Alonso beats Button to Monza win (Italian Grand Prix review)

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2010

Fernando Alonso lost the lead at the start of the Italian Grand Prix but recovered to win from Jenson Button.

Button finished second ahead of Felipe Massa. But team mate Lewis Hamilton’s title hopes suffered a blow when he crashed out on the first lap.

Button made the best start and even though Fernando Alonso squeezed him the McLaren driver emerged from the first turn in the lead.

As Alonso tucked in behind he clipped the left-rear end plate of Button’s car. But there was more significant contact between a Ferrari and McLaren when Hamilton stuck his nose alongside Massa at the Roggia.

Hamilton nudged Massa’s left-rear wheel, breaking his front-right and skidding out in the gravel at Lesmo to a costly DNF.

As lap one finished Button was already under crushing pressure from Alonso, with Massa in close attendance and Nico Rosberg, up from seventh, dropping back in fourth.

Behind him were Robert Kubica and Nico H???lkenberg. Only then came the first of the Red Bulls, Sebastian Vettel, followed by Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber.

Webber made amends for his poor start by passing Schumacher at the Roggia and then catching Vettel.

Vettel’s race briefly seemed to be over on lap 19 when he told his team he had an engine problem, lost two seconds and fell behind Webber. But the problem seemed to clear up and Vettel continued on his way.

Up front Button rarely had any respite from the attention of the two Ferraris. His higher downforce set-up allowed him to pull away in the corners but Alonso was 14kph faster down the straights and kept hauling in the McLaren.

With the field spreading out slowly behind them there was little opportunity for them to make their pit stops. Button finally came in on lap 36, the first opportunity after the cars behind had pitted.

Ferrari kept Alonso out for another lap and got him back out narrowly ahead of the McLaren. The car was stationary for slightly less time for Button, he emerged from the pits side-by-side with the McLaren and took the lead back at the Rettifilio.

Massa set the fastest lap and came in the next time by. But having slipped back from Alonso before the pit stops he couldn’t improve on third.

Pitting first didn’t work out for Robert Kubica either, who fell behind H???lkenberg and Webber.

Vettel delayed his pit stop until the last possible moment – finally making his compulsory stop as the last lap was beginning.

That worked out well as his team mate was having a hard time getting past H???lkenberg. The Williams driver cut chicanes on several occasions, leading to several frustrated comments from Webber on the radio.

The Red Bull driver finally squeezed past but didn’t have time to haul in Rosberg. That worked out perfectly for Vettel. His ultra-late stop allowed him to hold on to a fourth place which has looked unlikely halfway through the race when he was down in eighth.

Vitaly Petrov also left his sole pit stop until very late – though, unlike Vettel, he did his long stint on hard rather than soft tyres. He pitted from tenth, promoting Rubens Barrichello to the final point behind Schumacher.

Sebastien Buemi came home 11th ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi. Adrian Sutil in the other Force India was delayed on the first lap and made an early switch to hard tyres that left him 16th behind Petrov, Pedro de la Rosa and Jaime Alguersuari.

Timo Glock was the highest-placed driver for the new teams in 17th, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen.

The HRT of Sakon Yamamoto was 19th despite hitting a member of his pit crew during his pit stop. The mechanic was taken to the medical centre.

Lucas di Grassi finished 20th and Jarno Trulli was classified 21st despite retiring in a cloud of smoke with two laps to go.

Alonso survived a late scare when he clattered across the Rettifilio kerbs to claim a popular victory for Ferrari on home ground. It propels him back into the thick of the title battle as the championship moves beyond Europe for its final five races.

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56 comments on Alonso beats Button to Monza win (Italian Grand Prix review)

  1. Again a very disappointing performance by the stuarts today. Apart from Hulkenberg, they didn’t punish Button for setting an absolute best in the second sector under yellow.

    • David BR said on 13th September 2010, 21:53

      Be fair, the last time the Stuarts governed anything was the 17th century, so can’t expect them to get up to speed on Formula 1 that quickly! :0)

  2. curedcat said on 12th September 2010, 17:12

    Autosport says all the teams have passed the new rig tests , but watching the redbull onboard today it is still flexing .The ferrari was rigid ,so was the mclaren . One thing is that it appears as if the redbull is not flexing as much as before , that slight deflection downwards is still there to see

  3. Younger Hamilton said on 12th September 2010, 17:38

    The McLaren vs Ferrari Rivalry was revived today but unfortunately Lewis crashed out so who knows what would have happened if he didnt crash out anyway Great Race Jenson!!!

  4. Hello all and congrats to Keith for this great blog.

    Alonso deserves all credit today. It wasn’t an easy race for him, Button did fantastic and Massa gave a good run for his money at the start, no team orders this time.

    Very disappointed with Hamilton, school boy error leading the championship? can expect that from Vettel but not from him.

    I think right now the n1 fav is Webber: the distance with Vettel is almost a race now, giving the season that Horner had, he need to put all now in the australian. Hamilton and Button will still take points from each other, and Alonso could do a Kimi but I think RB dominance will get back in the next circuits.

    It would be great to know which car is on paper favourite in each of the next races.

  5. daykind said on 12th September 2010, 18:42

    Great race for us, Alonso got the best win of the season for him, Massa also on the podium.

    I think just as Alonso came out of the pits and was almost overtaken by Button shows how much quicker in the straight line Ferrari was to McLaren. Button could have easily took the lead, and yet Alonso coasted from then on in.

    I think that Vettel’s title campaign is in deep trouble. Alonso and Button could be back in it, Hamilton really needed a good result today and Mark Webber will still be fuming over Hulkenberg cutting chicane.

  6. Raymond said on 12th September 2010, 19:23

    I can’t help but thinking that there is some weird spiritual/karmic bond between Vettel and Webber. Webbo gets held up by two Nicos while Vettel builds a pitstop gap, and comes out ahead of Nico. Hungary in reverse, anyone? Just that this wasn’t for the victory, that’s all.

  7. Does the red bull strategy make any sense? A team order masked as an engine problem, but later Vettel benefited in expense of title leader, Webber…
    If that not a complete personality disorder, I don’t know what is…
    One can see that there’s more to Webber’s frustration than Hulkenberg, granted of course that he relied far too much on the stewards and only pushed to overtake the Williams after his team advised him that Hulkenberg would not be penalised.

  8. Isnt it amazing that Vettel’s engine trouble lasted just long enough for Webber to get around him ??

    • Yeah it was very strange. Could very well be a masked team order, even though that wouldn’t make sense with the rest of the race where they gambled with his strategy and jumped 3 cars in the pits, which did cost Webber points. I don’t know what to make of it, but it was very suspicious that it is just when Vettel is in front of Webber and then Webber passes him and the problem stops the next lap. Though i think that Vettel did sound pretty convincing on the radio.

  9. Nice job alonso (At last).

    Cheater of the race – HUL.
    Permanent cutting chicanes must be penalised.

  10. This has been a weekend of a Champion by Button, brave but ultimately clever and correct decision made by him and his side of the garage to go with the high down force / F- duct package, excellent quali yesterday, followed today by a sublime ballsy start and a faultless drive in what was quite obviously a slower car than the Ferraris today – with the intense pressure of Alonso up his backside for much of the race – If that drive doesn’t persuade the few doubters left that Button is a worthy World Champion I don’t know what will, the guy just doesn’t seem to make mistakes during a race that loses him position – in fact I’m having trouble remembering his last one.

    Hat’s off to Alonso today as well, other than his start a great drive and banged in the laps when needed.

  11. For those who are allways asking for many overtakings and spectacular moments, I have to show them how a calculated race, measured pressure and strategy can keep us in suspense throughout almost the whole race.

    Finally, an overtaking is a beautifull moment, but a fight as Alonso-Button give us an hour of pleasure.

    For the boring drivers! chapeau!

  12. First of all, let me admit that i’m guilty as charged for being a tifosi and i was rather chuffed to bits as i saw a Ferrari win at Monza. Wasn’t perfect, that is 1-2, but it was a good job well done by Alonso who recovered from the poor start that he made.

    I think Ferrari could and should have given Massa an extra lap before he pitted but he would have been mixed up in the Alonso-Button battle to make it 3-way, or stopped early to go on fresh tyres and faster times, which may have infact propelled him into first place… Currently Alonso is more likely to win championship this year than is Massa and that perhaps explains the decision to stop Massa when they did.

    Button… people scoffed at the notion when i suggested that he will have measure of Lewis at the beginning of this season. I’ll bet many will start to see sense in my reasoning now. Lewis though in his 4th year now in F1, still needs to learn a fair bit, mostly on how to keep things together. I haven’t seen any other driver have an incident with safety car (Valencia), or stop a healthy car on track (Canada) etc., etc.

    I get my broadcast from Star-Espn… What’s with the commentator about legacy of Schumacher being the chop??? Well, Steve Slater kept confusing the name of the drivers for that matter, so i don’t know what to say about that. Wish we could get the Beeb broadcast here in India too.

  13. I still think Vettel will be champion 2010! The remaining circuits are better for RBR than Monza.

  14. If we only take one thing away from this weekend, it is this: Never, ever write off Fernando Alonso.

    It was interesting that this week it was the turn of Hamilton (who some have suggested has now usurped Alonso as the best all-round driver on the grid) to make a silly amateurish error that put him out of the race. Just two weeks after Alonso was widely criticised for doing the same. I guess they’re all human, after all.

  15. I had a feeling Alonso would win, for once my F1fanatic tipping paid off !

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