• Italian Grand Prix

Alonso thrills home crowd with victory

Fraser Masefield and Laurence Edmondson
September 12, 2010

Fernando Alonso sent the Tifosi wild by winning his first Italian Grand Prix for Ferrari from Jenson Button and team-mate Felipe Massa after taking the lead in the pit stops.

Alonso had to bide his time after losing his pole advantage to Button into the first corner, the McLaren driver making a fantastic start from second on the grid. If Button was delighted with his start, the same could not be said of team-mate Lewis Hamilton who got it all wrong in an ambitious move on Felipe Massa, contact with the Ferrari leading to a broken steering arm and his immediate retirement.

Behind the leaders, the Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber also lost ground at the start, dropping to sixth and ninth respectively as Nico Rosberg jumped up to fourth following Hamilton's retirement.

Alonso continued to press Button hard during the early stages, the Ferrari swarming all over the back of the McLaren gearbox. But with his higher downforce configuration working well through the corners and his tyres starting to come in, so Button began to look more comfortable.

Button was the first of the leaders to stop on lap 37, quickly followed by the Ferrari duo a lap later. And it was Alonso who gained the advantage, squeezing out of the pits just ahead of Button and he held his position to take victory for Ferrari to the delight of an adoring home crowd.

Massa rounded off a good day for Ferrari but it was a case of damage limitation for Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, who finished fourth and sixth respectively. Vettel had looked close to retirement early in the race when his engine sounded rough and he dropped behind his team-mate.

However, by staying out on the same set of soft tyres until the last lap, Vettel managed to pump in two dozen fast laps, which were enough to ensure he leapfrogged four cars and take fourth position ahead of Nico Rosberg. Webber also had a challenging race and had to bully his way past Robert Kubica after his pit stop before attempting pass Nico Hulkenberg in the Williams.

The German rookie put up a good fight but at one point skipped the first chicane in his haste. Red Bull appealed to the stewards on Webber's behalf but the incident was dismissed and Webber was left to take matters into his own hands. He eventually passed Hulkenberg at the second chicane after a lap-long battle as the Williams continued to make mistakes and look a little wild.

Behind that action, Kubica finished eighth with a healthy 10 second margin over Michael Schumacher in the second Mercedes. Rubens Barrichello secured the final point for Williams in tenth.

Neither Force India scored points after Adrian Sutil was forced to pit early with damage and then spent the rest of the race fighting back through the field to 16th. Tonio Liuzzi overcame his car difficulties in qualifying to progress from 19th on the grid to 12th and finished behind Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso.

At the back of the field, Timo Glock won the battle of the new teams after a tight fight with the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen.

The result means that Mark Webber once again leads the drivers' standings by five points from Lewis Hamilton with Fernando Alonso jumping to third, a point ahead of Jenson Button.