Lewis Hamilton took his 23rd pole position of his career at the nostalgic Italian track of Monza. Jenson Button took a close second as the McLaren duo locked out the front row of qualifying. But it was a lightning start from Felipe Massa, who overtook the Brit at the line and climbed all over the back of Hamilton in the run to the first corner.
Fernando Alonso also made a good start from 10th to get up to 7th, as he looked to get both Ferraris on the podium in front of the Tifosi. A few laps later he was battling with Michael Schumacher, and using DRS exiting the Parabolica, he overtook the German in the run down to the start-finish straight.
By lap 6, Hamilton had stretched his lead to 2.2 seconds over Massa, while the Brazilian was 1.7 seconds ahead of Button.
Williams driver, Bruno Senna was forced wide off the track at the second chicance by Paul Di Resta, and coming back onto the circuit, Mark Webber narrowly avoided the Brazilian.
On lap 9 Jean Eric Vergne suffered left rear suspension damage on his way down to the first corner, bringing out the yellow flag and becoming the first retiree of the race.
Lap 15 saw the first pit-stops and Pastor Maldonado was one of the first in, while Nico Rosberg pitted for a set of hard tyres.
Massa was having problems with his telemetry and Button took advantage of this to get a tow and overtake going into the second chicane.
Vettel and Alonso pitted together from 4th and 5th and they both rejoined behind Massa who was stuck behind the slow Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo.
The German and Spaniard continued their battle over the next few laps and making a move on the Red Bull at Turn One, Vettel held his line to keep Alonso behind. At the first Lesmo corner, Alonso was pushed out wide onto the grass and this move only fired him up, as on lap 29 he overtook Vettel at the Curva Grande.
The move by Vettel was investigated by the stewards and he was given a drive-though penalty, dropping him to 9th.
Sergio Perez briefly took the lead, but Hamilton got back to the front to continue to dominate the race. Unfortunately a McLaren one-two was over on lap 33 as Button retired with a fuel pick-up problem as he coasted off track on the back straight.
With the Brit out of the race, this promoted Alonso to 3rd as the Ferrari team provisionally took the final two steps on the podium.
A few laps later and with Alonso only 0.9 seconds behind his team-mate, the Spaniard sped past on the home straight to take 2nd.
Fastest man on track, Perez also looked to get past Massa and on lap 44 had passed him down the back straight. As the man on the move, despite starting 12th, he passed Alonso at Ascari and lapping a second quicker than Hamilton, chased down the leader.
On lap 47 Vettel stopped by the side of the track with a possible alternator problem and a few laps later, team-mate Webber lost the back end exiting Ascari and did well to avoid hitting the barriers. Flat-spotting the tyres forced the Australian to retire, in a dismal weekend for the Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton took his first win at Monza as he dominated from start to finish. Sergio Perez took another 2nd place finish as Fernando Alonso completed the podium.
Paul di Resta
Pedro de la Rosa
By Olivia Gauch
Sun, 09 Sep 2012