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Alonso wins Italian Grand Prix as McLaren blink first in pits
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Alonso wins Italian Grand Prix as McLaren blink first in pits
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Sep 2010   |  3:16 pm GMT  |  154 comments

Fernando Alonso took an emotional victory in today’s Italian Grand Prix, on his Monza debut with Ferrari.

It was his 24th career victory, which puts him equal with the great Juan Manuel Fangio and perhaps more importantly, puts him right back in the championship hunt with five races to go. He is now just 21 points behind Mark Webber, who regained the lead today.

Alonso won his 24th career victory (Ferrari)

“It’s a very special win, ” said Alonso. I’ve been on the Monza podium before with all those people supporting Ferrari but to imagine myself on the top of the podium with all the Ferrari flags, it feels great.

“I can only compare it to 2006, my win in Barcelona. I touched Jenson’s car in the first corner, it was very stressful. I thought maybe the car will be damaged. But everything was fine.

“Our chance to be champions or not will not depend on the others, we need to find consistency and more podiums.”

Alonso won the race thanks to pit strategy and being ready to attack when Button unexpectedly pitted before him. The McLaren mechanics were 0.8 sec slower on the stop than the Ferrari mechanics, but Button feels the race was lost on his out lap on the hard tyre.

Pre-race expectations had suggested that the soft tyre would be able to last quite a long time, Vettel got them to last until almost the end of the race. The leaders went well beyond half distance and timing when to change them was what decided the outcome.

Jenson Button got the best start and held the lead for 37 laps, but he blinked first, pitted for new tyres and Alonso nicked the win with a stunning lap on worn soft tyres, to undercut the McLaren driver when he stopped a lap later.

Button won the start, holding his line into Turn 1 to lead Alonso, meanwhile the Spaniard had a very determined attack from his team mate to fend off. Alonso’s nose tapped Button’s diffuser in the middle of the first chicane and part of the diffuser few off.

As Alonso and Massa battled on the run to the second chicane, Lewis Hamilton had a run down the inside of Massa and the Ferrari tagged his front right wheel, sending him out of the race. Hamilton was clearly not thinking of the championship when he made that move, it was optimistic to say the least. Hamilton took the full blame, he hasn’t made many mistakes this season but this was a bad one,
“I’m disappointed with myself and sorry for the team. I had a good start, up to fourth and I should have stayed there. I tried to put my car up the inside and I lost position, ” said a crestfallen Hamilton.

Both Red Bull cars again made poor starts; Mark Webber got stuck in no -man’s land, dropping from 4th to 9th, while Vettel lost places to Rosberg, Kubica and Hulkenberg. The two Mercedes made great starts, Rosberg climbing to 4th to 7th, Schumacher from 12th to 8th.

Alonso started attacking Button early on, using his straight line speed advantage, while Massa stayed with them. Rosberg held the Red Bull cars behind him, a gap opening up to the leading trio, of almost a second a lap.

Massa was able to drop out of the slipstream of Alonso’s car and then close up by three tenths in the first sector, indicating that the Ferrari was a faster car than the McLaren in the sectors which feature the straights.

Button was faster in the middle sector and it was enough to prevent a challenge from Ferrari. Button pressed home his advantage around lap 11/12 lapping half a second per lap faster than Alonso, mostly in the middle sector.

The tyres on the Ferrari didn’t like following in the wake of the McLaren and Alonso dropped to 1.5 secs behind.

But the speed was still there as demonstrated by Alonso setting the fastest lap of the race to that point on lap 16.

Alonso closed up the gap as the pit stops approached. Meanwhile Webber was able to pass Vettel for P7, Vettel complaining that his engine was dying on him. But the following lap he set a personal best lap time, having been able to sort the problem by changing settings.

Button lost time behind the Virgin car of Glock, allowing Alonso to close up, but the Spaniard couldn’t get close enough to pass.

An ambulance was in the pit lane around lap 27-30 to attend to a technician in the Hispania garage, who was working on Yamamoto’s car when the Japanese drove off.

The decisive moment came on lap 36 when Button stopped, defying predictions that he could stay out longer than Alonso. He lost the lead a lap later when Alonso made his stop. He came on the radio to ask why they had brought him in, to which they rather lamely replied that the hard tyre was faster, a number cruncher’s decision not a racing one.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh argued that the data from Kubica’s car on the hard tyres showed that they were faster, hence the decision and that whatever they had done, Alonso would have beaten Button today.

They expected the new hard tyre to be faster than the worn soft on Alonso’s car – they were wrong. Button was incredibly magnanimous after the race,

“I spent the whole race looking in my mirrors, trying to judge how far Fernando was behind,” said Button. “We pitted one lap early, which possibly was a mistake. The team thought the prime tyre was quicker than the option and they were right, but I couldn’t get the prime going on the out lap. I don’t think it was the right call, but when you have 0.5 sec lead, it’s difficult. Today we had a quick car, but these guys had the edge.”

Webber attacked and passed Hulkenberg on lap 51, putting him sixth, still two places lower than he started.

Vettel stayed out the longest of anyone on the soft tyre, pitting only at the start of the final lap. The tactic worked and he held on to fourth place.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, Monza, 53 laps
1. Alonso Ferrari 1h16:24.572
2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 2.938
3. Massa Ferrari + 4.223
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 28.193
5. Rosberg Mercedes + 29.942
6. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 31.276
7. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth + 32.812
8. Kubica Renault + 34.028
9. Schumacher Mercedes + 44.948
10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:04.200
11. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:05.00
12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes + 1:06.100
13. Petrov Renault + 1:18.900
14. De la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
17. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
18. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 2 laps
19. Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
20. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps

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Typical poor pit strategy by RBR for Webber, but a very good drive by him. Managing to actually overtake cars without crashing, something his teammate cannot do.


I think this whole tyre change rule is a farce. I mean a soft tyre should not last an entire race! Why did Massa make it hard for Alonso at the first corner? Isnt he the no 2 driver anyways?


Because if he backed up, Lewis would be in front in the first corner...


Exactly - after all, I'm sure Ferrari could have sorted out the order later on - if Fernando was faster of course... Do you understand the message?!!


Can't blame the tire suppliers. With limited sets allowed, they have to make the tires last whole weekend.


I don't know what the hell Massa was trying. May be he was trying to show he was the quicker of the two on this day. It could have ended very badly.


Bridgestone is laughing at F1, we saw in Hungary an today we saw in Italy, that tyre is a joke, an entire race with the soft tyres? Unbelievable!! I hope Pirelli wants a show for next season, Bridgestone has been dishonest with the entertainment part of the F1.


Indeed, how dare Bridgestone try to use their participation in F1 to actually showcase their technology?

Don't they realise that it's their duty is to make tyres that fall apart after 10 laps and just deal with the resulting bad publicity and reputational damage?

How complacent and lazy of them to actually keep working hard on improving the durability and quality of their products, despite pulling out of the sport in just a few weeks.


Your are right that the conditions for Bridgestone to produce soft options is limited by pr and security issues, but they can do both if they could reproduce what we saw in Montreal, I hope Pirelli understands this.


Totally agree, they are only concerned about the public perception of the quality of their tyres, not the sport. I only hope Pirelli has a little more respect for us


I agree entirely. BRIDGESTONE have really screwed up this year, in their tyre design, both for F1 and also for MOTOGP. When a

"soft" tyre lasts for 52 laps, its not that soft.

Same applies to MOTOGP, where most riders use the soft option for the race.

In MOTOGP, the front tyre compounds seem to be too hard, as seen by the number of front end crashes this year.

I think the idea of a single tyre supplier is not good for racing.

BRIDGESTONE have succeeded in becoming single tyre supply for both series, and they are too complacemnt now. Competition improves the breed, and they have no competition.

Be nice to see the end of them this year in F1.


After all those laps of close driving from Alonso and Button, I'd far prefer to have seen Alonso actually overtake on the track & prove he could do it after the Germany carveup. But there we go! Keeps it interesting at the top...


I repeat, there is a well-known difference between bravery and temerity.


I don't think he would have, Jenson is far too smart which he showed during the first half of the race. Alonso was close but didn't even have an overtaking attempt, Button knew that if he opened up a big enough gap during his fast sector every lap the Ferrari wouldn't get close enough on the straights to have a go.


James I think I heard this season that a driver who cut a chicane 3 times get a drive trough penalty,I do not remember which race was,am I right?


Well, that's what everybody thought, but in Spanish TV marc Gene was talking all the time about not doing better lap times. hat would be the reason why Hulk wasn't penalized and they did it with Alguersuari.


I have heard the same comment on Spanish TV. By the way, horrible broadcast today: they paused for commercials just in the moment when Jenson was about to pit, so we missed Alonso's overtaking!!


I was also watching in Spain today. Absolutely diabolical coverage, I think there were adverts on all the time there was something interesting going on! And talk about partisan commentary!!



Try watching F1 with the BBC commentary. Alonso got Pole yesterday and all they talked about was Hamilton and Button.

And they love bashing Ferrari. They always make snide remarks.


Speed's coverage(USA) is the same,commercials every 5 laps,I always have my laptop with the race on so I do not miss anything.


Looking at the previous article, James, it seems Alonso actually executed what presumably Jens planned to do to him. The team brought him in because he started to fade. You could see that over the last two laps before pitting, the Ferrari was up on his back. I dont think the team has just picked a lap to bring him in by throwing bones or pointing the sky or whatsoever. Jens's tyre were gone, but how to know how much life left in the Ferrari's?


That's probably the likeliest explanation, otherwise McLaren have made a basic error, especially knowing that Jenson struggles to to warm his tyres up.


If he could manage to build 3-5 sec gap, he would have the comfort to pit whenever he liked. But he didn't. alonso likes to say: there is no strategy to compensate a slower car...


Totally agree! When your pace is good, your race is easy. When not, everything falls apart and people starts searching someone to blame, bad decisions, bad luck and all sorts of things!


Accident during the pitstop of Sakon Yamamoto:


I hope the guy is ok now.


It certainly isn't a minor accident!


A great drive by Alonso today. He deserved his victory. Button was unlucky, who knows what would have happened had he not damaged his car at the start of the race. Hamilton's incident was a shame, but it only makes the rest of the championship more exciting. I thought he was very honest in his comments after the race, something not all drivers would be.


Fully agree with you. I was surprised with Lewis' comments, blaming himself and somehow begging pardon from the Team.


A few observations.

1. Hamilton is McLaren's 'Crash Kid'. His idiotic behaviour could have resulted in a serious collision. Imagine if he had locked wheels with Massa.

2. Button is a sulk.

3. McLaren has once again been comprehensively out-strategised by Ferrari, as has generally been the case for over a decade.

4. Hulkenberg was very fortunate to avoid a penalty. What did Alguersuari do that was different?


Further observations.

5. Vettel is the real Mr 'Silky Smooth'. And he certainly put in a Prost-like performance.

6. Alonso was definitely Prost-esque. He dropped back slightly after the early laps in order to preserve his tyres, and piled on the pace when it was necessary. An example that many other drivers who people label as 'complete' could learn from.

7. The Renaults were a massive disappointment, especially after the Spa performances.



In case you forgot, Hamilton WON at Spa!

Not sure why you are discussing "nearly crashes" but the fact that Hamilton did not hit the barriers at Spa shows again that he is a world class driver. And as one of the BBC commentators said, had the barrier been any closer, Hamilton would obviously have gone slower!


I seem to recall Hamilton saying something about God being responsible.


1. Alonso could be described as a “Crash kid” as he has had more driving incidents and made more mistakes than Hamilton. And Hamilton’s racing incident was just that. I don’t see any dangerous driving in such an incident as you are trying to imply.

2. Where is your evidence that Button is a sulk? Many commentators have said that Jenson has been relaxed and added a new dimension to the McLaren team with his relaxed approach to driving. The same could not be said for Alonso with his numerous outbursts over the radio.

3. Many have commented on F1 websites this season how Ferrari have been out strategised by McLaren this season McLaren have managed to remain in the title hunt for the WDC and WCC with an underperforming car (and without team orders!). Look what happened at Spa. I recall there were strategy errors by Ferrari with Alonso’s tyre choice.


Alonso has been in F1 for longer than Hamilton, so if he actually has had more accidents then that would not suggest any deficiencies in his abilities.



You did not specify that you were referring to this year. As you have now done so, I think you should recall that Hamilton was an inch or so of crashing into a barrier at Spa. So clearly his season has not been as error-free as you think.

Given his track record, it was great to see Hamilton finally accept responsibility for his actions.


I was referring to the number of driving errors and crashes by Alonso in the current WDC season for being the "Crash kid" of Ferrari. Hamilton has made fewer but was quick to admit that his crash at Monza was the result of his driving error. Hamilton's quick honesty should be appreciated don't you think?


I think you'll find his comments related to this season...Australia, Monaco & Spa spring to mind, all driver errors.


Well on the subject of McLaren it seems that out of the 3 teams competing this season they're the only ones who haven't been cheating. Ferrari and the blatant team orders debacle in Germany and Red Bull's front wing flexing issues which everyone knows breaks the rules.


Have you forgot abt the f-duct. Every other team on the grid felt it was illegal and that's why it's banned next year. The fact is over the past few years it's mclaren who have cheated by stealing information for another car and using it to improve their car and then lien to get an other car kicked out. The worst type of cheating possible in my view



If you re-read what I said, then you will see that I was not criticising McLaren in anyway. My criticism was directed at journalists and fans who have clear double standards with issues such as these.


The F-duct is NOT a moving aerodynamic device and is therefore 100% legal, the air scoop part is fixed to a part of the car where adding extra bodywork is allowed and the entire system is rigidly fixed to the sprung part of the car. What you seem to forget is McLaren went to the FIA before the first race of the season for clarification that it was legal to have it. Other teams complained because they hadn't thought of it first. Red Bull on the other hand have been cheating by using a movable aerodynamic part designed to withstand the FIA's inadequate load tests but flex greatly under racing conditions.



You say that you "never felt the need to criticise any team that obeys rules to the letter rather than to the spirit" but then you go on to do exactly that and critcize McLaren by reporting it in the third person by saying "It would appear that McLaren is guily of doing likewise, but such behaviour is clearly more acceptable for a team such as McLaren."

It might come as a shock but Ferrari are no better. They are very adept at protecting their own self interest. And to prove that Ferrari are not angels, we cannot forget their secret technical veto!


Strictly speaking, what Mr Johnson states is correct. However, in principle the implentation of the so-called F-Duct is no different to the use of the throttle-management system that Ferrari was constantly derided for using in the period when traction control was banned. Back then, many journalists and fans condemned Ferrari for observing the rules to the letter rather than the spirit. It would appear that McLaren is guily of doing likewise, but such behaviour is clearly more acceptable for a team such as McLaren.

Personally, I have never had a problem with either case and therefore have never felt the need to criticise any team that obeys rules to the letter rather than to the spirit.


The F Duct is clever innovation by McLaren. If it was cheating it would have been banned by FIA during the current season. The teams chose to ban it from next season for different reasons.

I think you will find other teams have cheated including Ferrari by stealing secrets from other teams. A former technical director at Ferrari confessed to friends that he had led a break-in at the Williams team garage at Hockenheim in the summer of 1980.


Well if you are to take Martin Whitmarsh at his word, last week he stated that the team wanted to bring Jenson Button back into the title fight and they seem to have achieved that quite handsomely by needlessly putting Lewis on a setup that was always going to make the sort thing that happened very likely and getting Jens to some good speed. I would say you can't fault McLaren - they acheived what they set out to achieve much the same way Ferrari did the same thing.

As the argument has been raging all week - this is a team sport - so what the fans may consider unwise is not necessarily so in the eyes of the team. I think McLaren did well today. Lewis can go and cry into his pillow tonight but he had a chance for fourth and blundered it - you can't blame McLaren for that can you? But have to agree with you - points wise, Ferrari outsmarted McLaren - and of course you right - how otherwise could Michael Schumacher have won 7 titles.


As I understand it, it was Lewis's call, not the teams.


What? first, Lewis is using the Monza package and Jenson is using the standard package. And Lewis himself is choosing the Monza package which supposed to be the better package for Monza.

Let me ask you, which team use their standard package at Monza? HRT? The problem is McLaren underestimate their own f-duct. While other top teams have low DF package with f-duct, McLaren have either low DF without f-duct (which produce one of the best top speed!) and standard package with f-duct (which produce one of the lowest top speed!). Probably if McLaren have low DF with the f-duct, both drivers would choose that.

Again, other teams (excluding HRT) use their Monza package (with or without f-duct). Button is the odd one here.

The fact that Lewis didn't score any points today is his own fault and not the team scheming to put Button in a better position.


My problem with the Monza set up is that McLaren and specifically Lewis complained about it making the car unstable AFTER and not BEFORE qualifying. This for me was curious for if Lewis had felt the sliding in the three practises on Friday and Saturday morning the team would have noticed that despite that package being just a fast as the higher downforce package, it had the major disadvantage of making it more likely for running off the track at the chicanes or having a crash for a car trying to make up places on late breaking into the corners because of the car's instability.

The team's statement on Saturday morning was that this was Hamilton's choice - so his whining after the quali was a bit confusing. Nonetheless, it was still the teams' responsibility to call the best strategy for their championship leader. Besides as indicated by Whitmarsh, this was the more aggressive and therefore riskier of the two setups - was the risk worth it? Clearly with hindsight the answer is nope.


Blaming Whitmarsh for Lewis inability to get through the first lap this weekend is really weak. Lewis blew it plain and simple. It happens to even the best drivers.


I am definitely blaming Lewis for breaking his suspension - that is for sure. Looking at the video, he did not even try evasive actions - after realising that the Ferrari was already in the space he wanted his McLaren to be in, he could still have steered to the left and fallen safely behind Massa - but he didn't.


1.) A litle bit harsh, as 9 times out of ten they would have rubbed wheel and side pod and kept racing (it happens a lot)

2.) Please explain how this is the case?

3.) With one driver out, and another driving a damaged car that finished 3 seconds behind thats a bit of a bold statement. McLaren made a marginally bad call and Fernando was able to make up enough time to get just ahead of Jenson out of the pit. So well done Fernando and Ferrari. I dont think you can claim they have outwitted McLaren consistently of late. I must have been watching different racing...

4.) I dont disagree.


Do we suppose you're not a McLaren fan then?


What is with the McLaren pitwall calling these kind of decisions? Even at Spa, when Lewis wanted to come in, they decided against it & had it not been for luck (yes, luck indeed!) Lewis wouldn't have finished P1. Seems the haven't learnt all they could from China 2007.

Overall, I think Jenson did a brilliant job & so did Fernando. I feel bad for Lewis and you are apt in saying he clearly wasn't thinking about the championship. In situations like these & Fuji 2008, when the fight for the championship is becoming intense, James, do you think the pressure gets to him?

RBR were fun to watch today, with Mark & Hulk and also Vettel pitting on the last lap.

I think it will be Hamilton vs Webber all the way.


I don't think Spa was the wrong call. It was certainly raining harder further out on the circuit that it was in the pits at the time - don't forget Spa is interesting as it's distance stretches out quite far, as opposed to other circuits running within themselves. McLaren, like Renault and RBR at the time, felt they should be able to get another lap in, and leave the switch to the last minute to prevent the intermediate tyres from overheating, as they had been doing.

Unfortunately further out, the circuit was soaked, and Lewis was lucky. He got there first, Kubica and Webber would have seen him slide and adjusted their speed as much as possible.


I simply don´t understand McL strategy. I thought the idea was for Jense, with his famous smoothness and high downforce package, to make his tyres go further than Fernando. If Junior could make them last the race, so could Jense.

Were his tyres in fact going ? Didn´t see any evidence, but I´m off home base and can´t check much. Was it his call or the team´s ?

Seems to me that McL blew it.


McLaren thought that fresh hard tyres would be faster than Ferrari's worn soft tyres. There was a reasonable basis for this - Kubica was faster after stopping for hard tyres. Had Button matched Alonso's in lap, McLaren matched Ferrari in the pits and Button produced a better out lap, he could have won the race.

McLaren could have kept Jenson out much longer, as Red Bull did with Vettel. But Alonso would simply have pitted and started closing the gap to Button in clean air with fresh tyres before jumping the McLaren when it eventually pitted. Button may even have lost second place to Massa.

Vettel's long stint only paid off because he was faster than Rosberg and pulled out a gap. Alonso was faster than Button, so McLaren could only have won by maintaining track position.



Alguersuari got a drive through for cutting the chicane but Hulkenburg with other cars closely following him did not get a scrutiny in either of the three times that he cut the corner. Is RBR looking into that and pushing it forward to the stewards? What's your take on the situation?


i thought the same thing. Jaime did it once and got a penalty where as Nico pushed the boundaries quite a few times (bizarrely he admitted this in a post race interview). But RBR have nothing to gain from trying to get Nico a penalty as Webber did eventually pass him. Just pathetic that the rules are so inconsistent.


James, heres the video of the accident of HRT



I think today Button drove a very brave race and got everything right for almost 2/3 of the race. The team clearly called it wrong today to bring him in before Alonso. Had he stayed out longer, I really think it could have been one of Button best victories.

Anyway, the Ferraries were incredibly fast today.


Surely Button's best chance with Alonso right on his tail was to come in on the same lap as Alonso. Pitting together, he would have the best chance or retaining his led.


schumacher at the start from 12 to 7.

got past by vettel after lesmo


You can watch Hispania's pit accident in this link below but I warn you it is not nice to watch.


I still do not understand the lolly pop giving the green light with a mechanic over the car.

Hope he is well.

Any update on this James?


That guy shouldn't be in a f1 car. It's a shame he is in Inhead of chandok or klien who are both lots better. He was terrible in his other spells in f1 aswell


You've got to take into account the visibility or lack of it Yamamoto would have, the blame lies with the person who released him from the pit.


Must say, Ferrari needed this victory and it is well deserved. Kudos to Button for making this race very interesting. Vettel and Hamilton swapped personalities for one race as it seems))) Ferrari is indestructable, proven once again)


A real nail-biter of a race! A great shame for Hamilton and us that he made that mistake, though 5 points deficit isn't the end of the world - bad for the team, though. Great drives from Jenson and Fernando and let's not forget Massa & Rosberg.

James, do you think it would be a good idea to publish a chart showing the state of the various teams regarding engine use? It must surely affect the end run if the drivers run out of engines at the critical point and a bad run of blow-ups even early in the season might affect the way they use the remaining units.


totally agree

james we need to know exactly what the engine situation is as webber and alonso are both on engine 8 .

surely this is going to decide the championship now

not who has the fastest car ,but who has most fresh engines

left .



Why is it a shame for "us"? Had he followed Schumacher's example in the latter's battle wit Webber then the incident would have been avoided. Hamilton is clearly not the complete driver that so many people were claiming after Spa.


No driver is infallible but he has certainly made very few driving errors in the current season and that's one reason why he is second in the WDC table. Some believe also that he is out performing his McLaren car to get this many points.


Another reason is because Jenson is his rear gunner.


When I said "It was a shame for us" the main assumption I was making was that the sight of four drivers fighting would have been better than three and what do we watch F1 for, in part, if not for that? I see no fault in bemoaning the fact that the race lost a driver, whom, no matter if you like him or not, normally adds a great deal to the spectacle and excitement.

I'm glad you take my point, Nando and I'd agree with you that it was Ham's fault entirely - and he was the driver who lost most by it, so justice was served. There was no pass there.


It was a shame for the spectacle of the race.


"The race was almost a procession without Hamilton."

Mark Webber would beg to differ. Oh, and I am pretty sure that Hamilton did make an overtaking attempt on Massa.


I agree. The race was almost a procession without Hamilton. I'm sure Hamilton would have made at least a few overtaking attempts on Massa and possibly Button.


Wouldn't you agree that it was good for the championship?


There is no doubt that it was 100% Hamilton's fault. I'd rather see the top-drivers finish though, regardless of whether I like them or not, as they can't overtake each other in the gravel trap,


You are making the assumption that he could have kept up with the first three drivers. He is entirely to blame for his retirement from the race.


I'll do a post on engine use soon

Patrick McLaughlin

Any update on the Hispania mechanic ?


I try to translate what I've read at HRT site:(Colin Kolles, Team Principal) "We have had an incident with a team member during Sakon Yamamoto pit-stop. First aid came very soon and took him to the Hospital for a better care. He was conscious at every moment and was able to speak to the Doctor. We wish he gets well very soon."



I am surprised Jenson yielded to the number crunchers. Was it not in China when he made a call when to come in for new tyres and the team wanted him to stay out. As well maybe Mclaren start thinking about making more coded messages, as they blurted out they were going to come in. And this put Ferrari on high alert. I think this cost him 1st place as Alonso knew he could push.


It is not his responsibility to make that decision, it requires fine calculations in a dry track like this. He did excellent job as reckoned by Alonso and the victory was decided by tenths of a second. Besides, pit stop by Ferrari was superb


When he made it his responsability earlier in the season, he won. He should stop listening to the so-called experts on the McLaren pit-wall.


Can't really agree. Pilots are pilots, engineers are engineers and everybody has his task. Besides, everyone in a team as McLaren is one of the best, if not the best, of the world in doing his job.

Discussions like these started in other sites after Spa, but from Ferrari and Alonso's fans. We have to trust the pilots and teams, they are the real experts and I would ask for credit and respect to them. When they do something they have reasons for doing it, even when things turn out bad


Just want to say congrats. F1s original crash kid reclaims his title. Payback for the luck at spa. Beautifull lol hahaha


I'm so gutted! Lewis really need to start THINKING! he should have known better. Massa was the last man to take risk with, he's not fighting for the championship, JESUS! Hope this mistake don't bring him down thought. I really really really want him to win this championship. He still can do it. My money is on him!

Great race from Jenson and the ferraris. Good recovery from Webber and vettel. Btw how come the soft tyre last that long?


I was on the edge of my seat watching Button try to stretch his lead over Alonso and it's too bad to see the win slip away, but it was a great scrap. I wish Hamilton hadn't gone out so early...I think it would have been very interesting to see what the performance variance between his setup and Button's would have been, considering how close they were through parts of qualifying.

So is Flavio actually being welcomed at these F1 events now or is his presence tolerated (or resented)?


It seems that Flavio is being welcomed with open arms, & of course this was the Italian G.P.

Shows what a close bunch they are in F1.

But his appeal against the ban was successful.


James, we need you back on the telly. The BBC team didn't seem to grasp the McLaren pitstop situation. Probably because they were talking over Button's radio comment!


I agree. Any chance of this happening for next season?

As i have said before even if its on the BBC F1 forum. It would make the BBC coverage even better!


Outstanding drives from button and alonso today, I was surprised to see Mclaren pitting first, it was a very close call and easy to say in hindsight that they should have waited for Ferrari to make the first move.

All in all it has made the drivers standings pretty tasty again for the last 5 races!


Brilliant drive by Button.... Alonso was losing his mind that first lap.... He nearly wrecked him and Massa in his haste to not lose more spots.....

Vettel also did very well


I remember last week, a discussion on stereotypes, when commenting the article "Alonso: mistakes, I've made a few..." Someone wrote how Spaniards are seen as very emotional people, and Fernando having trouble precisely because of this point.

Looks like today the Spaniard was the cold one, waiting 37 laps to have his (lucky) chance to overtake Jenson, and the Briton was the emotional one, ruining his race on the very first lap, whe he tried to win too many positions too soon.

I am still astonished with Felipe trying to overtake Alonso on the first cornes. This could have costed both drivers the race. He did not look like a #2 driver!

At the end of the day, we must be happy: we have five drivers again in the fight for the WDC. Being an Alonso fan, I am extremely happy with the result, and looking forward to seeing them racing in Singapore.


Agree that Stereo typing should be avoided. Hamilton made a driving error. That is not being emotional. Erratic outbursts over the radio is!


Erratic outbursts such as the one that we heard in Melbourne from Lewis?


I was this thinking about the many radio outbursts from Alonso including Hockenheim but most especially at Valencia where the BBC commentary team suggested that Alonso was so distracted by hamilton's position that he was failing to concentrate on his own race.


This thing with stereotypes is rather childish in my opinion. Every body in F1 is a professional and the best professionals should have balanced intellect and emotions, there is no other way to deliver at top level. And Alonso is a really cold and controlled person, no idea where this classification of him as a "emotional guy" comes from. Press intoxication I guess.

Also astonished by the risk taken by Massa... it was really close to ruin the weekend, WDC and WCC in one move. I hope he is more relaxed from now on


Alonso has gotten the reputation as emotional from his outbursts on the radio, not knowing him personally I've no idea if this a true reflection on his character when he feels hard done by he's reacted emotionally this season.

Slightly disappointed that you want Massa to yield just because it would favour your preferred driver. Alonso had a poor start and Massa was perfectly entitled to have a go, he was giving Alonso plenty of room and it was Alonso who put the squeeze on.

Thought Alonso was rather fortunate to survive driving into the back of Button, suppose he's been unlucky on other occasions this season.


As for the Massa issue, sure I'm not fan of him. But if I where his team principal I wouldn't be really happy. Alonso started well (I remember you that drivers have little to do during the start, there is not a clutch pedal or something like that) but Jenson and Lewis started REALLY well-> McLaren car and setup maybe have something to do. Massa was not really faster but had the opportunity to progress while Alonso was trying to close the way for Button. Sure it is very confusing during the start, but I think there is no need to go to these extremes to prove your value as a driver. Well it's just my opinion...


Terrible strategy from McLaren. They had track position, all they had to do was wait until Alonso pitted, even if that meant waiting until the last lap. If the hard tyre guys were faster, who cares, they were miles behind. If Jenson had stayed out the only way Ferrari could have changed the situation would have been to pit Massa, but that would have risked Massa jumping Alonso so they weren't likely to do that. Button had Ferrari exactly where he wanted them but McLaren let it go.


Ferrari had nothing to lose by bringing Massa in early, disappointing that Mclaren blinked and didn't force Ferrari to use Massa to force a pit-stop. Thought they'd at least try something to try and get a 1-2 when there was zero downside.


If Ferrari had brought Massa in first that would have created the possibility of having to break the rules again to get him back behind Alonso, given that they thought the hard tyre was faster at the time. I agree that eventually they would have done it based on the fact that McLaren would have to react, but at the very least McLaren should have put Ferrari in a position where they were doing something that wasn't ideal for them.


great race from ferrari and jb but i was very disappointed with lewis move at this point of the championship,he was racing m webber and was way ahead of him, clearly it was about collecting every single point home no matter how you look at it,webber dit pretty well considering the performance problem they had,one more bad situation from any of the top5 drivers and is game over.


Hello James,

I couldn't help but sense that Alonso wasn't as happy a man as one would expect to win Monza on debut for Ferrari.

Again a poor start proved to be his weakness. Of course after that his racing was excellent, bar for that chiance-cutting shenanigan towards the end.

However, somewhere I think he doesn't feel that he 'lead' Ferrari to this victory, but the superior pace and pit-work took him through. His reactions were really suppressed on the podium and even during the press conference.


He is thinking in the races after this and also trying to hide his deep emotion because of the great victory in front of all the people there. He is a shy and cautious person that doesn't like to get euphoric too soon, but I guess this was one of his most pleasant victories


Trust me, when he came into the unilateral TV room after the podium he was very happy.


Another cracker of a race! Even with a minimum of overtaking. I love this sport!


good point, this race was a perfect example of a thrilling race that would have been denied us if it was easy for Alonso to overtake. A masterclass in defensive driving from Button...


Firstly excellent race for Ferrari today. Two solid drives and good points for them.

On Jenson, another good drive from him, and to finish only three seconds behind Fernando today was an excellent result.

He didnt complain about the damage to his car, saying he hardly felt the impact and did not realise until the end of the race.

Monza is definitely on my list of F1 events I want to attend. The venue just reeks of Formula 1 and history.


any update on the injured mechanic? Hope he is OK...


Team say he's not badly hurt. NO more details


Thanks James. A very lucky escape.

Id be surprised if he hasn't broke a couple of ribs. Fingers crossed for him. The impact was big, even over a couple of metres.

I have meant to as previously. What is your favourite race for atmosphere? Monza is always special for me, as is Monaco and silverstone.


I think qualifying at singapore will tell us a whole lot about the rest of the championship. Has RBRs pace been effected by the new FIA tests? Have Mclaren made any gains with their higher downforce configuration? Has Ferrari managed to keep their momentum with their developement? Once these key questions have been answered we will then have a much clearer picture who is in the best position to win the title. Its so close at such a late point in the season, cant wait!!


Congratulations to Jenson Button for the great race (it was not his fault, if the car has got pace and the pit stop works fine almost any strategy works as we saw with Webber in Hungary but this was not the case). He made it impossible for Fernando to overtake on the track and this takes some credit also!

I have to admire his respectful and moderated words to Fernando and clean behaviour on the track. He is a true gentleman that has the respect of the fans every where.


Great result for the championship. Wasn't exactly a classic race Alonso didn't even get close enough to try any sort of pass. Vettel's strategy might lead to a rethink of the rules in Indy Car you've to have at least two full-laps on the hard tyre. Was surprised Schumacher wasn't more ruthless with Webber.

How Hulkenburg escaped censure I don't know, he gained time over taking the corner normally everytime when he should of been losing time after out-braking himself.


I am glad for Alonso today but I have to acknowledge a great driving by Jenson Button.

He did his work, was magnanimous with his team, and seemed sincere complimenting Alonso before the podium. Reminds me of a true sportsman. My appreciation of him has grown during this season. Great job Jenson, and keep it going!


This is my first post here, and I wanted to thank you for this excellent blog and your measured opinions. As an spaniard I am glad to see a british journalist that can remain objective towards Alonso, something that is certainly not the rule in many other british websites or newspapers.

I appreciate your excellent articles and just wanted to share my happiness for an excellent race by Alonso and Button, a driver that has been growing in my heart this year. Excellent performance by both, terrible terrible mistake by Hamilton which always seems to be wanting to make a point about him being aggressive and talented. He is VERY talented, but I am afraid he is much more error prone than Button, for instance.

Keep up the great articles! Last five races will be not for the faint of heart!


Great stuff from Fernando and Massa. Superb crew in the pits.

Button drove a very good race but Ferrari were quicker. Again Jenson showed us he can make good decisions. I am very glad Ferrari is back where they belong.


The lack of a penalty for Hulkenberg was farcical. An absolute joke, and judging by the interview he gave after, even he seemed suprised. Williams will be keen to keep on writing those letters in support of Ferrari after todays events Im sure...

A big error from Hamilton, but it was without doubt fairly unlucky. We see far worse collisions which cars survive - Vettel on Button at Spa being a fairly good example of that...


James, do you know what caused Vettel to slow down his pace for several laps to regain top speed again? He complained, with a pretty emotional and childish voice, on the radio to his engineer about no having engine force, yet nothing happened afterwards.


Red Bull have confirmed it was a brake problem - one of the brakes temporarily remained locked on coming out of Ascari. This meant the car accelerated more slowly than usual leading Vettel to assume an engine problem. The problem didn't happen again, hence Vettel's recovery to normal pace.

Why highlight the tone of Vettel's voice when he told his engineer? He was driving an F1 car at the fastest circuit on the calendar, with his heart rate at levels few of us reach for any period of time, what do you expect him to sound like? Webber hardly sounded laid back when he radioed Red Bull about Hulkenberg.

After the brake problem Vettel didn't put a foot wrong and netted an excellent fourth place. Hardly an emotional or childish performance. It was another driver who lost his championship lead with a needless shunt on the first lap.


The voice was childish and emotional. The driving was excellent. Just to balance those commentaries on latin drivers.


Some time during the Aussie commentary it was mentioned that Vettel's problem was electrical and that the Renault technicians had found a different setting that overcame it


Did anyone see the pass Webber on vettel live? Seems everyone missed it except for the F1 app?

Also anyone have the F1 app or watching the live timing site and the tracker and timing froze a few times during the race but the commentary continued?


Webber's passing move on Vettel was briefly shown as it happened, on the BBC here in Oz. Very straightforward - Vettel moved aside a little as he went by - I assumed their pit had told them both that there was a problem and that Mark needed to keep up his pace rather than stay behind the slowing Vettel.


In the drivers fastest lap there's only 1 second between the top 12, so why did they finish so far apart?


Also don't forget there's 24 drivers on the circuit. It doesn't necessarily mean the top 12 had the 12 fastest laps. The guy in 12th may have finished 15th, held up by a slower car all race and only freed up after a pit stop, or an overtake etc.


A second per lap over 53 laps equates to the best part of a minute during the course of the race. Then you have to factor in the fact that not all drivers will maintain their relative pace throughout the race and the field spread from the first lap.

Also consider that the fastest cars in the race (Alonso, Button, Massa) probably backed off a bit later in the race when the fuel loads are lowest and their cars were at their fastest. Whereas other drivers were pushing hard right to the very end.


A first class drive by Jenson Button. Very unlucky not to win.


Alonso was discernibly faster, and clearly had plenty in reserve. Button and Hamilton should have finished in first and secon places - the results can be viewed as nothing other than pure disaster for McLaren.


A second place is great result but using your yardstick, Ferrari have had a dreadful season, sacrificing Massa's motivation for Alonso.

Given the volatility in results this season, no race is guaranteed as you suggest but this result means that McLaren have TWO drivers in contention for the WDC.


Jenson Coulthard and Lewis de Cesaris were no match for Alonso - deal with it!


Alonso had the attitude "its not over yet, I wont give up' when Ferrari had their troubles a few months back. I took it as standard F1 driver nonsense, fair play to the guy, he's right and done well!


This race was more exiting with following live timing parallel. It was interesting to see how the laptimes are building up with the different performances in three sectors.

Jenson was King of the middle sector with the higher downforce which almost worked out for him.


I think some of this in the early part of the race was that it was the hardnest part of the track for fernando to follow him. The two lesmos are narrow tight corners and the dirty air was killing fernando through there but I agree it was buttons best sector


On a side note, the Santander trophies are awful. Sponsor the race, fine. Put the name on the trophy, ok. But who thought it was a good idea to let them have their logo as the trophy? If Coca Cola sponsored a race, you wouldn't be impressed with being presented with a big Coke can. Who wants a trophy cabinet full of bank logos?

Ok, I do, but that's not my point. I want nice looking trophies back. Get local artists, designers etc. Let's have something nice and not just a multitude of Santander logos.

*Discalmer, other banks are available.


Did anyone find the race boring? Soft type that could last almost the whole race? They should do something about that.


Very exciting and enjoyable race today like most at Monza. The battle between Alonso and Jens was unreal for the whole race. McLaren, I dont think, had to bring JB in and it cost them the race and Alonso was ruthless in taking his chance. His form today and yeaterday in quali is ominous for the other rivals and if Ferrari can perform like this in the next couple of races you'd have to fancy him as the biggest threat to RBR. On this form he's the best driver on the grid, no doubt. Poor mistake by Hamilton today which could cost him dearly,like in 07.


Button should have won, McLaren had the best car, the best engine in F1 and a track that suits them.

Alonso drove like in he did in 2006. I think he would have won more comfortably in the McLaren, with Button driving the Ferrari.


Well done Alonso, but isn’t it a shame that in a season where we’ve seen a return to pure racing and overtaking, that yet another F1 win was decided by a pit stop? Good that we got rid of fuel stops for this year, now if we could only get rid of mandatory tyre stops, there might have a chance of returning Grand Prix racing to how it was designed to be. We end up on all these forums talking about rules and strategy (and team orders). With all that talent on the grid at present , I am f—ing fed up with watching races decided by a guy with a computer in a garage.


Pit stops have been in F1 since 1950's so not sure were you are coming from !!


Of course they have been Paul, but it was not enforced by 'the rules'. It was the choice of the driver, or his team if they 'signaled' him to stop, or because of a wet/dry track change situation, whether to make that stop. Vettel showed yesterday that one set of tyres can last a whole race these days (shock, horror!). This is called progress, something the tyre industry should be proud of. Call me old fashioned, but I like MOTOR RACING, not chess. I just don't think this 'manipulating of the event' is adding anything anymore, and as proved by the Hispania team yesterday - it's bloody dangerous. Isn't it time we just let those boys RACE...?


Finally, a proper win for Alonso! Congratulations Nando!!!

Loved Alonso's overtaking maneuver right through the first chicane, which evidently was aided from his pit stop.

Forza Ferrari.

Overall the race was exciting but a notch below Spa.

If Alonso's momentum from Monza is brought forward to the last 5 races he stands a very good chance for the WDC.

Only concern is his last engine being used. Fingers crossed for Nando.

Hamilton disappointed many of his fans with his rash move, he needs to look at the big picture like Nando and seek Button's advise. ( James, Lewis failed to gather more points.)

Am also impressed with Vettel's drive. A lot calmer.

Poor Kobayashi, didn't expect his retirement.

It's back to the 5 horse run. No more two. Fantastic for F1 fans.

Here comes SINGAPORE!



I would like to know the following:

1. Were Monza kerbs revised from last year?

2. I noticed a complete change in Alonso's driving style. He was a lot more gentle with the car as opposed to what he was in previous seasons when he was known to be an aggressive in turn-ins, so much so that Ron Dennis (when he signed in for Mclaren) had said that they had designed a special suspension to facilitate Alonso's aggressive driving style. And Michael Schumacher at the start of the season had indicated that coz' of the revised rules for 2010 (where refuelling was banned) tyre management was crucial and anyone who can manage their tyres well will stand the chance of winning. So the is change in Alonso's driving style adopted for better tyre management? For I've been noticing that during his pitstops his tyres were in better shape then compared to others. If so, then why is he not adopting a strategy of stopping later than others and making up places?

Your insight would be appreciated.


Mo Kahn.


Alonso changed with type of driving when he arrived McLaren because of the change of tyres from michelin to bridgestone. He couldn't be so aggresive as he was with the michelins.

This year he have to be less agressive because of the tyre maintenance.

Anyway, Alonso is not a child crash so you must compare his attitude to Button or other drivers, not to Hamilton, who is no doubt more spectacular, but sometimes it doesn't work.

I love this madure driving.


1. Yes
2. You're right, he's evolved an almost two part turn in to the corner where he makes a small initial turn to set the car and get the tyre working, then turns in. I think it may be here that he has found his advantage over Massa


Quite interesting!


I noticed Alonso giving Jenson a nice squeeze at the start - almost over the white line. Were these the lines the commentators kept saying were not to be crossed? If so how close to a penalty was Alonso here?


You cannot cross the line when you go out the pits but yes when you're racing. I think.

Anyway, this has be done by many drivers and there were no penalty. Example: Vettel to Alonso at Hockenhem.

Alonso is that type of drivers as Webber or Schumacker that not being dirty they are very hard.


I think that has to be the dumbest strategy decision by McLaren so far this season. When you have another driver that close to you over such a long period of the race, that normally means he is 0.2/0.4 seconds faster depending upon the track. Pitting first would always mean that you were going to lose that amount or more depending upon the laps stayed out. To throw away this advantage for something of a prediction on the hards, where they know the uncertainty is so high to make the whole decision ridiculous. Go back and have a look at the segment times for the important bits, factor in the pit stops and Button had a good chance of retaining track position, especially as he would be holding the inside line. Just what wishy washy thinking is actually going on in McLaren?


Both team principals have said either way Alonso was likely to get passed. This is due to Button's inability to build a gap. Alonso let it get out to 1.5sec for a few laps but then got it back down. The only way for Button to have a chance to stay in front would have been to pit at the same time but how does he do that when Alonso is behind ? If Alonso pits first, hes on fresh tires and is no longer held up by Button, so he goes faster and builds that necessary gap.

Lets not forget that Ferrari pulled off an amazing pit stop that was 0.8sec faster than McLaren. That got them a few meters in front of Button. So in all honesty, McLaren were that close to getting it right.


With quite a bit of talk on expanding the calender has there been any talk of extending certain races? Again Monza was quick done in hour and a quarter (bit quicker than last year I think).

What happended to the 2 hour races or at least close to that (I know there are TV contract issues). I feel sorry for those who went to the track not getting their money worth. Why don't they increase the number of laps?

Any thoughts would be great.


I honestly hope that (but doubt) that some of the new tracks break away from this. Austin, for example, could lengthen their track considering all the room they have to work with. I know its not ideal for fans who want to see most of the track from a single viewpoint but all the tracks should not be similar in length. I'd love to have a track that took 2 1/2min+ (or 3min+?) to complete, that would be epic. Again, bad for the ticket holder but that would be amazing I think and incredibly challenging. Plus, if you missed out on pitting, you'd be seriously disadvantaged but hey, that makes for better, more unpredictable races.


Why are the Red bulls so bad at the starts compared to others especially Mercedes. I am starting to expect a poor start from Webber every race. Could there be some kind of technical advantage/disadvantage?

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