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GP Week : Issue 166
A double retirement, a growing deficit in the drivers’ championship and a reduced lead in the constructors’ championship all added up for one nightmare weekend for Red Bull in Monza. Last year’s victory was a distant memory on Sunday evening as the team mulled over their first double non-score since Korea 2010, with Vettel having retired from sixth thanks to a repeat of the alternator problem that cost him victory in Valencia, and Webber having retired with severely flat-spotted and worn tyres after a spin in the closing stages. Tyre degradation and the resultant two-stop strategies cost Mercedes dear in Monza, as Schumacher and Rosberg had to settle for sixth and seventh at the flag. Starting fourth, Schumacher did well to keep Raikkonen at bay throughout his second stint, but just ran out of laps at the end while hunting him down after his second pitstop (Raikkonen 1-stopped). An awful first two laps saw Rosberg drop to 12th, although he was able to recover subsequently and shadowed Schumacher to the end. Lewis Hamilton gave McLaren their third successive victory as he proved as unstoppable as Button had been the previous week with a lights-to-flag victory. He was never troubled throughout the distance and was able to cruise home in the final stint, albeit after receiving the hurry-up from Sergio Perez in the closing laps. A one-two finish looked on the cards up until Jenson Button’s abrupt retirement with 20 laps to go after a fuel system failure on his MP4-27. McLaren now lie just 29 points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ championship. Raikkonen’s flirting with a championship challenge continued in Monza as he jumped to third in the championship thanks to a fifth place finish. The Lotus was hampered by poor straightline speed, further underlining how impressive Raikkonen’s drive was, although it brought an end to his three-race streak of podium finishes. Jerome d’Ambrosio was his team-mate for the weekend after Grosjean’s ban from Spa, and he acquitted himself well despite his severe lack of track time prior to this weekend. After starting 15th he took the flag in 13th, albeit some 25 seconds behind his closest challenger. Fernando Alonso’s championship challenged strengthened further on Sunday despite finishing only third on the podium, after growing his lead from 24 to 37 points. Lewis Hamilton is now his closest challenger after Vettel’s retirement. Starting tenth on the grid, he was quickly rising through the field, and climbed to second before being demoted by Perez in the closing laps. Massa was disappointed to miss out on the podium after jumping to second at the start, only to be overhauled by Alonso and then Perez to finish fourth. Reliability problems cost Force India a truck-load of points in Italy, as they were unable to take advantage of the impressive pace of the VJM04. Di Resta demonstrated its capabilities on Saturday when he qualified fourth, only to be bumped down to ninth for a gearbox change. He one-stopped to eighth, having lost out to both two-stopping Mercedes in the closing laps. Team-mate Hulkenberg had to start at the back after a fuel pressure problem in qualifying. He was running 13th when he had to retire with brake issues on safety grounds. Red Bull Mercedes McLaren Lotus Ferrari Force India TEAM-BY-TEAM: ITALIAN GRAND PRIX 35 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> MONZA 35 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: