Start, Monza, 2012

Top ten pictures from the 2012 Italian Grand Prix

2012 Italian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ten of the best pictures which tell the story of the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, leaves, McLaren – Friday practice

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2012

On Friday Monza was abuzz with rumours Lewis Hamilton would switch from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013.

Hamilton left the speculation behind as he took to the track for the first practice session, where autumnal leaves were scattered across the entry to the Ascari chicane.

Hello Ma – Friday practice

Ma Qing Hua, HRT, Monza, 2012

Ma Qing Hua made history when he became China’s first representative to participate in an official F1 session on Friday morning.

But HRT weren’t taking any chances and sent the inexperienced Ma out with a rear wing like a barn door to help him keep the car on the track – compare it to his team mate’s.

Retro run-off – Friday practice

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, Monza, 2012

Gravel traps are increasingly a thing of the past in F1. But Monza still has quite a few of them, such as this one at the exit of the Roggia chicane which Heikki Kovalainen brushed on Friday.

The bumps and kerbs used to keep cars from cutting across tarmac run-offs drew criticism from drivers including Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

During the race Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso was pitched into the air when he hit one at the Rettifilio. Monza’s kerbs had been lowered two years earlier to reduce the chance of such a crash.

In the red corner – Qualifying

Fernando Alonso, Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Monza, 2012

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo paid his usual visit to the Italian Grand Prix. But he can’t have been too happy with what he saw in Fernando Alonso’s garage on the first two days.

Alonso was sidelined with technical problems during the first two practice sessions. Then in qualifying an anti-roll bar failure in Q3 left him tenth on the grid.

Hamilton leads the charge – Italian Grand Prix

Start, Monza, 2012

Hamilton fended off an attack from Felipe Massa at the start and led the field into the Roggia chicane for the first time.

Behind him Massa kept Jenson Button behind having passed him for second at the first corner.

Vettel vs Alonso – Italian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2012

Alonso stalked Sebastian Vettel after his first pit stop – at this point the pair have already overtaken Daniel Ricciardo (in the background) and are about to tackle Bruno Senna.

After that Alonso launched an attack on Vettel, who edged him onto the grass at Curva Grande in a move that had much in common with their 2011 dice – albeit with role reversed. And, this time, Vettel was handed a penalty:

D’Ambrosio’s return – Italian Grand Prix

Jerome d'Ambrosio, Lotus, Monza, 2012

Jerome D’Ambrosio stood in for Romain Grosjean while Lotus’s regular driver served a one-race ban for causing the first-corner crash at Spa-Francorchamps.

He finished 13th having suffered a KERS failure on lap six.

Perez sets out his stall – Italian Grand Prix

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Monza, 2012

In June Montezemolo played down the chances of Sergio Perez – a Ferrari development driver – joining the race team, saying he needed “more experience”.

But at Monza Perez demonstrated his capabilities with a classy drive to his third podium finish of the year. He passed both Ferraris on the way and pulled 18 points clear of Massa in the drivers’ championship.

Alonso does a Bolt – Italian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2012

Perhaps Alonso took note of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s camera-pinching antics at the Olympics and resolved to perform some of his own the next time he had the chance.

The darling of the Tifosi made it onto the podium for the third year in a row as a Ferrari driver, and went one better than Bolt by nabbing a television camera to capture the passion of the crowd.

Happy faces at McLaren – Italian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Martin Whitmarsh, Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2012

McLaren celebrated their first hat-trick of wins in four years.

Happy faces all round – though some look a bit happier than others. Perhaps those Mercedes rumours were right?

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Imagess ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei, HRT F1 Team, Caterham/LAT, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Pirelli/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Sauber F1 Team, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, McLaren/Hoch Zwei