F1 Italian Grand Prix

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Alonso wins Italian Grand Prix

Sep 9, 2007 - 4:16 PM By Ian Parkes Special to PA SportsTicker

MONZA, Italy (Ticker) - McLaren crushed Ferrari on home territory on Sunday as Fernando Alonso led home Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Alonso's 19th career victory leaves him only three points behind Hamilton in the race for the drivers' title.

Kimi Raikkonen was in third place for Ferrari - he is now 18 points behind Hamilton - with Felipe Massa 23 points adrift after he retired early in the race.

"It was a perfect weekend for me, said a happy Alonso as the team clinched its first one-two at Monza.

"Sometimes everything goes in the right direction. This weekend has been good for me, and to win here at Monza for the first time is very special.

"All the wins are special, but in the last two or three years there are some circuits where I've won more than once. Here at Monza I'd never won before, and I wanted to achieve that. It was a perfect afternoon, with the car and team working really well, and to win in front of the enthusiastic Italian fans is very emotional."

Looking towards the title battle, the two-time reigning world champion said: "We will have to see how the car performs in Belgium (next Sunday).

"It changes with every race. Ferrari was dominant in Turkey, while here we were dominant."

Hamilton fears he could be out of a job next weekend because of the politics within Formula One. McLaren is to attend a World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on Thursday where the team could be expelled from the championship after "new evidence" in the spy scandal involving Ron Dennis' team and Ferarri emerged.

"If you sit down and think about it, I could have what I've worked for and what all the team has worked for, taken away," Hamilton said. "And when you think about that, you think 'wow I could be out of a job next weekend and then what happens?'

"It was going so well, and then you just get this big knife that cuts off your blood line. It is a bit disappointing when you read things about it - I won't go into it because I'll get emotional - but I really do have such a great belief in my team. I have 100 percent confidence in them, so that's why it is easy for me just to relax."

Massa had made a fine start to the race, passing Hamilton on the long run down to the first chicane.

But Hamilton went round the outside of Massa.

As the two drivers went through the chicane, the right-rear tire of Hamilton's car came into contact with the front-left of Massa's.

Whether that caused any damage to the Ferrari is unclear, but the 26-year-old made an unscheduled pit stop on lap nine, taking on tires and fuel, only to pull into his garage a lap later.

David Coulthard's race was dramatically over at the start of the second lap after he hurtled off the track at the Curva Grande and into a tire barrier at around 150mph.

The Red Bull Racing star had collided with Giancarlo Fisichella at the first chicane on the first lap, and damaged his front wing.

As the 37-year-old powered around the sweeping right-hand bend soon after, the wing disintegrated, leading to his dramatic accident.

But Coulthard was able to climb out of his car unaided.

The incident, though, led to the introduction of the safety car for four laps, at the end of which Hamilton attempted a pass Alonso as they again went into the first chicane.

But it was only a half-hearted attempt to overtake as the Spaniard was comfortably able to hold his line.

So it came down to a battle of strategies.

Alonso had the better of that exchange, while the safety car had aided Raikkonen and he was able to execute a one-stopper.

When Hamilton came in for his second set of fresh rubber and more fuel on lap 40, he fell behind Raikkonen after emerging from the pit lane.

The Ferrari fans cheered, but less than three laps later, the 22-year-old again underlined his ability by producing the move of the race.

Heading down the pit straight, Hamilton was a long way behind the Finn, but he flew past his startled rival heading into the first chicane again with an astonishing piece of late braking.

That settled matters as Alonso was able to go on and take the flag by six seconds ahead of Hamilton, on the podium for the 11th time in 13 races in his rookie year.

The remaining points were taken by Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica for BMW Sauber, Nico Rosberg for Williams, Renault's Heikki Kovalainen and Jenson Button, the latter taking only his and Honda's second point of the season.

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