Italian Grand Prix as it happened

Text commentary of a thrilling Italian GP, where McLaren's Lewis Hamilton wins ahead of Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso.

9 September 2012 Last updated at 17:56

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As it happened

  1. 1545: 

    That's it for the European season, with seven flyaway races awaiting us - the first of which will take place in Singapore's Marina Bay under floodlights.

    I'll be back at 10:30 BST on Friday 21 September to take you through first practice for the one and only night race on the calendar which will be live on BBC One and BBC One HD. See you in a couple of weeks. Until then, it's good afternoon from me. Ciao.

  2. 1543: 

    Race highlights will be on BBC One and BBC One HD from 17:35 BST with Jake, EJ and DC and then repeated 00:30 on BBC Two. We'll also have plenty of analysis and reaction throughout the day online.

  3. 1539: 

    So that's just about it from me. Lewis Hamilton controlled the race from the front to win his third race of the season and move into second place in the drivers' standings, but perhaps the drive of the day should go to the Sauber of Sergio Perez who started 12th but finished second.


    Red Bull Racing on Twitter:‏ "A disappointing day. Our first double DNF since Korea 2010."

  5. 1532: 

    Uncomfortable scenes at the McLaren team photo with the crew dressed in their rocket red shirts. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh hugs Lewis Hamilton, but the embrace is strained. Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, then barely manages a smile let alone a clenched fist when they're asked to cheer by the snapper. Contrastingly, Jenson Button plays the ultimate team player, cheering and smiling with his team - and he didn't even score a point here.

  6. 1526: 

    With the story that Lewis Hamilton could leave McLaren and move to Mercedes next season still the talk of the town, let's take a look at the current performance of the two teams.

    McLaren have now won the last three races, two courtesy of Lewis, and are arguably in the ascendency. The car has enabled Hamilton to rise from fifth to second in the championship standings, 37 points behind Fernando Alonso.

    Mercedes, meanwhile, have a best finish of sixth in the last three races and were never in contention for a win or even a podium in Italy. Their last win came in China - the third race of the season - and only two further podiums have followed.

  7. 1520: 

    If Sergio Perez does make the move to Ferrari next season - team owner Peter Sauber was remaining tight-lipped about that after the race - could that open the door for Felipe Massa to make a direct switch and move back to the team which gave him his debut in 2002?


    John Penna, via text: "Sergio perez must think to himself, do I want to be a future champion or be a Ferrari driver that won't have a chance and will have to pull over for Alonso."

  9. 1514: 

    Sergio Perez struggled for pace in qualifying, but missing out on the top 10 turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the Mexican was able to change his strategy and go against most of his rivals by starting on the hard tyres: "'I don't think we had the pace in qualifying for a single lap, we were lacking too much speed on the straights. Yesterday in qualifying I did not have good lap, I was too close to Bruno Senna, I lost downforce, that was reason not to be in top 10 but it helped us to change the strategy, we start on the prime and it worked quite well."


    Red Bull's Mark Webber: "At the end I had no rear tyres left - I was obvisouly pushing hard. And for the sake of a couple of points I could have not pushed as hard. The rear tyres were completely finished though. It was a poor day for us as a team, I'm not sure the last time it happened. We've had a few technical issues and we put ourselves on the back-foot today."

  11. 1507: 

    Red Bull's Mark Webber is on a disappointing run of form of late, finishing eighth, eighth, sixth and 20th in his last four races to drop from second to fifth in the championship standings, 47 points shy of leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Here's what he had to say...


    McLaren test driver Gary Paffett on Twitter: "Thrilled for @LewisHamilton dominant victory at Monza. Great shame for @JensonButton mechanical failure from P2. Three wins in a row for McLaren."


    Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne on Twitter:‏ "Don't know yet what happened but I can tell you that I'm fine and that I will 100% fit for Singapore. Thank you for the support."

  14. 1501: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's race report which gives you a lovely summary of the race. Don't forget there will be a shiny highlights package on BBC One and BBC One HD at 17:35 BST as well as all the reaction and analysis from the Monza paddock on throughout the evening.


    Matthew Vernon on Twitter: "Bizarrely having not considered Raikkonen, with no race wins, as a title contender all season if Hamilton's in it, Raikkonen must be."

  16. 1456: 

    When asked about the incident with Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso replied: "Nothing really to say." When pushed he added: "I lost 10 laps behind him, after the incident, and for sure the car is damaged because at 330km/h you are jumping on the gravel so I don't think the floor and everything will be fine after those jumps."


    Danboarding on Twitter: "My heart goes out to Felipe Massa. He had a good chance of a podium finish at Monza. Pity that he's always the number 2 driver."

  18. 1450: 

    So what was your favourite moment of the race? Was it Sergio Perez carving his way through the field from 12th to finish second? Or was it when the ding-dong battle between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso? And do you think Perez has done enough to secure a seat at Ferrari next year? Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only).


    Isaac Bainbridge on Twitter: "How ironic is it that the three drivers from last weekend at Spa who were all knocked out the race, are all on the podium now?"

  20. 1445: 

    1) Red Bull 272 points

    2) McLaren 243

    3) Ferrari 226

    4) Lotus 217

    5) Mercedes 126

    6) Sauber 100

  21. 1443: 

    1) Alonso (Ferrari) 179 points

    2) Hamilton (McLaren) 142

    3) Raikkonen (Lotus) 141

    4) Vettel (Red Bull) 140

    5) Webber (Red Bull) 132

    6) Button (McLaren) 101

  22. 1441: 

    The championship standings look quite different after that result. Here's a quick look...


    Edd Kent on Twitter: "Every race Raikkonen is always in the points. It's going to be some end of the season!"


    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso who finished third: "It was a difficult race starting from 10th but we knew we had possibly the quickest car this weekend. We had the pace to recover the position so it was a good result for us."


    Sauber's Sergio Perez, who finished second: "It was a great race for me and my team. It's unbelievable to have a podium for my team at Monza. It's very special. I went for prime tyres at the start and i decided to stop late. That gave me very fresh tyres at the end. It's unbelievable."


    McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who won the Italian GP: "It's been fantastic to win here. I'm just so happy for my team, it's been a fantastic day. Fernando is a two-time world champion so I'm very happy for him too."

  27. 1437: 

    Three-time world champion Niki Lauda is conducting the interviews on the podium. Here's what they have to say...


    McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to Sauber's Sergio Perez: "You had a really good race at the end Sergio. At the end you were a second a lap quicker than me."

  29. 1435: 

    Lewis Hamilton smiles as he picks up his first Italian Grand Prix victory trophy before applauding a delighted Sergio Perez. However, the biggest cheer is reserved for Fernando Alonso who soaks up the support as he trusts his trophy aloft for third place.

  30. 1433: 

    Fernando Alonso runs out onto the podium first to wave to his adoring fans. The rostrum here is unique in that it hovers above the pit-lane and juts out into the track. The roar of the crowd is deafening as he steps onto his third place spot. The Ferrari flags are waving and the air horns blaring.

  31. 1431: 

    Lewis Hamilton has risen to second in the championship from fifth, behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen a sensational third overall. The big losers were Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button who failed to score.

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards

    "An accomplished victory for Lewis Hamilton. He didn't have much trouble during the race, just fending off Massa at the start. He looked after his tyres really well and he will be so satisfied with that victory."

  33. 1428: 

    Sergio Perez leaps into Sauber mechanics who are waiting for him in parc ferme. There's lot of a love there as the team celebrate their third second place finish of the season. A remarkable drive from the Mexican which certainly confirms his status as a champion of the future.

  34. 1427: 

    Nico Rosberg, Paul di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna complete the top 10. Red Bull suffered their first double retirement of the season with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber both failing to finish.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Lewis Hamilton knows how important that win was for his hopes for winning the championship. I thought Lewis was about to say over the radio 'by the way I'll be racing for you again next year' but it didn't happen."

  36. 1425: 

    So Lewis Hamilton takes his third win of the season ahead of Sergio Perez in the Sauber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Felipe Massa finished a strong fourth with Kimi Raikkonen holding off Michael Schumacher at the death to take fifth.

  37. 1423: 

    Lewis Hamilton's race engineer comes on the radio: "Fantastic job, mate. Great day yesterday, fantastic drive today." Hamilton replies: "Thank you so much guys, incredible job. Great effort and I'm so grateful for this opportunity."



    LAP 53

    Lewis Hamilton begins his final lap in the lead of the race, 5.8 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez. Nico Hulkenberg, meanwhile, has retired from 14th in the Force India.

    LAP 52

    Misery for Red Bull as Mark Webber cruises around the track before heading back into the pits. "I have massive flatspots," he tells his team over the radio.

    LAP 51

    Sergio Perez is taking one second a lap out of Lewis Hamilton, but there's only two laps left and still a gap of 7.3 seconds. Even so, this will be the Mexican's third second place finish of the season.

    LAP 50

    Mark Webber has a moment coming out of the Ascari chicane, hitting the kerb and losing the backend. Very good reactions to keep it out of the barriers and somehow, he manages to rejoin the track.

    LAP 49

    Michael Schumacher is absolutely flying. He puts a move on Paul di Resta and then Red Bull's Mark Webber. That leaves him sixth, one better than he managed last time out at Spa.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "There'll be a full analysis of what's gone wrong for Red Bull. It's certain to be the alternator and it's just a question of whether the car can go all the way but in this day in history it wasn't to be for Vettel."

    LAP 48

    We've just seen a replay of Sebastian Vettel pulling off the track with his race engineer shouting at him: "Stop the car, we must save the engine."

    LAP 47

    Red Bull boss Christian Horner drops his head into his hands as reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel stops out on track. That's his second retirement of the season.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "This Sauber driven by Perez is driving superbly. Sometimes when you find yourself outside the top 10 in qualifying you remain a threat. The team could be getting the tequila out later."

    LAP 46

    Sergio Perez is racing like a man possessed. The Mexican, who started 12th, has so much more speed than Fernando Alonso's Ferrari and uses the DRS to breeze past the Spaniard around the outside at Ascari. Race leader Lewis Hamilton is told that the car behind him is Perez and he's a second quicker then them. "Let's try and up our pace, please."

    LAP 46

    Michael Schumacher is up to ninth following a move on Kamui Kobayashi. Next up the road is Paul di Resta who is doing a one-stopper and could be vulnerable on old tyres.


    Sauber F1 Team on Twitter: "If you want to gain coverage in #Monza you need to overtake the REDs. Well done, #Checo. #F1"

    LAP 45

    Sergio Perez is clocking fastest lap after fastest lap here. This is remarkable stuff from the Mexcian who is now eating into the gap between him and Fernando Alonso. Could he pass the Spaniard and then set off in chase of Lewis Hamilton?


    Caterham F1 Team on Twitter: "Heikki made his second stop the lap before and both cars can now run to the flag on options. The work continues for the tyre boys as pressure adjustments are given to Barry (Vitaly's car) and Jim (Heikki's) by the race engineers."

    LAP 44

    A potentially symbolic move out on track as Sergio Perez passes Felipe Massa on the back straight for third. Will Sauber's Perez take Massa's seat at Ferrari next season, too?

    LAP 43

    Mark Webber is told that Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel has a car problem which might stop him to suddenly. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez is taking chunks out of the Felipe Massa. It's only a matter of time before the Mexican makes the move.


    Alex Withington on Twitter: "As a Ferrari driver, it must be great to have your engineer talk you through being overtaken. Embarrassing."

    LAP 42

    Fernando Alonso is 13.2 seconds behind race leader Lewis Hamilton, but lapping around two tenths quicker with 12 laps to go. Felipe Massa is keeping his team-mate honest, 1.3 seconds behind however, the Sauber of Sergio Perez is hunting him down in fourth.

    Gary Anderson, BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Sergio Perez is driving very well. It's about making sure he looks after his tyres now and he's in clear air so he's not abusing them. Look after the tyres - that is key. Alonso's the threat, he's got a stint to do so he's not out of the woods as yet as far as the tyres dropping off are concerned."

    LAP 41

    Sebastian Vettel puts a move on Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber for sixth. The Australian has no answer to the German's attack and tamely gives up the position.

    LAP 40

    Felipe Massa is told Fernando Alonso is 0.9 seconds behind. Moments later, the Spaniard breezes past the Brazilian down the home straight for second. Massa doesn't put up any defence unsurprisingly.

    LAP 39

    Michael Schumacher pits for the second time and drops down to 11th. The German will be fighting for the minor points this afternoon.

    LAP 38

    We're used to seeing Kimi Raikkonen going forward in races, but not so at Monza. Nico Rosberg makes easy work of the Finn to lift himself into sixth.

    LAP 37

    I wonder if that last message is code for, you'll probably have to move over once Fernando, the championship leader, catches you. Let's see how that unfolds.

    LAP 37

    Felipe Massa's race engineer over team radio: "Think about how you're going to manage the tyres. Think about how you're going to manage the tyres, Felipe. Fernando is behind."

    LAP 36

    Sergio Perez is absolutely flying and is the fastest man on the track. The Mexican makes a beautiful move stick around the outside of Kimi Raikkonen at Turn One. Good driving from both.

    LAP 35

    Great battle between Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen who swap positions twice within a couple of corners. The Sauber driver looks so much quicker that the 2007 world champion.

    LAP 34

    That retirement promotes Felipe Massa to second and Fernando Alonso into third - that'll keep the home crowd happy. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, serves his drive-through penalty and drops to ninth, one place ahead of Paul di Resta but behind Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It's bitterly disappointing for Jenson Button coming into Monza on the back of such good form. He was matching Lewis lap time for lap time. The question is: is it something isolated to Jenson's car or do we need to look out for Lewis's car?"

    LAP 33

    You have to say Jenson Button's championship hopes are now over. The McLaren driver reports he has lost drive as he coasts off the track down the back straight. The team confirm that it's a fuel pick-up problem. Heartbreak for the 2009 world champion.

    LAP 33


    LAP 32

    Lewis Hamilton leads McLaren team-mate Jenson Button by 7.3 seconds, with Felpe Massa a further five seconds down the road. Fernando Alonso is 2.5 seconds adrift in fourth.


    Hamilton leads by 7.2secs. Button retakes second from Massa. Sebastian Vettel gets drive-through penalty for forcing Fernando Alonso off the circuit following a huge battle for 4th.. Jean Eric-Vergne out after spinning off on the way to Turn One. 1 Hamilton 2 Massa 3 Button 4 Alonso 5 Vettel 6 Schumacher 7 Raikkonen 8 Perez 9 Rosberg 10 Webber.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "That enforced stop is going to drop Sebastian Vettel out of the points at this stage in the grand prix. You take your choice and you the pay the price. The stewards have taken a look and you don't want anyone weaving about on a track like this at those speeds."


    It's a quick decision by the stewards. Sebastian Vettel has been penalised for pushing Fernando Alonso out onto the grass with a drive-through penalty. That'll take around 20 seconds to complete.


    Ferrari on Twitter: "Clearly Vettel forgot last year, when Fernando behaved very differently...."

    LAP 31

    Sergio Perez makes his one and only stop of the afternoon and rejoins in eighth, one place ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. Further up the road, Kimi Raikkonen continues to challenge Michael Schumacher for sixth, but the Finn can't find a way past.

    LAP 30

    We're hearing the incident between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, where the former was pushed onto the grass by the latter, is under investigation by the stewards.

    LAP 29

    Fernando Alonso finally gets past Sebastian Vettel to the delight of the tifosi for fifth. Next up the road is team-mate Felipe Massa.

    LAP 28

    Lewis Hamilton takes the lead, easing past Sergio Perez at the first chicane with a textbook move.

    LAP 27

    Sergio Perez, who is leading this race, is told that his lap times are good and he should stay out at the front. The Mexican is doing a good job at the front here. He'll drop back when he pits of course, but the pace he is showing here will help him get good points.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "Vettel put Alonso out [of the circuit] that's my view. He forced him to go to the outside. Mamma mia. For me that's a drive-through penalty. Minimum."

    LAP 26

    There's an absolute ding-dong battle between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Alonso tries a move down the outside at Turn One, but the Red Bull driver holds in the inside. Vettel then squeezes the championship leader onto the grass at the first Lesmo corner. It's a hairy moment for the Spaniard who has to get off the gas and ease back on track. Alonso gets on the team radio and says: "OK, that's enough."

    LAP 25

    Kimi Raikkonen puts a move on Nico Hulkenberg's Force India in the first corner for eighth place. Next man up the road is Michael Schumacher in seventh.


    Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, who has retired: "I'm OK, I'm just in pain in the back and in the head as well, as I hit the head rest. I don't know what happened, I just pressed the brake."

    LAP 24

    McLaren pit Lewis Hamilton from the lead which allows the Sauber of Sergio Perez to move into P1. It's a good stop from McLaren who get the 2008 world champion back out ahead of Jenson Button. It looks like Button will need to make a pass on Hamilton if he wants to win this race.


    Ethaniel on Twitter:‏ "EXCELLENT! GOOOOOOOOO JENSON!"


    Sauber F1 Team on Twitter: "Checo currently quicker than ALO. He has an advantage with the hard tyre. push, push. #F1"


    Marussia F1 Team on Twitter: "Timo fighting hard to make his comeback after dropping to the back due to that stop. Lapping ahead of the cars directly in front."

    LAP 23

    Jenson Button is in the pits. The McLaren struggle slightly tightening one of the wheel nuts, but he's away without losing too much time and he, crucially, rejoins ahead of Felipe Massa.

    LAP 22

    Felipe Massa finally gets past the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo to give himself some breathing space from Sebastian Vettel. It looks like Vettel then hits the Toro Rosso as he exits the second chicane and then puts a move on the Australian. We'll have to wait and see whether the German has sustained any damage or not.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Ferrari are flying blind with Massa, they all get used to using telemetry but it shouldn't make any different to the performance of the car. You can only send data one way with telemetry but Massa is now on his own out there - they can't monitor tyre pressure or tyre temperature now."

    LAP 21

    Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso pit together from fourth and fifth respectively. It's a brilliant stop for Ferrari and he rejoins almost side-by-side with the Red Bull driver. He can't get the traction on acceleration and Vettel sneaks ahead. They both rejoin just behind Felipe Massa who is trapped behind a slower Toro Rosso.

    LAP 20

    Felipe Massa pits the next time around, prompting Jenson Button's McLaren team to tell their charge to push, push, push. It's a good stop by the Ferrari team, but he comes back out behind a Toro Rosso.

    LAP 19

    Jenson Button gets a tow off the back of Felipe Massa and passes the Brazilian into the second chicane. Massa battles to defend his position bravely, but there's nothing he can do and the Briton makes the pass stick.

    LAP 18

    Jenson Button is all over the back of Felipe Massa who is in a spot of bother at the moment. We're hearing that the Brazilian is having telemetry issues - absolute nightmare for Massa who has been driving brilliantly so far.

    LAP 17

    The top five are lapping within a tenth of each other at the moment, with 9.5 seconds separating them. Meanwhile, we've seem a truly brilliant pass by Sergio Perez on Kimi Raikkonen around the outside of the Lotus driver into the second chicane. Remarkable.

    LAP 16

    Slick stop for the Mercedes team who service Michael Schumacher with a fresh set of hard tyres before sending him on his way. The seven-time world champion rejoins behind Nico Hulkenberg but ahead of the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen. BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says the soft tyres fell away quicker than Mercedes probably expected and now the team are committed to a two-stop strategy.

    LAP 15

    The first flurry of pitstops have begun, with Pastor Maldonado diving into his Williams box, followed by Nico Rosberg's Mercedes who switches his medium tyres for a set of hards.

    LAP 14

    Jenson Button is given some encouragement from his team: "This pace is very strong at the moment Jenson." The McLaren driver has closed to within 1.5 seconds of Felipe Massa's Ferrari in second.


    Hamilton leads by 4secs. Massa takes 2nd from Button at the start. Fernando Alonso fights up to 5th from 10th on the grid. Jean Eric-Vergne out after spinning off on the way to Turn One. 1 Hamilton 2 Massa 3 Button 4 Vettel 5 Alonso 6 Schumacher 7 Raikkonen 8 Perez 9 Kobayashi 10 Webber.

    LAP 13

    Lots of drivers struggling for grip and running wide at corners and kicking up the dust. Mark Webber is the latest driver to do that, but he keeps control of his Red Bull and continues his chase of Kamui Kobayashi in ninth.

    LAP 12

    Michael Schumacher is told to do three qualifying laps by his team over the radio which suggests he'll be pitting shortly. That'll be sweet relief for Kimi Raikkonen who is following him in the Lotus.


    Marussia F1 Team on Twitter: "Timo picked up some damage in that first corner clout and is having to pit. Struggling with the car."

    LAP 11

    Paul di Resta is struggling for grip and loses 10th position to Mark Webber's Red Bull at Ascari. Further back, Michael Schumacher is really throwing that Mercedes around. Kimi Raikkonen is all over the back of the seven-time world champion whose tyres looks like they're in all sorts of bother.

    LAP 10

    Felipe Massa is doing a good job of keeping Lewis Hamilton in sight. The Brazilian trails the McLaren driver by 3.4 seconds by holds a two second cushion over Jenson Button in third. Sebastian Vettel is right in the mix in fourth, too, one second further back.


    Jean-Eric Vergne's race engineer over team radio: "Are you OK, Jev?" Vergne: "I've got a pain in my back."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It looks like rear suspension damage to me. I will be amazed if he can drive away from that position. Left rear suspension I suspect, but I believe it looks like it was damaged beforehand. It didn't look like the rear touched the kerb but the underside of the chassis took it hard."


    The rear end of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso suddenly steps out on him as he brakes for Turn One. The car spins around, bumps across the kerbs and sleeping policemen and makes a heavy impact when he lands.


    Bruno Senna is in the wars again. The Williams driver got a wheel on the grass when trying to pass Paul di Resta and is forced off the track at the second chicane. He rejoins the track straight in front of Mark Webber, who does well to avoid him and then puts a pass on him.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard:

    "Fernando realised he did not have the speed at the end of the straight so he took the risk of being closer in Parabolica and pass Michael earlier in the straight. He comes early even before DRS is activated and then DRS opens and that releases a load of drag from the car."


    Michael Schumacher, a five-time winner at this circuit, is going backwards here. Fernando Alonso finally gets a move done on the Mercedes driver down the start-finish straight. That's five places in seven laps for the championship leader.


    Lewis Hamilton has stretched his lead to 2.2 seconds at the front with Felipe Massa 1.7 seconds clear of Jenson Button in third. Michael Schumacher is dropping back from the leading four, lapping around six tenths of a second slower.


    Nico Rosberg and Bruno Senna bang wheels going into Turn One, with Rosberg making the corner, but the Williams driver forced to bump across the sleeping policemen. Fernando Alonso continues to put pressure on Michael Schumacher in the battle for fifth.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "We have confirmation Rosberg on a two-stop - and probably Schumacher, too. Rosberg is told: 'We need to pass these cars again, they are all on a one-stop.'"

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Lewis Hamilton had a great start but Jenson Button had too much wheel spin - he lost vital metres, you don't want to lose a position on the line. Brave stuff from Felipe Massa going down the inside under braking, but Lewis Hamilton was wise to it. The straight-line speed of Red Bull is quicker it seems."


    And he does just that on the next lap. Sebastian Vettel gets a huge tow off Michael Schumacher down the start-finish straight and makes a simple move on the Mercedes driver into Turn One.


    Lewis Hamilton clocks the fastest lap of the race to increase his lead to 1.4 seconds over Felipe Massa. Sebastian Vettel is all over the back of Michael Schumacher in the battle for fourth and could launch an attack once the DRS overtaking aid becomes available.


    It's a brilliant start from Fernando Alonso who has jumped up to seventh from 10th, including a bold move on the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi.


    Jenson Button tries to get P2 back from Felipe Massa, pulling alongside the Ferrari driver on the run down to the second chicane, but the Ferrari driver has it covered. Michael Schumacher runs fourth, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

    David Coulthard, BBC F1 co-commentator

    "Well it's a nice clean start by Monza standards. It's steady stuff and that's what Lewis Hamilton wants to see, a nice clean gap."


    An electric start from Felipe Massa who blasts out of his P3 box and gets past Jenson Button. He then does exactly as his race engineer told him before the start, getting in Lewis Hamilton's tow. He pulls alongside the Briton but gets squeezed out and tucks back into second. Nonetheless, a fantastic start by the Brazilian.

  121. 1304: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Everyone has lined up on the grid. One light, two lights, three lights, four lights, five lights.......and the Italian Grand Prix is go, go, go.

  122. 1303: 

    Sebastian Vettel is told by a Red Bull engineer: "We need a good job on engine cooling. Gearbox is good, engine is hot."

  123. 1302: 

    Lots of weaving down the back straight as the drivers desperately try to get heat in their tyres. Not long until Lewis Hamilton leads the field back round to the grid now....


    Sauber F1 Team on Twitter: "Strategy for race: #Kamui starts on used medium tyres. We see how far he will get and take it from there. #Checo is on new hard tyres."

  125. 1300: 

    The lights go out and we're away for the formation lap. Lewis Hamilton gets away cleanly to lead Jenson Button into the first corner with the rest of the field following suit.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Nico Rosberg's engineer tells him that if a driver is pushed over the white line demarcating the edge of the track off the grid, then race director Charlie Whiting will probably be lenient, but that if drivers deliberately drive over it that may be a different matter."

  127. 1256: 

    The grid is starting to thin out a bit, with only the key mechanics left on the grid, making final tweaks. All of the drivers are in their machines, visors down and deep in thought ahead of the start. Not long now...


    Cahplinez90 on Twitter: "A repetition of what happened in 2010. It has to be Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa making the podium."

  129. 1253: 

    Former Ferrari driving legend Jean Alesi gives Felipe Massa a good luck hug on the grid before the Brazilian suits up and sticks his helmet on ahead of one of the most important races of his career. His race engineer Rob Smedley tells him: "Take the tow from Hamilton down to the chicane [at the start]. You'll get a 20m tow. Just stay behind him."


    Force India's Paul di Resta, who starts ninth: "As long as we go forward, that's what matters. We have a fast car and if there's any track you can overtake on hopefully it's Monza, and hopefully we can do that."


    Rupert Rowling on Twitter: "Here's hoping @JensonButton can go one better than his three second place finishes at Monza in last three years."


    Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who starts third: "We're going to try (to win). The idea is always to start the race thinking about victory. We are not so far away from these guys in front so we will do our best."

  133. 1250: 

    Victory for Fernando Alonso would lift the Spainard level with British fan favourite Nigel Mansell, the 1992 world champion, in fourth equal on the all-time list of Formula 1 victories.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "You would look at a circuit map of Monza and expect overtaking to be easy with all the long straights, as well as the fact there are two DRS zones, one on the pit straight and one on the run to Ascari. The engineers class it as such, too. But the drivers are not so sure. Jenson Button said: 'I tried it a couple of times and it's still not easy to past. I was behind a Lotus, he wasn't DRS-ing and I tried to overtake him and I just about did it, but he pretty much gave me the position so it's not going to be easy in the race.'"

  135. 1248: 

    1) Hamilton 2) Button 3) Massa 4) Schumacher 5) Vettel 6) Rosberg 7) Raikkonen 8) Kobayashi 9) Di Resta 10) Alonso 11) Webber 12) Perez

    13) Senna 14) Ricciardo 15) D'Ambrosio 16) Vergne 17) Kovalainen 18) Petrov 19) Glock 20) Pic 21) Karthikeyan 22) Maldonado 23) De la Rosa 24) Hulkenberg

    Di Resta was demoted five places for a gearbox change while Maldonado dropped 10 places for a jump start in the Belgian GP before hitting Marussia's Timo Glock.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Pirelli have been suggesting that this race will be a straightforward one-stop strategy, but the teams are not so sure. A one-stop is theoretically faster because of low wear and degradation, but it may not be possible because the inside shoulder of the right front tyre is wearing through Parabolica and it's impossible to predict how fast. The driver can't feel it and the first he will know of it is the appearance of a white band - the nylon of the casing. At that point, the driver can theoretically still continue for two or three laps but the tyre becomes very vulnerable to a puncture. In those circumstances, how many laps do a driver and team risk it if they are trying to stretch out to a one-stop?

    "The reason this is so problematic is that the teams don't know when the white line will appear. The risk is that if they try for a one-stop, but have to abort after the ideal two-stop window (around the mid-teens) has passed but before the one-stop window is open (around the mid-20s), then they will lose out dramatically. There will be a lot of engineers with their hearts in their mouths on the pit wall as a result."


    McLaren driver Jenson Button, who starts second: "The good news is we're going to do our own thing. Planning is not easy at this stage of this weekend, so we're just going to go and race."

  138. 1246: 

    The braking zone for Turn One features a deceleration of 265kph with the drivers hitting 340kph down the start-finish straight and then dropping to 75kph as they hit the apex of the first corner chicane.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Red Bull were expecting a difficult time in qualifying here after struggling in qualifying in Belgium last weekend and so it proved. In Spa it was Sebastian Vettel who failed to get into the top 10; this time it was Mark Webber. 'We need to improve qualifying, we know that,' the Australian said. 'Everybody's asking what's the problem; if we knew, we would fix it.' The car is much faster on a Sunday - arguably the fastest in the field. But making progress will not be easy because the Red Bull is not fast on the straight; a combination of aerodynamics, engine and gearing. Can you overtake? I asked Webber. 'If you're on your own (with another car), it should be fine,' he said. But if you're in a queue of cars all using DRS you are stuffed? 'Yeah.'"

  140. 1244: 

    1) Red Bull 272 points 2) McLaren 218 3) Lotus 207 4) Ferrari 199 5) Mercedes 112 6) Sauber 80

  141. 1243: 

    1) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 164 points 2) Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 140 3) Mark Webber (Red Bull) 132 4) Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 131 5) Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 117 6) Jenson Button (McLaren) 101

  142. 1241: 

    The only two drivers in the last two decades to win at Monza and go on to win the title have both been Germans - Michael Schumacher in 2000 and 2003 with Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel in 2011 with Red Bull.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Michael Schumacher produced a stonker of a qualifying lap to take fifth, more than 0.3 seconds quicker than team-mate Nico Rosberg. Schumacher, who starts fourth after Paul di Resta's penalty, has not looked like the driver he used to be very often since his comeback, if at all. He has been making more errors than he used to and has often seemed slightly behind the car rather than ahead of it as he always used to be. But that lap was much more like the Schumacher of old. If Eddie Jordan's information that Lewis Hamilton is moving to Mercedes next year and Schumacher retiring for a second time is correct, this could be Schumacher's final Italian Grand Prix, in front of the tifosi who worshipped him through the ultra-successful Ferrari years. Whatever the future holds, he wants to make it a good one. 'I would love to be on the podium because it is a special one to be on,' he said."


    Travis on Twitter: "A little part of me is wanting Massa to win this race, would be such a popular victory. Can't see past Lewis though."

  145. 1237: 

    The original Monza circuit was built in 1922, with work completed in just six months. It was one of only three permanent race tracks in the world at the time - the others being Brooklands in the UK and Indianapolis in the United States - and was a staggering 10km long, featuring a banked oval.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Force India had conflicting emotions on Saturday afternoon. The car has been very quick this weekend - as it always tends to be on low-downforce circuits - and Paul di Resta did a fantastic job to qualify it fourth, but it was a bitter-sweet moment for the Scot and the team. He was demoted to ninth because of a penalty for changing his gearbox and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, with whom Di Resta has been nip-and-tuck all weekend, is stone last after his car stopped out on the track with a fuel-pressure problem before he could even do a single lap. Nevertheless, such is the pace of the car that Hulkenberg has hopes of scoring points, and Di Resta has his eye on moving up through the top 10."

  147. 1234: 

    A quick look at the winners so far this season:

    Australia - Jenson Button (McLaren) Malaysia - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) China - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) Bahrain - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) Spain - Pastor Maldonado (Williams) Monaco - Mark Webber (Red Bull) Canada - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Europe - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) Britain - Mark Webber (Red Bull) Germany - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) Hungary - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Belgium - Jenson Button (McLaren)

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Among the many fascinating sub-texts ahead of this race surrounds the man in third place on the grid, Felipe Massa. It is his best grid position of the year, and it could not have come at a better time, with his entire future in F1 in question. It is assumed he cannot save his drive for next season, but Massa will probably not see it that way - and Ferrari have made it clear they expect him to do all he can to stop team-mate Fernando Alonso's title rivals scoring big points. 'Felipe has a huge opportunity to win the race, for him, for us, for his future,' said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. No pressure then…"

  149. 1230: 

    The pit lane has opened its doors and almost instantaneously, there's the roar of F1 engines being fired up. Time for the boys to head around to the grid, which is already rammed with team personnel, media and assorted VIP guests. This is your 30-minute warning.


    Craig Bentley on Twitter: "In seat at Monza, Ferrari super fans feeding us meats and wine! Singing and dancing, great view ready for a win!"

  151. 1228: 

    If Jerome D'Ambrosio, who is standing in for Romain Grosjean this weekend, scores a point, he will become the first Belgian to do so since Thierry Boutsen in the 1992 Australian Grand Prix.

  152. 1226: 

    There's a new name on the grid this weekend - Jerome D'Ambrosio. You may remember the Belgian from last season when he raced for Virgin - now known as Marussia. The 26-year-old Lotus test driver is stepping in for Romain Grosjean who picked up one-race ban for causing the first-corner crash at Spa.

    With just five days notice, D'Ambrosio found himself in the car - having only previously driven the car for a few laps in the wet during the Mugello test in May - and subsequently qualified 15th, eight places behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Can he score his first F1 points?

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "On paper, Lewis Hamilton looks the favourite for the race - he has been swapping the honour of being fastest man all weekend with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, and the Spaniard is stuck down in 10th on the grid. But Hamilton does have his worries - he admitted after qualifying that he was nervous about the first lap. 'My only concern is the start,' he said. 'That's usually where I lose and have problems but I hope that is behind us.'

    "Right behind him is Felipe Massa's Ferrari, and the red cars are always quick off the line, and the same goes for the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher in fourth. Those who remember last year's race will recall the German veteran making life very difficult for Hamilton. Making sure he holds his position into the first chicane will be Hamilton's number one priority."

  154. 1223: 

    Jenson Button, who starts second on the grid, has finished second in the last three races at Monza. In 2009, he finished just 2.8 seconds behind then Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello. A year later, he trailed Fernando Alonso by 2.9 seconds and then in 2011, Sebastian Vettel beat him by 9.5 seconds. Will it be fourth time lucky for JB?

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "In the intra-McLaren battle, there is also the complication of tactics and the timing of pit stops. As technical director Paddy Lowe said: 'We haven't had that problem recently. It would be a nice problem to have, but there are issues around that, because whoever stops first has one set of advantages, so it can get complex. We'll be playing that by ear.'"

  156. 1221: 

    I was way off with my prediction that Nico Rosberg would get pole on Saturday, but today's a new day and Lawro's Podium Predictions provides me with an opportunity to redeem myself. As usual, I'll name my top three and then you tell me why I'm completely wrong and suggest your own trio with a reason for those choices.

    Based on the fact seven of the 12 races have been won from pole this season, I'm going for Lewis Hamilton to take a pole-to-flag victory, ahead of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Now it's your turn. Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only) remembering to put F1 and your name on those SMS messages.

  157. 1218: 

    Lewis Hamilton's pole position on Saturday was the 23rd of his career and 152nd for McLaren. It was also the team's third successive P1 starting slot and fifth of the season. Jenson Button joins Hamilton on the front row for the third time this season.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Fresh from qualifying first and second, McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were not exactly joy personified, and the body language between them was palpably cool. They have been distant this weekend, and not troubling overly to hide it, even in public spaces such as the restaurant at their hotel. One assumes that the reason is Hamilton's decision to post a picture of confidential team information on the social networking site Twitter at last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, an action with which Button said he was 'surprised and disappointed' - for which read 'seriously hacked off'. There are no team orders at McLaren, and Button is 16 points behind his team-mate in the championship. A tasty, all-out battle is in prospect."

  159. 1216: 

    Venue: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza Laps: 53 Circuit length: 5.793km Race distance: 306.720km Number of corners: 11 (4 left/7 right) Average lap speed: 237kph Full throttle per lap: 83% Safety cars since 2002: 4 Lap record: 1:21.046 seconds (Rubens Barrichello, 2004)

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "As ever, Fernando Alonso was looking positively at a difficult situation on Saturday night and on his excellent Twitter account he told a lovely anecdote: 'Year 2006, we arrived at Monza (championship) leaders, broken car in Q3, penalties, start 10th, stop in the first chicane, engine problem, a marshal take me into the paddock on the bike. We won championship ... ;) Year 2012, we arrived at Monza leaders, Q3 car broken, start 10th, engine problem on Friday at the 1st chicane, same marshal brings me to the paddock in the bike. Hopefully it will be a good year at the end.'"

  161. 1213: 

    Just a reminder that lights go out at 13:00 BST, with commentary on BBC Radio 5 live with James Allen, Jaime Alguersuari and Jennie Gow to supplement my chatter. Highlights of the race will be live on BBC One and BBC One HD at 17:35.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "All year Ferrari have been protesting that they do not have the outright fastest car in the dry, and they have been right. But no-one is saying that here. Fernando Alonso said after his qualifying had been ruined by a detached rear anti-roll bar that he had missed an 'easy' pole position. It would have been his first in the dry all season. Instead, he finds himself 10th. Overtaking is historically tough at Monza, as Alonso himself is all too well aware, but he will be determined - and confident - that he can get into the top six at least, and possibly even higher. 'You know and we know how strong is Fernando in the race,' said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo on Saturday. An engineer at a rival team said Alonso had been 'really impressive' and 'should be on the podium'. A win is almost certainly out of the question, but it would be a fool who wrote Alonso off."

  163. 1211: 

    Bigger things were expected of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the championship leader, though. Having seen his lead butchered by Sebastian Vettel in Spa after being eliminated at the first corner, the Spaniard had hoped to bounce back at Monza. Signs were good throughout all three practice sessions and the first two parts of qualifying. But a broken rear anti-roll bar ended his hopes of a quick lap and he starts 10th.

  164. 1207: 

    There were several impressive performances on Saturday with Paul di Resta achieving his best ever qualifying position in fourth in the Force India, only to get demoted five places for a gearbox change. Mercedes showed renewed pace with Michael Schumacher finishing fifth fastest and Nico Rosberg seventh. Despite Red Bull struggling to unlock the car's qualifying speed, Sebastian Vettel still managed to qualify sixth while his team-mate Mark Webber ended up 11th.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "This venerable old autodrome in the middle of a historic park outside Milan is one of the world's great sporting arenas. Its long, dramatic history seems to ooze out of the buildings, it is heart-achingly evocative to look at, and it provides timeless images that draw parallels with the sport's rich past. This year's race, the 81st grand prix here, promises to live up to the circuit's standing. The two McLaren drivers, the atmosphere between whom is tense, are on the front row. Ferrari's Felipe Massa is right behind them fighting for his career. Michael Schumacher would dearly love a podium finish here. And back in 10th, after terrible luck, is the Brazilian's team-mate Fernando Alonso - arguably the fastest man in the place this weekend, and determined to ensure he defends his position at the head of the championship. Delicious."

  166. 1203: 

    Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the 2012 Italian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton starts on pole for the 23rd time in his career, alongside McLaren team-mate Jenson Button. Ferrari's Felipe Massa starts an impressive third, but his team-mate Fernando Alonso - who set the pace in Q1 and Q2 - has a battle on his hands starting from 10th after a mechanical issue in Q3.

  167. 1200: 

    On paper, the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza looks deceptively simple, but tackle it in a Formula 1 car and the circuit becomes one of the toughest challenges on the calendar. It's a real brake-buster with long straights punctuated by slow chicanes. Throw in the Ferrari-mad crowd, who are the heart and soul of the place, and a glimpse of the now abandoned banking, which used to form part of the track, and you have it all. La Pista Magica - or magic track - always lives up to its name.

Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 384
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 317
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 238
4 Finland V Bottas Williams 186
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 167
6 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 161
7 Brazil F Massa Williams 134
8 Great Britain J Button McLaren 126
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 96
10 Mexico S Perez Force India 59
11 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 55
12 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 55
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 22
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 8
16 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 2
18 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
22 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham 0
23 W Stevens Caterham 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham