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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2012 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX - THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: The Italian Grand Prix
By Geoff Creighton, Emlyn Hughes and Simon Strang
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Hamilton11:45 Hello everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for coverage and rolling updates from round 13 of this year's FIA Formula 1 world championship - the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

McLaren scored an away victory yesterday by locking out the front row of the grid on Ferrari's home ground. So Lewis Hamilton starts on pole this afternoon ahead of Spa winner Jenson Button, with Felipe Massa third on the grid and Michael Schumacher a strong fourth in the Mercedes.

Hamilton leads McLaren one-two in Monza qualifying

Sebastian Vettel will be looking to continue hauling in points from fifth, while championship leader Fernando Alonso is way down in 10th after car problems in Q3. The Spaniard will first need to avoid trouble on the opening lap before getting through as many cars as possible to protect his points advantage.

It should be a cracking race this afternoon and championship implications are huge if Alonso does not get on the podium.

11:46 The passionate crowd rises as the Italian national anthem is played at Monza.

11:47 Here's how the standings look after a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix.
World Championship standings, round 12:

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso       164        1.  Red Bull-Renault          272
 2.  Vettel       140        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          218
 3.  Webber       132        3.  Lotus-Renault             207
 4.  Raikkonen    131        4.  Ferrari                   199
 5.  Hamilton     117        5.  Mercedes                  112
 6.  Button       101        6.  Sauber-Ferrari             80
 7.  Rosberg       77        7.  Force India-Mercedes       59
 8.  Grosjean      76        8.  Williams-Renault           53
11:49 Conditions are fine and dry - as they have been all weekend - with warm sunshine for today's 53-lap encounter.

A light easterly breeze is expected to veer round to a southerly by the end of the race, but air temperature will rise to 27 Celsius, translating into a maximum track temperature of around 41 degrees.

11:49 Final preparations for the McLaren pair on the front row, with little in it between Hamilton and Button in qualifying yesterday.

11:51 Here's how the grid will line up this afternoon:
Pos  Driver              Car
 1.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes
 2.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes
 3.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari
 4.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes
 5.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault
 6.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes
 7.  Kimi Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault
 8.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari
 9.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes *
10.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari
11.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault
12.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari
13.  Bruno Senna         Williams-Renault
14.  Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso-Ferrari
15.  Jerome d'Ambrosio   Lotus-Renault
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Ferrari
17.  Heikki Kovalainen   Caterham-Renault
18.  Vitaly Petrov       Caterham-Renault
19.  Timo Glock          Marussia-Cosworth
20.  Charles Pic         Marussia-Cosworth
21.  Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth
22.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Renault **
23.  Pedro de la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth
24.  Nico Hulkenberg     Force India-Mercedes

*  Five-place gearbox penalty
** Penalties for incidents in Belgium
11:51 Hamilton will want to maximise his points haul after that costly first corner exit in Spa, particularly with Alonso starting down the order.

11:52 Button can also get right into the title race if he can back up his commanding Spa win with another strong afternoon here.

Tyres11:53 Pirelli's medium and hard compound tyres are on offer this afternoon, with the rubber proving durable around this circuit despite high track temperatures in the Monza sunshine.

One stop looks like a plan for most, but teams are concerned that - despite very little degradation in tyre performance - the rubber could simply wear away given the lengthy stints required to complete half the race on each set.

Recent races have trended towards as fewer stops as possible being the winning strategy. Teams will be monitoring wear very closesly and two pitstops is a strong plan B - certainly a safer prospect for anyone who can pull well clear of the midfield traffic.

Teams expect Monza strategy dilemma

11:53 Massa starts third in the Ferrari and needs a great result in front of the tifosi to boost his chances of remaining with the Italian team.

11:54 But all eyes will be on Alonso to see how the ever-impressive Spaniard can recover from suspension problems in qualifying yesterday.

11:55 There are just five minutes to go until the formation lap begins at Monza.

11:55 Double DRS is on offer here, with wings opening on the long runs to the Rettifilo and Ascari chicanes.

11:57 The top 10 drivers are locked into a start on the medium compound, with some in the second half of the pack likely to try the hard.

11:57 Michael Schumacher puts on his gloves as he gets ready for battle this afternoon, from fourth on the grid.

11:58 Banned Romain Grosjean watches on from the Lotus garage as tester Jerome D'Ambrosio prepares to race his car this afternoon.

12:00 Early indications are that Perez, d'Ambrosio, Maldonado and Hulkenberg will start on harder rubber.

12:00 The formation lap begins at Monza. Hamilton answers the call and leads the field of 24 away from the grid.

12:00 All 24 drivers have left the grid without problem, as Hamilton leads the pack through the Curva Grande and down to the Roggia chicane.

12:01 Vettel is informed over the radio that his gearbox is good, but he needs to work on engine cooling.

12:01 Hamilton leaves the Ascari chicane and makes the run down towards Parabolica.

12:02 Round the Parabolica and the leading cars head down towards the grid. We are set for 53 racing laps this afternoon.

12:03 Hamilton stops at his pole position slot and the field is forming up very slowly behind him.

12:03 All 24 are in position and we are ready to rock. We await the lights...

Lap 1: The five red lights go out and we are racing at Monza!

Lap 1: Hamilton gets away well and Massa is coming through behind him into second at the first chicane, with Button safely through in third.

Lap 1: Button challenges Massa at the Roggia but the Ferrari pilot holds him off.

Lap 1: Heading down to Ascari for the first time it is Hamilton from Massa, Button and Schumacher after a clean start.

Lap 1: Alonso made a decent start and is up to eighth position already in the other Ferrari.

Lap 2: Massa got a great launch to take Button into the first corner and even challenge Hamilton, but he now runs behind the McLaren.

Lap 2: Down the field, Webber had a poor first lap and is down in 14th. Hulkenberg has made a great getaway and is up six places to 18th.

Lap 2: Button looked to take his second place back from Massa but is third as they streak past the pits for the first time.

Lap 2: Schumacher is now fourth, with Vettel fifth as Alonso storms through the pack to run sixth having passed Raikkonen and Kobayashi on that lap

Lap 3: Remember Alonso's first lap in Valencia? We're seeing similar stuff here as he takes Perez and Raikkonen in one stretch between Parabolica and Rettifilo p that could be critical later in the race.

Lap 3: Behind the top eight, di Resta is ninth with Senna 10th, Rosberg 11th, Perez 12th, Ricciardo 13th and Webber still stuck in 14th.

Lap 3: Hamilton sets the early pace to cement a 1.4 second lead over Massa, with Button a further second back in third.

Lap 3: D'Ambrosio is 15th in the Lotus with Vergne 16th, Kovalainen 17th, Hulkenberg 18th, Maldonado 19th, Petrov 20th and Glock 21st.

Lap 3: Vettel is right on the gearbox of Schumacher's Mercedes and begins to eye a DRS move as the system becomes available.

Lap 3: At the rear, Pic is 22nd, tailed by the two HRTs of Karthikeyan and de la Rosa.

Lap 4: Replays show the traditional strong launch from both Ferrari drivers, with Massa up to second and Alonso gaining two places off the line.

Lap 4: Webber is stuck in the middle of the STRs in 14th. That Red Bull has been struggling for pace all weekend, and it's not wonderful in traffic either. #longafternoonahead

Lap 4: Vettel tries his DRS on Schumacher into the first chicane and there is little resistance from the senior German. Vettel takes fourth.

Lap 4: Rosberg in 12th is advised over the radio that he needs to make progress quickly, as they are one-stopping. Two for Rosberg likely.

Lap 4: Alonso is now eyeing a DRS move on Schumacher but can't make it work on the run to Ascari.

Lap 5: Hamilton's lead is now 2.2 seconds over Massa as Alonso continues to harry Schumacher in the DRS zones.

Lap 5: Senna made an error at the first chicane at the beginning of the last lap. That allows Rosberg an easy passage into 11th.

Lap 6: Raikkonen is slowly dropping away from Alonso in seventh and is not making the most of the strong Lotus race pace so far.

Lap 6: Replays show that Rosberg had made a move up the inside and Senna was robustly defending. The pair made very light contact but were able to continue.

Lap 6: Alonso looks for the DRS move on Schumacher once again but there's still no way past for the championship leader.

Lap 6: Hulkenberg has passed Kovalainen and is up into 17th position.

Lap 7: Maldonado in 19th is right on the back of the Caterham and and looking immediately to pass.

Lap 7: Alonso finally makes his move stick on DRS into the first chicane, moving up to fifth.

Lap 7: Hamilton sets the fastest lap as he is told where the pace differences are to Massa's Ferrari.

Lap 7: Alonso is not out of this yet. We can see a situation where Massa's second position is brought into play. Alonso is currently just five seconds back of his team-mate.

Lap 7: Webber is making some progress through the midfield and is up to 12th. He and Senna are back ahead of Rosberg, who has slipped to 13th.

Lap 8: Alonso tried the outside line on Schumacher this time, pulling well clear of the slippery Mercedes before the heavy braking zone.

Lap 8: So great progress from Alonso already, gaining five places and now chasing after title rival Vettel.

Lap 8: Senna in 11th is also beginning to make progress. He is just 0.2s behind di Resta's Force India now.

Lap 8: Hamilton has edged out his lead to 2.8 seconds, with Massa a further 2.0 ahead of Button.

Lap 9: Senna makes a move on di Resta at the Roggia but the Scot defends and Senna takes to the run-off area.

Lap 9: Vettel is pretty much right with Button and in DRS range of the McLaren as Alonso homes in on the Red Bull.

Lap 9: Senna rejoined just in time to get in Mark Webber's way, but the Australian avoids the Williams and gets through into 11th.

Lap 10: Vergne is out of the race. He appeared to have a mechanical issue approaching the first chicane and bumped his way over the kerbs.

Lap 10: The DRS has been disabled as Vergne's car is recovered from the first chicane.

Lap 10: Vergne walks away, with yellows still out at Turn 1. His car is being lifted away by the marshals.

Lap 10: Maldonado has passed Kovalainen and taken over 17th position.

Lap 11: Meanwhile, Perez, who started on hard tyres, has now passed team-mate Kobayashi to take over eighth place.

Lap 11: Webber - now 11th - is on the tail of di Resta's Force India, with Senna 12th, Rosberg 13th and Ricciardo 14th.

Lap 12: Up ahead of this lot, Kobayashi is holding onto a solid ninth place and edging away from the developing scrap.

Lap 12: Hamilton continues to set the pace up front with his lead now up to 3.7 seconds over Massa's Ferrari.

Lap 12: Vergne lucky to be walking away from that. It looked fairly innocuous in terms of impacts (though the spin was at frighteningly high spead), but as his car travelled sideways across the sleeping policeman at the Rettifilo, the front wheels went high in the air and the car came thumping back down on the floor where the drivers sits. We have seen back injuries with less impacts. Good news for the Frenchman.

Lap 12: Webber pulls out and passes di Resta easily into the Ascari chicane. That moves the Australian up to 10th.

Lap 12: Perez is now right on the gearbox of Raikkonen's Lotus and is setting very quick times on the hard compound tyres.

Lap 12: Hulkenberg is about to challenge D'Ambrosio for 15th place. The Lotus driver is beginning to drop back with a suspected KERS issue.

Lap 13: Kobayashi in the other Sauber is not able to go with this group. He remains in ninth, but has dropped back from Perez by 2.7s.

Lap 13: Schumacher is asked for "three quali laps" by the Mercedes team ahead of what would be an early first stop.

Lap 14: Several cars are developing distinct lines on the inside of their rears, among them Schumacher and di Resta.

Lap 14: Webber in 10th is closing down on Kobayashi, with di Resta, Senna, Rosberg and Ricciardo in 14th all in close attendance.

Lap 14: Webber's progress is dented slightly after he runs wide at the second Lesmo corner. He indulges in a spot of lawn mowing, but is able to continue.

Lap 14: Perez sets the fastest final sector time as he continues to enjoy the grip from the harder compound tyres.

Lap 15: Maldonado pits from 17th position. He rejoins towards the rear of the field.

Lap 15: Button is told his "pace is very strong" while team-mate Hamilton again sets the fastest lap at a 1m30.194s.

Lap 15: Hulkenberg makes a move up the inside of D'Ambrosio into the Roggia chicane and is through to 15th.

Lap 15: Meantime, Rosberg is into the pits for his first stop. He takes on hard compound tyres and rejoins further down the order.

Lap 16: Schumacher's "quali' pace isn't that great as he fends off Raikkonen and Perez ahead of the German's first stop.

Lap 16: Maldonado rejoined in 21st position after his first stop. Glock has also been in for tyres and has dropped to 23rd.

Lap 16: Schumacher is clearly holding up Raikkonen and Perez at this point so he's beginning to struggle with grip now.

Lap 16: Schumacher pits and takes the hard tyres for what is likely to be a two-stop plan.

Lap 17: So slight changes to the order wit the two-stoppers coming in. Kobayashi is up to eighth with Webber ninth, di Resta 10th and Senna in 11th.

Lap 17: @OfficialSF1Team gets all cryptic: MSC in pits. two stop strategy for him. an indicator for others. #F1

Lap 17: Hamilton continues to lead strongly as McLaren ponders its strategy options.

Lap 17: Rosberg is down in 19th position after his first stop of the afternoon. He is chasing after Charles Pic.

Lap 17: Button is told he is running to "plan A", which is surely a one-stop. He is actually closing on Massa at the moment.

Lap 17: Raikkonen now the fastest man on the track having been released from behind Schumacher's Merc.

Lap 18: Schumacher rejoined in 15th place and will now have to try and pull back past the one-stoppers, as Maldonado sets the fastest lap of the race - 1m30.193s.

Lap 18: Perez continues to make the hard tyres work and has driven around Raikkonen into the Roggia chicane. That's a fine pass from the Mexican.

Lap 18: Raikkonen responds with a pitstop to take the hard rubber.

Lap 18: Webber challenges Kobayashi on the main straight and is through to take eighth as they barrel down into the first chicane.

Lap 19: Rosberg has passed Pic to take 18th. In the process he posts the fastest lap of the race - 1m30.011s.

Lap 19: Rosberg has now just set the fastest lap of the race on the hard tyre - 1m30.011s. Having had a pitstop the German is now in 17th.

Lap 19: Massa reports a loss of telemetry from his Ferrari, with Button now right on his gearbox.

Lap 19: Button cuts to the inside at Curva Grande and makes it stick into the second chicane to take over second place.

Lap 19: Kovalainen has pitted and the Caterham driver rejoins back down in 21st position, as Pic pits the Marussia.

Lap 20: Schumacher has passed D'Ambrosio into the Parabolica and that gives the German 13th.

Lap 20: Hamilton continues to lead strongly with his margin now 6.9 seconds over team-mate Button.

Lap 20: Massa heads in for a stop, taking the hard compound rubber.

Lap 20: Raikkonen rejoined from his stop in 15th position. He will be next man onto the back of D'Ambrosio's Lotus.

Lap 20: Button is told to push as Massa resumes in heavy traffic.

Lap 21: Maldonado sets another new fastest lap of the race in 17th, as Petrov pits the other Caterham from 18th position.

Lap 21: Maldonado the first man to dip in to the 1m29s.. (1m29.653s) on mediums.

Lap 21: Vettel and Alonso both peel into the pits.

Lap 21: Raikkonen is through, past D'Ambrosio and up to 14th in an easy switch of position.

Lap 21: Alonso is released just as Vettel steams past, with the pair resuming right behind Massa.

Lap 22: Webber is now up to fourth on the road and is told his one stop strategy looks good as more drivers switch to a two stop.

Lap 22: Kobayashi also came into the pits that time round. He rejoins down in around 15th spot.

Lap 22: Replays of that pit action show Ferrari did feed Alonso out into the middle lane, but it certainly was tight against Vettel's Red Bull.

Lap 22: Webber pits from third and di Resta is in from seventh spot.

Lap 23: Button has been pushing in recent laps and now heads in for a stop.

Lap 23: Not McLaren's finest stop and Button is back underway but ahead of the pack containing Massa, Vettel and Alonso.

Lap 24: So it's Hamilton and Perez yet to stop out front but surely McLaren will pit the leader this time.

Lap 24: Senna is also yet to stop and is being passed by the likes of Vettel and Alonso.

Lap 24: Senna is slipping down the order on used tyres as the leaders (who have recently pitted) stream past him. The Brazilian is down to seventh.

Lap 24: Hamilton pits for his change of tyres and this is a fast one - 2.7s. He resumes well clear.

Lap 25: Perez, who started on hard tyres, is still to make is first stop and leads for the moment in his Sauber.

Lap 25: Ricciardo sends a move on Senna and gets through into seventh at the Roggia chicane. Behind them, Hulkenberg tries to pull the same move on Schumacher, but to no avail.

Lap 25: Hamilton is three seconds behind Perez on the road, with team-mate Button now 8.3 further behind after a slow right-front wheel change.

Lap 25: Ricciardo and Senna pit together from what is now 10th and 11th positions.

Lap 25: Button is told his tyres were in good condition and that "plan A" - a one stop - will work.

Lap 26: Karthikeyan recently pitted the HRT, one lap after team-mate de la Rosa.

Lap 26: Massa is now two seconds behind Button in fourth, chased by Vettel and Alonso.

Lap 26: Schumacher is now seventh in his Mercedes as Raikkonen takes over eighth place in his Lotus.

Lap 26: Raikkonen moves up behind Hulkenberg and easily passes the Force India down the straight towards Turn 1. The Finn is up to eighth.

Lap 26: Hulkenberg, currently in eighth and fighting with Schumacher, is one of two men still to stop in the race. The other is D'Ambrosio down in 14th.

Lap 26: Alonso vs Vettel is a mighty scrap, with the pair side-by-side on the straight...

Lap 27: Alonso tries the wide line at Curva Grande - and it's too wide, bouncing over the grass and gravel.

Lap 27: Behind the top eighth, Hulkenberg is yet to stop in ninth with Rosberg 190th, Webber 11th, di Resta 12th and D'Ambrosio yet to stop in 13th.

Lap 27: Didn't look as if Alonso had a car width's worth of room to the outside of Vettel... He's not happy about it.

Lap 27: Question is, was he alongside Vettel enough?

Lap 27: Vettel certainly closed the door there, in an repeat of last year's scrap but with positions reversed.

Lap 28: Perez continues in his temporary lead but Hamilton is now just over a second behind him.

Lap 28: Perez is told to stay out by the Sauber team, who hope this long initial stint will pay off with a strong points position later in the race.

Lap 28: Hulkenberg pits from ninth for his one and only stop. He had been losing pace badly, in the 1m31s bracket over the last few laps.

Lap 29: Alonso has regained his composure and is now right back with Vettel.

Lap 29: D'Ambrosio is also in from 17th position. He ran wide on the last lap at the second Lesmo corner.

Lap 29: Hamilton is now right with Perez as the Mexican is told they plan to stay out four laps beyond his original plan.

Lap 29: Hamilton uses DRS on Perez and takes the lead back in his McLaren.

Lap 29: Button is catching Hamilton by about 0.2s a lap and has just set the fastest lap of the race - 1m29.262s.

Lap 29: So everyone, with the exception of Perez, has been in for one stop.

Lap 30: Alonso tries it again at Curva Grande and this time makes it stick, clearing Vettel into the second chicane.

Lap 30: Outside the top eight, Rosberg is fastest on the road with a time of 1m29.080s, ahead of Webber 10th, di Resta 11th and Kobayashi 12th.

Lap 30: The crowd like that as they cheer on Alonso. His next target is team-mate Massa.

Lap 30: Stewards are now looking at that incident between Vettel and Alonso a few laps ago.

Lap 31: Perez has now been in to visit the Sauber pit, taking his medium rubber for a run to the flag.

Lap 31: Maldonado is 13th with Ricciardo 14th, Senna losing out badly in those stops in 15th, Hulkenberg 16th, then the Caterham pair.

Lap 31: Hamilton sets the fastest lap at a 1m28.908s as he cements the lead gap at 7.2 seconds over team-mate Button.

Lap 32: Massa is now 4.1 seconds behind Button, with Alonso slowly closing on his team-mate.

Lap 32: Rosberg is continuing his good second stint. He remains in ninth, but is now on the tail of the recently rejoined Perez.

Lap 32: Vettel has been given a drive through penalty for that clash with Alonso.

Lap 33: Stewards rule that Vettel forced Alonso off the track.

Lap 33: @NickHeidfeld thinks this of the Vettel/Alonso incident: "assume Vettel didn't expect Alonso already to be next to him.Alonso had quite a lot overshoot speed... But was a bit dangerous nevertheless"

Lap 33: Meanwhile, Alonso is reeling in his team-mate and there will surely be little resistance from the Brazilian when Alonso arrives.

Lap 34: Vettel is fifth ahead of his drive through, which will drop him into the region of team-mate Webber in 10th.

Lap 34: Button slows in the McLaren...

Lap 34: Gaps are static behind the top eight. Rosberg (ninth) is dropping away from Perez, with bigger gaps between the drivers behind that.

Lap 34: Button's McLaren is clearly out of the race on the run to the Parabolica with a mechanical failure.

Lap 35: Glock comes in for his second stop from 21st position. He rejoins.

Lap 35: That puts Massa up to second place as Button steps out of the stranded car and walks back towards the pits.

Lap 35: Got to wonder if somebody up there is dealing the cards in Alonso's favour...

Lap 35: Replays show no obvious smoke from Button's McLaren, who reports "no drive". The team diagnose a fuel pick-up problem.

Lap 35: That puts Alonso third behind his team-mate Massa. One wonders whether those positions will stay the same.

Lap 36: Meanwhile, Vettel takes his drive-through and resumes behind team-mate Webber.

Lap 36: Perez is now the fastest man on track and harrying Raikkonen on fresher tyres.

Lap 36: AUTOSPORT's Group F1 Editor @NobleF1 observes: "This looks like being another big day for Fernando Alonso's championship charge..."

Lap 36: Raikkonen is currently fifth and may need to stop again, as does fourth-placed Schumacher.

Lap 37: Jenson's PA @Jules_Gough observes: "Oh no :("

Lap 37: Raikkonen isn't fifth for a moment as Perez slips past but he fights back and stays ahead of the Sauber.

Lap 37: Maldonado pits from 12th position in the Williams, for his second stop of the afternoon. He rejoins after a quick visit.

Lap 37: Perez tries the DRS on Raikkonen and forces the move as they sweep through the first chicane.

Lap 38: Behind this mighty scrap, Webber is eighth with team-mate Vettel on his gearbox.

Lap 38: Cynics might suggest that running Alonso wide at Monza is not a wise thing to do if you are seeking to run penalty free. On the other hand, with the FIA clamping down on driving standards, perhaps the world champion needs to be seen as squeaky clean. This debate may run and run...

Lap 38: Hamilton's lead is 12.3 seconds over Massa, who is told to think about conserving tyres. Alonso is now just 1.6 seconds behind.

Lap 38: Di Resta is 10th and has a gap over Kobayashi 11th, then Ricciardo 12th, Senna 13th, Hulkenberg 14th and Maldonado 15th.

Lap 39: Raikkonen is now under pressure from Rosberg's Mercedes and can't hold him off at the second chicane.

Lap 39: Vettel has another go at team-mate Webber into the first chicane and this time he makes it through. Vettel up to eighth spot.

Lap 39: Alonso closes to 0.9 seconds behind Massa and a move for the benefit of the championship is surely imminent.

Lap 40: Ferrari will have to get on with it as Perez, on fresher tyres, continues to close on the red cars.

Lap 40: Alonso gets DRS on his team-mate and there is little resistance as the Spaniard takes over second place.

Lap 41: Rosberg has been in for his second stop, resuming in 13th position.

Lap 41: Perez again sets the fastest lap at 1m27.846s and is closing on Massa's now third place car.

Lap 41: Kovalainen comes in from 18th for his second stop of the afternoon. He should hold onto that place, as he was well ahead of Pic.

Lap 41: Perez slashes the gap to Massa as he begins to eye a place on the podium.

Lap 41: Rosberg is flying on his new tyres and quickly gets past Senna to take 12th place.

Lap 41: Petrov has been in from 17th for his second stop.

Lap 41: Raikkonen runs fifth, being closed on by the Red Bull pair. The Finn may still need more rubber after an early first stop.

Lap 42: Behind the top seven, di Resta is eighth and trying to bridge a 2.3s gap to the Red Bulls, with Kobayashi ninth and Schumacher 10th.

Lap 42: Perez remains on a stellar pace in his Sauber and can now see Massa's Ferrari up ahead.

Lap 42: Ricciardo is 11th but behind him Rosberg is closing down a 1.3s gap very quickly. Senna is 13th ahead of Hulkenberg 14th, then Maldonado.

Lap 42: Meanwhile, Hamilton continues to lead strongly and will be taking it easy on his rubber to ensure he doesn't run out of Pirellis.

Lap 43: Webber is told that Vettel has a car problem that may cause him to stop suddenly.

Lap 43: While Perez is now right with Massa in a scrap for third.

Lap 43: Perez needs no help to blast past Massa down into Parabolica and take over third place.

Lap 43: Rosberg is through on Ricciardo and up into 11th place.

Lap 44: Alonso is just a couple of seconds ahead of Perez and the Mexican is sure to be giving the Spaniard a headache pretty soon.

Lap 44: Perez is clocked just behind 1.2 seconds behind Alonso as he continues to set a rapid pace with a 1m27.705s fastest tour.

Lap 44: Schumacher has passed Kobayashi and moves up to ninth position.

Lap 45: Hamilton will now have to get a move on as the remarkable Perez looks to get past Alonso to take over second place.

Lap 45: Rosberg in 11th spot is 3.1s behind the Japanese driver, and closed almost two second on the last lap.

Lap 45: Perez is obviously taking a lot out of his tyres at the moment but he and the Sauber are traditionally very gentle on the rubber.

Lap 45: Alonso now has the Sauber right in his mirrors and a move past the Ferrari is surely coming soon.

Lap 46: DRS engaged for Perez and he dives past Alonso into Ascari to take over second place.

Lap 46: What a drive this is from Perez as he comes around in second place, 11.2 seconds behind leader Hamilton.

Lap 46: Rosberg continues to close in Kobayashi at a rate of knots. The gap is less than one second as the fight for 10th develops.

Lap 46: Hamilton is warned of Perez and asked to up his pace.

Lap 47: Further up the road, Schumacher is also charging and is on the tail of di Resta.

Lap 47: Rosberg makes a move at the Roggia chicane and is through, ahead of Kobayashi and into 10th spot.

Lap 47: Schumacher passes di Resta's Force India and the German moves up to eighth place.

Lap 47: Hamilton responds to the pressure from Perez, with the lead gap now 10.5 seconds.

Lap 47: Vettel has stopped in his Red Bull!

Lap 48: The team knew that problem was developing but that's another costly retirement for the reigning world champion.

Lap 48: Five laps remain in a thrilling Italian Grand Prix.

Lap 48: Replays show that Vettel was told to stop his car to save the engine after the same, alternator, problem as in final practice.

Lap 49: Schumacher charges up behind Webber exiting Curva Grande and he is easily into sixth at the Roggia.

Lap 49: Up front, Hamilton now leads Perez by just 8.4 seconds, with Alonso a further six seconds back in third.

Lap 49: Rosberg is continuing to charge. He has caught di Resta and they are fighting over eighth.

Lap 50: Rosberg pulls out and passes the Scot into the Roggia chicane, demoting the Force India driver to ninth spot.

Lap 50: Vettel arrives back in the pitlane on foot, no doubt extremely disappointed.

Lap 50: Webber has made some kind of error at the Ascari chicane. Replays show that he grabbed perhaps too much kerb and that pitched him into a high-speed spin.

Lap 51: Perez has the gap down to 7.3s, as Hulkenberg pulls into the pits and retires.

Lap 51: Webber is touring after that incident at the Ascari chicane. He is dropping down the order like a stone.

Lap 51: Raikkonen in fifth is trying to make it on his used tyres, but Schumacher is less than two seconds behind him now.

Lap 52: Webber tours into the pits, reporting massive flat spots on his tyres after that high-speed spin.

Lap 53: Hamilton begins his final lap at Monza.

Lap 53: Rosberg is also very quick in seventh, with di Resta eighth, Kobayashi ninth and Ricciardo in 10th spot.

Lap 53: Perez is 5.8 seconds behind the McLaren and looks to be on course for a brilliant second place.

Lap 53: Schumacher continues to close on Raikkonen but it looks like he won't make it past the Lotus by the flag.

Lap 53: Hamilton rounds the Parabolica and heads for victory at Monza.

13:23 Lewis Hamilton wins the Italian Grand Prix!

13:23 A fine drive from the 2008 champion as he gets right back into the title race with his third triumph of the campaign.

13:23 It's a brilliant second for Perez in the Sauber, making the most of his tyres with some incredible pace for another great podium.

13:23 Third for Alonso in the end after battling through from a lowly 10th grid slot. He is still very much in command of the championship fight.

13:23 A good drive from Massa today but he had to cede position to Alonso and can only manage fourth at the flag.

13:24 Raikkonen manages to hang on to aeging tyres to take fifth in his Lotus.

13:24 A late charge from Schumacher gives him sixth and is the leading man to try two stops this afternoon.

13:25 Rosberg posted the fastest lap of the race on his final lap and comes home seventh, with di Resta eighth and Kobayashi ninth.

13:25 Delight for Hamilton, who cuts through all of the speculation about his future with what the team declare a "fantastic" drive.

13:25 Ricciardo faltered in the final sector on the last lap. His chance of a point slipped away, as Senna swept through into 10th.

13:26 Maldonado also got past the disappointed Australian and comes home 11th, with Ricciardo 12th, D'Ambrosio 13th and getting to the end.

13:27 Kovalainen finished 14th, just one-tenth of a second ahead of team-mate Petrov, with Pic 16th, Glock 17th and de la Rosa 18th.

13:28 Perez bounces out of his second-place Sauber and celebrates wildly with the team.

13:28 Karthikeyan was 19th with Webber classified 20th, Hulkenberg classified 21st and Vettel also classified, in 22nd position.

13:29 Two drivers officially retired from today's race:

Button ground to a halt at two-thirds distance with a fuel pick-up problem, while Jean-Eric Vergne skidded his way to retirement at the first chicane, after a suspected suspension failure.

13:32 The top three drivers walk onto the podium and God Save the Queen rings out over Monza for today's winners - Lewis Hamilton and McLaren.

13:33 Hamilton picks up the winner's trophy after a fine drive to victory in Italy.

13:33 McLaren's principal race engineer Phil Prew is on hand to receive the constructors' award.

13:33 Sergio Perez receives his award for second place. A wonderful drive from the Mexican and he is understandably delighted and celebrates.

13:34 The tifosi below are delighted as Alonso gets his third place trophy following another great drive through the field.

13:35 The champagne sprays on the podium and Hamilton gets a drenching from Perez, before all three of them shower the assembled tifosi.

13:36 Niki Lauda is on hand to interview the podium drivers infront of the fervent crowd.

13:38 Alonso remarkably extends his championship advantage after starting 10th and is now 37 points clear of Hamilton.

13:39 Raikkonen is a point behind Hamilton, with Vettel - who retired today - now fourth and right with that pair.

13:40 McLaren closes to just 29 points behind Red Bull in the constructors' points after a terrible weekend for the reigning champions.

13:41 Stick with AUTOSPORT for all the reaction to a fantastic Italian Grand Prix.

13:42 Lewis Hamilton gets his season back on track after a faultless drive at the royal park.

His race was shaped with a good start, holding off a charging Massa into the first chicane and then never looking back, building up a healthy lead and controlling the pace from there.

Sauber will be delighted again with another epic performance from Sergio Perez, while Fernando Alonso picks up another strong podium to keep his championship charge right on course.

Disappointment for Button, who was well placed for a podium result, while a gutted Sebastian Vettel endured a difficult afternoon, but there will be talk and reaction after his moment with Alonso in the middle of the Curva Grande at almost 170 mph.

This was the 2012 Italian Grand Prix on AUTOSPORT Live. Thanks for joining us over the last three days. We will be back to do it all over again at the Singapore night race in two weeks time.

  OVERVIEW ITALIAN GRAND PRIX  
Race length: 53 laps
  CURRENT WEATHER
Clear skies High Temp: 27°C / 81°F
Track: Dry
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Friday 07 Sep Start GMT
 Friday practice one 07:55
 Friday practice two 11:55
Saturday 08 Sep
 Saturday practice 08:55
 Qualifying 11:50
Sunday 09 Sep
 The Italian Grand Prix 11:45
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