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Alonso dominates the Italian GP

Fernando Alonso reduced Lewis Hamilton's world championship lead to three points by taking a dominant victory in the Italian Grand Prix

But Hamilton prevented his teammate from making further inroads by putting a bold pass on Kimi Raikkonen for second place after the Ferrari had got between the McLarens during the pit stops.

Raikkonen's third place leaves him 18 points adrift of Hamilton with four rounds to go, and with Felipe Massa retiring early with his first mechanical failure of the year, Ferrari's title hopes look increasingly distant.

While Alonso calmly led away at the start, Hamilton lost ground off the grid and was passed by Massa. The Briton went around the outside of the Ferrari into the first chicane, making slight wheel to wheel contact and cutting the apex of the left-hander in the process. The officials decided not to penalise Hamilton, who resisted Massa's vigorous attempts to regain second further around the opening lap.

The safety car then emerged for five laps after David Coulthard's front wing - weakened in contact with Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault - collapsed in the middle of the Curva Grande and sent the Red Bull into the barriers at high speed. Coulthard was unhurt in the accident.

After the restart Hamilton was able to get away from Massa, who retired soon afterwards after reporting a mechanical problem with the rear of his Ferrari.

Hamilton stayed close to Alonso through the first stint, but pitted two laps sooner, allowing Alonso to establish a more comfortable lead in the middle of the race.

While McLaren had opted for a two-stop strategy, Raikkonen was only pitting once, and he was able to lead after the McLarens' stops.

He then maintained a sufficiently fast pace in his heavy Ferrari to keep McLaren under pressure, and when Hamilton made his final stop on lap 40, he rejoined behind Raikkonen in third place.

With Alonso far enough ahead to retain his lead even after his stop, it looked like Hamilton's championship lead might dwindle to a single point.

But just as Alonso was making his final pit visit, Hamilton was diving down the inside of Raikkonen into the first chicane and retaking second place. He then accelerated away to complete a commanding McLaren one-two.

BMW took fourth and fifth with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, despite the Pole losing a lot of time when his car fell from its jacks at his first pitstop. He finally reclaimed fifth place by driving around the outside of Nico Rosberg at the first chicane in the closing stages.

Rosberg beat the two-stopping Heikki Kovalainen and fellow one-stopper Jenson Button to sixth. The German and the Briton had engaged in a spirited battle in the opening stint, running absolutely side by side through the first chicane before Rosberg secured the position with an outside line dive at the Roggia.

Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello completed the top ten, ahead of the slow-starting Jarno Trulli.


The Italian Grand Prix
Autodromo di Monza, Italy;
53 laps; 306.720km;
Weather: Sunny.


Pos  Driver        Team                      Time
 1.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1h18:37.806
 2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  +     6.062
 3.  Raikkonen     Ferrari              (B)  +    27.325
 4.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber           (B)  +    56.562
 5.  Kubica        BMW Sauber           (B)  +  1:00.558
 6.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota      (B)  +  1:05.810
 7.  Kovalainen    Renault              (B)  +  1:06.751
 8.  Button        Honda                (B)  +  1:12.168
 9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  +  1:15.879
10.  Barrichello   Honda                (B)  +  1:16.958
11.  Trulli        Toyota               (B)  +  1:17.736
12.  Fisichella    Renault              (B)  +     1 lap
13.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota      (B)  +     1 lap
14.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda    (B)  +     1 lap
15.  R.Schumacher  Toyota               (B)  +     1 lap
16.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda    (B)  +     1 lap
17.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  +     1 lap
18.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  +     1 lap
19.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari       (B)  +     1 lap
20.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari       (B)  +     1 lap

Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:22.871

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                      On lap
Massa         Ferrari              (B)    11
Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault     (B)    3

World Championship standings, round 13:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Hamilton      92        1.  McLaren-Mercedes     166
 2.  Alonso        89        2.  Ferrari              143
 3.  Raikkonen     74        3.  BMW Sauber            86
 4.  Massa         69        4.  Renault               38
 5.  Heidfeld      52        5.  Williams-Toyota       25
 6.  Kubica        33        6.  Red Bull-Renault      16
 7.  Kovalainen    21        7.  Toyota                12
 8.  Fisichella    17        8.  Super Aguri-Honda      4
 9.  Wurz          13        9.  Honda                  2
10.  Rosberg       12       
11.  Webber         8       
12.  Coulthard      8       
13.  Trulli         7       
14.  R.Schumacher   5       
15.  Sato           4       
16.  Button         2       
17.  Vettel         1       
All timing unofficial

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