Race: Flawless Fernando wins head-on duel with Button in Monza

Stephan Heublein


Fernando Alonso took a sensational victory for Ferrari in their home Grand Prix at Monza this afternoon following a thrilling strategic battle between Ferrari and McLaren on the legendary autodromo. With championship leader Lewis Hamilton and runner-up Mark Webber failing to score strongly the championship is all set for an explosive five-race finale, with Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Vettel all within a race victory of each other.

A poor start saw Alonso immediately lose the lead from pole as fellow front row starter Jenson Button bolted into the lead, but Fernando refused to be beaten and kept the gap to Jenson at 1 second for the entire first stint. Button's hopes for reduced tyre wear from his high downforce package didn't come to pass and when he pitted on lap 36 for his switch to the harder compound tyre, Alonso took his chance and within one lap closed the 0.9-second margin to emerge from his pitstop side-by-side with the Briton. The Spaniard had the inside line however and slithered into the lead, much to the delight of the packed grandstands.

Alonso then had the pace to pull away from Button, and grew it to over four seconds at one stage, before easing off to take the flag with a 2.9-second advantage. Button, frustrated by having pitted before Alonso which ultimately cost him the lead, had to settle for second, but is nevertheless right back in championship contention after team-mate Lewis Hamilton retired on the opening lap. Hamilton, championship leader coming into the race, emerged fourth from the first chicane and was pushing Felipe Massa for third but contact between the pair meant the McLaren's right-front wheel went askew before he came to a halt in the gravel trap at the first Lesmo turn.