perhaps Hamilton has had enough and is looking for more of a challenge, that another team could provide. No word as yet as to which team he'll go to, but with Schumacher ready to leave Mercedes at the end of this season, it's entirely possible that Hamilton could be offered the empty seat. However, time will tell no doubt. But for now, on with the qualifying for tomorrow's race !!
Q1 - Being a fast circuit, we can expect some fast times being set, and certainly nobody is hanging around. Both Hulkenberg and Schumacher have problems with the first chicane - Schumacher with a right wheel lock-up, Hulkenberg with engine problems, and he limps his way back around to the pits. Alonso has an excellent run, and easily goes into the lead. Hamilton blasts the first 2 sectors, and crosses the line to go 2nd. Vergne also misses the first chicane, and has to use the run-off lane, and isn't able to set a fast time. By the end of the session, all of the top drivers have made it through to Q2 !!
Q2 - Both Massa and Schumacher miss the first chicane. Again Alonso takes the lead in his speedy Ferrari, Button takes 2nd with Hamilton in 3rd. By the end of the session, Webber has failed to progress, while Raikkonen just manages to qualify 10th with Vettel 9th !!
Q3 - Alonso is having problems, and let's Massa go past and into the lead, and Alonso heads for the pits. Hamilton has a good lap, and takes 1st, Di Resta has a blistering lap, and takes 2nd. Though Button soon knocks him off that spot, and takes it for himself. Alonso manages to set a time, though Massa outqualifies him. So the front of the grid will be, 1 Hamilton, 2 Button, 3 Massa, 4 Di Resta, 5 Schumacher, 6 Vettel. Though after a gearbox change, Di Resta gets a penalty and drops to 9th, so all in front of him move up one place. With mechanical problems, the best Alonso can do will be to start in 10th place. Looking forward to the race !!
Lights out, and the dash to the first chicane sees Massa slot into 2nd and an attack on Hamilton but the door is slammed shut on him. Everybody make it through ok, and during the lap Alonso manages to move up a couple of places, as does Webber !!
Lap 4 Vettel passes Schumacher, with Alonso right behind the German and looking to find a way past. Lap 7 Alonso finally passes Schumacher, to the delight of the Tiffosi (Ferrari fans). Di Resta and Senna battle, sending Senna over the grass and he rejoins the circuit behind Webber !!
Lap 9 Vergne's car lets go, and he takes a quick flying lesson to retire at the first chicane. Lap 14 Rosberg has a stop for new tyres, as does team-mate Schumacher the next lap. Raikkonen pits next lap, and there's some question as to whether the two-stoppers will have a better advantage over the one-stops !!
Lap 19 Massa reports a loss of on-board telemetry, and Button takes the place from him to slot into 2nd, while Massa pits for new tyres. Lap 21 both Vettel and Alonso pit, and both exit their pit boxes at the same time, though Vettel just stays ahead of him back on the track !!
Lap 23 Button is the first of the one-stoppers to pit, with Hamilton in the next lap and rejoins in 2nd close behind Perez. Lap 26 Alonso tries to pass Vettel down the main straight, but Vettel shuts the door on him, then on another attempt Vettel squeezes Alonso who has to go onto the gravel, but the pass fails !!
Lap 29 Hamilton passes Perez under braking into the first chicane. Alonso finally takes Vettel to go into 5th. Perez pits, and rejoins just behind the Alonso-Webber battle. Lap 34 The stewards give Vettel a drive-through penalty for pushing Alonso onto the gravel. Button pulls to the side of the track and retires, with obvious engine trouble !!
Lap 35 Vettel takes his drive-through penalty, and rejoins behind Webber but takes the place into the first chicane. After a battle, Rosberg finally passes Raikkonen. Alonso takes Massa to go into 2nd, though at this point Hamilton has a comfortable 14 second lead !!
Lap 44 Perez does a banzai overtake on Massa into Parabolica, and sets his sights on Alonso. Lap 46 he does take Alonso, and slides easily into 2nd. Lap 48 Vettel stops with a recurring alternator problem !!
Lap 49 after an ongoing battle, Webber passes Schumacher to take 8th place. Lap 51 Webber hits a kerb and spins, but is able to continue. Lap 52 Hulkenberg retires, and Webber cruises around to the pits also to retire !!
Lap 53 Final lap, Hamilton cruises around on his own, to take the flag and the win. He's never won here before, so this makes the win all the more enjoyable !!
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes
2. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari
3. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari
4. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari
5. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault
6. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes
7. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes
8. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes
9. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari
10. Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault
11. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault
12. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
13. Jerome d'Ambrosio France Lotus-Renault
14. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault
15. Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault
16. Charles Pic France Marussia -Cosworth
17. Timo Glock Germany Marussia -Cosworth
18. Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth
19. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth
Rtd. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 51 laps completed
Rtd. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 50 laps completed
Rtd. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 47 laps completed
Rtd. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 32 laps completed
Rtd. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8 laps completed
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari-Ferrari 179
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 142
3 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 141
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 140
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 132
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 101
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Mercedes 83
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 76
9 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 65
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari-Ferrari 47
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes-Mercedes 43
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 35
13 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 32
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 31
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 29
16 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 25
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 4
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 0
= Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 0
= Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 0
= Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 0
= Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 0
= Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 0
= Jerome d'Ambrosio Lotus-Renault 0
1 Red Bull Racing 272
2 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 243
3 Scuderia Ferrari 226
4 Lotus F1 Team 217
5 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 126
6 Sauber F1 Team 100
7 Sahara Force India F1 Team 63
8 Williams F1 Team 54
9 Scuderia Toro Rosso 12
10 Marussia F1 Team 0
= Caterham F1 Team 0
= HRT F1 Team 0
Always a good race, enjoyed it !!