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GP Week : Issue 133
Team-By-Team: Italian Grand Prix, Monza Second place was the maximum McLaren could achieve behind the peerless Vettel, but they should have secured third also had it not been for Michael Schumacher’s aggressive defence of Hamilton in the first half of the race. While Hamilton found it difficult to dispose of Schumacher, Button was able to do it after half a lap, when he overtook him and Hamilton on the same lap to go on to finish second. Hamilton just ran out of laps at the end of the race while closing on Alonso to take the flag just half a second adrift. Few would have expected Red Bull to emerge from Monza with a victory, not least the dominant victory that Vettel secured on Sunday after a faultless drive from pole position. Despite having struggled at the track in previous years, the RB7 was the class of the field in the hands of the German, and he looked set for victory the moment he scythed past Alonso on lap 5. Webber made it only until lap 5 before retiring, after tagging Felipe Massa at the first chicane following the safety car restart. Similarly to Mercedes, Renault had their chance of a double points finish ended at the first corner when Petrov was caught up in Liuzzi’s spin, but Senna kept the team’s points tally ticking over by finishing ninth. It was the Brazilian’s first ever F1 points finish and was made all the more impressive when he dropped to 15th on the first lap after being hampered by the first-corner melee and pitting on the second lap. He was disappointed not to get eighth however, after finishing eight tenths behind di Resta. A bitter-sweet race for Mercedes who continued to build their lead over Renault in the constructors’ championship, but had their chance of a double points finish ended just seconds into the race when Rosberg was collected by Liuzzi. Starting eighth, Schumacher jumped to fourth on the first lap before then passing Hamilton for third when the safety car pitted. Over the course of the following 22 laps he managed to keep the Briton at bay – albeit with Button slipping through – before eventually ceding position on lap 27 to finish fifth. Another point-less race for Williams who struggled for pace throughout the weekend, but finished 11th and 12th thanks to the retirement of quicker cars. Maldonado made a brilliant start and was up to sixth by lap five, but dropped through the field after his first pitstop on lap 19. Poor pace in the middle stint ended all hope of points before taking 11th 13 seconds adrift of Buemi. Barrichello got tangled up in the first-corner accident, forcing an unscheduled stop for repairs, but believes he had the pace for points. He took the flag 16 seconds behind Maldonado. Alonso had former archrival Michael Schumacher to thank for his crowd-pleasing podium finish in Monza on Sunday, after just holding off a stern challenge from Hamilton on the final lap. Had Hamilton not been held up by Schumacher, it’s certain he would have finished fourth. The Spaniard took the lead off the start, but soon fell back behind Vettel who then disappeared into the distance. He was then caught by Button for second on lap 36. 34