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GP Week : Issue 99
Team-By-Team: Italian Grand McLaren arrived in Monza as the hot favourites for the victory and it was therefore no surprise that there was a somewhat downbeat tone in their motorhome post-race. Despite leading the first stint, Button had to settle for second at the end having lost a place during the pitstops, although the team believes it was still the right call to pit when they did. Title leader Hamilton didn't even make it as far as the first pitstop after damaging his car in contact with Felipe Massa at the second chicane. Coming away from their weakest track on the calendar with the lead in the drivers' championship retaken and their constructors' championship lead extended by two points was a pleasing result for Red Bull. Webber was highly frustrated by Nico Hulkenberg's defensive tactics and although he got by eventually he was unable to close in on Rosberg in time for fifth. After working through a bizarre brake problem that he thoughgt were engine dramas, (see separate story) Vettel had a long first stint to thank for taking fourth. He pitted on the second-last lap for tyres and stayed ahead of Rosberg to close in on Webber in the title fight. A fantastic start from ninth on the grid catapulted Kubica into fifth place by the end of the first lap, but unfortunately he was unable to keep the place until the finish after losing three spots during the pitstop phase. He could have finished sixth but was caught out by Webber and Hulkenberg when the latter emerged from the pitlane on lap 37 and was unable to mount a challenge thereafter. Team-mate Petrov finished outside the points in 13th after a poor qualifying. Under the circumstances, he did well to climb from 20th. Mercedes GP scored another double points finish, with Rosberg and Schumacher finishing fifth and ninth respectively, an outcome team principal Ross Brawn called "respectable" having started 7th and 12th on the grid. Rosberg was happy to have got back ahead of Kubica in the championship, but was disappointed to have dropped a place to Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps. Schumacher had a superb start to thank for his points-scoring afternoon. He jumped to eighth, but was soon passed by Webber where he stayed until the chequered flag. Williams continued to close in on Force India in the constructors' championship with its third double points finish of the year, albeit only seventh and tenth. Hulkenberg called his race "tough but rewarding" after fighting all day long with one or the other Red Bull, eventually ceding to Webber in the final few laps. Barrichello finished where he began in tenth and had a quick pitstop to thank for jumping Buemi to get the final point. With five races remaining, Williams lie just 11 points behind Force India in the fight for sixth in the constructors' championship. Fernando Alonso could scarcely have hoped for a better weekend to get his championship hopes back on track, after taking pole position, victory and fastest lap and having seen chief title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber fail to score significant points. Other than a poor start, Alonso was utterly flawless and took full advantage of Button pitting before him to pass him on lap 37, before taking the win three seconds clear. Team-mate Massa was his rear-gunner throughout, but was unable to pass Button to make it a Ferrari 1-2. 36