Hamilton back in F1 title hunt
DOMINATING FROM POLE POSITION: Lewis Hamilton led from pole position to achieve a fantastic race win at the Italian Grand Prix.
MONZA, Italy - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton added the Italian Grand Prix to his list of Formula 1 victories while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso overall championship lead is decreased with third place.
Sauber rookie Sergio Perez denied Alonso second place, overtaking the Ferrari ace seven laps from the finish - and that after disposing of Alonso's team mate Felipe Massa.
Hamilton's third win of the season, and 20th of his career, lifted the 2008 champion to second in the overall standings with seven races remaining. Alonso has 179 points, Hamilton 142 and Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen 141.
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Hamilton said: "It's been fantastic to win here. I'm just so happy for my team, it's been a fantastic day."
2011 champion team Red Bull had a nightmare afternoon in the sunshine with both Sebastian Vettel, the reigning champion, and Mark Webber retiring late in the race while in scoring positions.
Vettel, Alonso's closest rival in the standings before the start, retired six laps from the finish and slipped to fourth overall with 140 points.
Vettel had already taken a drive-through penalty after pushing Alonso wide and on to the gravel and grass as the Spaniard tried to overtake out of the first Lesmo curve.
McLaren's Jenson Button, winner in Belgium and runner-up in Monza for the previous three years, pulled over on to the grass along the pits straight and retired on the 33rd of the 53 laps while in second place.
While Hamilton celebrated his first victory at Monza, the big winner was Alonso who got the loudest cheer of the afternoon when he appeared on a podium suspended over the track and above a sea of red-shirted fans roaring their support and unfurling a giant Ferrari shield.
Alonso, who failed to score in Belgium after being shunted out in the multiple crash in the first corner, had started 10th after a mechanical problem had denied him a likely pole in Saturday's qualifying. "It was a difficult race starting from 10th," he said, "but we knew we had maybe the quickest car this weekend.
"A perfect Sunday because the win was out of reach... it's much better than expected."
Lauda took his hat off, literally, to Perez for another astonishing drive by the 22-year-old. The young Mexican Sauber driver said: "It's unbelievable to have a podium for my team at Monza. It's very special. I went for prime tyres at the start and I decided to stop late. That gave me very fresh tyres at the end. It's unbelievable."
Massa finished fourth, denied a first podium since 2010 by team orders that obliged him to let Alonso through on lap 40. He had seized second from Button at the start before the Briton regained his place and was second again after Button retired.
Raikkonen, Ferrari's 2007 champion, finished fifth with former Ferrari great Michael Schumacher sixth and his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg seventh.
Young Scotsman Paul Di Resta was eighth for Force India with Kamui Kobayashi giving Sauber a double scoring finish in ninth and Bruno Senna 10th for Williams.
The start, always a cause for concern at the fastest circuit on the calendar, was clean with the first big incident coming on lap nine when Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne lost control and skidded across the track, lifting well into the air. He walked away afterwards.
2012 Italian Grand Prix results
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min19min41.221
2 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari +4.356sec
3 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari +20.594
4 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari +29.667
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus +30.881
6 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes +31.259
7 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +33.550
8 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes +41.057
9 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber +43.898
10 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 00min48.144
11 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams +48.682
12 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso +50.316
13 Jerome d'Ambrosio (Belgium) Lotus +1min15.861
14 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham +1 lap
15 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham +1 lap
16 Charles Pic (France) Marussia +1 lap
17 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia +1 lap
18 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT +1 lap
19 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT +1 lap
20 R Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull +2 laps
21 R Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India +3 laps
22 R Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 6 laps
R Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 21 laps
R Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 45 laps
(rank: R = retired, nc = not classified)
Fastest lap: Nico Rosberg, 1min27.239, lap 53.
Drivers' and Constructor' points after the Italian GP
1 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 179
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 142
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Renault 141
4 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 140
5 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 132
6 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 101
7 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes GP 83
8 Romain Grosjean (France) Renault 76
9 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 65
10 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 47
11 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes GP 43
12 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 35
13 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 32
14 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 31
15 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 29
16 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 25
17 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 8
18 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 4
19 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Team Lotus 0
20 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Team Lotus 0
21 Jerome d'Ambrosio (Belgium) Renault 0
22 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 0
23 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 0
25 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 0
1 Red Bull 272
2 McLaren 43
3 Ferrari 226
4 Lotus 217
5 Mercedes 126
6 Sauber 100
7 Force India 63
8 Williams 54
9 Toro Rosso 12
10 Caterham 0
11 Marussia 0
12 HRT 0
Stay with Wheels24 for the Italian GP weekend.