LEWIS HAMILTON RECHARGED his bid for this year’s world title on Sunday when he swept to a dominant triumph for McLaren in a thrilling Italian Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old Briton, starting from pole position, led throughout apart from a brief spell during the mid-race pit-stops to claim his third win this year and the 20th of his career.
It was his first win at the Italian event and lifted him back into contention for the championship, but his McLaren team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button was unable to follow him home after being forced to retire with 20 laps remaining.
Button’s demise allowed Mexican Sergio Perez of Sauber to gain full reward for a dazzling drive by finishing second, 4.3 seconds behind Hamilton but 16.2 ahead of continuing championship leader Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, with Brazilian Felipe Massa fourth in the second scarlet machine.
It was Perez’s third podium finish of the season and endorsed the view of many paddock observers that he could be on the move to replace Massa at Ferrari next year.
Finn Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth for Lotus ahead of German Michael Schumacher of Mercedes, the 43-year-old seven-time champion proving he retains the vim of his halcyon days, with countryman Nico Rosberg seventh in the second Mercedes.
Briton Paul Di Resta came home eighth for Force India ahead of Japanese Kamui Kobayashi in the second Sauber and Brazilian Bruno Senna who capitalised on the late retirement of Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull by taking the final point for Williams.
Defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany struggled through a disappointing race during which he forced Alonso off the track, was handed a drive-through penalty and finally retired his Red Bull due to technical problems.
(c) AFP, 2012