by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 99
Fernando Alonso was hailed as a king as he stood arms aloft on Monza's podium, elevated above the Autodromo's start/finish straight, packed with fans waving Ferrari flags and climbing over the railings. It had been a superb win, taken from rivals McLaren thanks to a super quick 3.4 second pit-stop. Starting from Ferrari's first pole since Brazil 2008, Alonso lost out to P2 man Jenson Button and the pair touched as they squeezed through the first chicane: "I thought something had broken so I was cautious for the next two laps," explained Alonso, who also traded paint with team-mate Felipe Massa. Despite running a higher downforce aero configuration, Button couldn't lose the Ferraris through the corners. On the straights, with a top speed 10km/h slower than Alonso, he was open to attack and it was "mentally draining" for the Briton to nail the final corner, the Parabolica, perfectly every time so as to maintain the necessary gap. Nevertheless, he made no mistakes. Lewis Hamilton lost his lead in the championship when he made an error on Lap 1, clouted Massa's car at the second chicane, and went shooting off the track with a broken front- right wishbone. He was furious with himself, stomping back to the pits with his helmet on, in no mood to talk to reporters. Button pitted on Lap 36, one lap earlier than Alonso, which he later admitted was "the wrong call". Said Alonso: "When we saw Jenson coming in, there was one lap to push and rely on the mechanics. I think the lap was more or less okay, nothing special, but the pitstop was superb". Not only was Jenson's stop 0.8 seconds slower than Fernando's, he struggled on fresh tyres on his outlap, just as the Spaniard was setting purple sectors. "I looked in my mirror as I exited the pitlane and saw Jenson was a long way back," said Alonso. "I thought good, the position is ours, but I forgot he was coming at me at 340km/h. We were side-by-side at the first corner. When I pressed the throttle at the exit I nearly lost it." Button said his runner-up result was still "great", given the boost its given to his championship standing, but added "obviously I'm disappointed not to be on the top step," and as he said that, you could hear the lump in his throat. He really thought he had this one in the bag. Sixth place was enough to promote Mark Webber to the title lead, though the big gains have, of course, been made by Alonso and Button. With victory worth 25 points, third-placed Alonso is now 21 off the lead, and Button a single point behind him. But Massa warns that Ferrari and McLaren will have their work cut out if they're to beat Red Bull Racing at the next two races.: "If you compare Monza to the tracks that are coming up, it's completely different. Singapore is like Monaco, and Suzuka is like Silverstone. Red Bull loves these kinds of circuits." Alonso's hat-trick of pole, win and fastest lap makes Monza the first perfect weekend for a driver since Sebatian Vettel's performance last year at Silverstone. As for winning for Ferrari first time out in Italy, Alonso was glowin: "It's something I can only compare with winning my home grand prix at Barcelona in 2006," Alonso said. ""t was a very special moment, and this one is a very special moment as well. It's a fantastic feeling." F1 MONZA >>