Fernando Alonso kept alive his drivers’ world championship challenge with a near-flawless drive to an emotional and exciting victory in yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix, his maiden race on home soil for Ferrari.
The 29-year-old Spaniard, who had said he needed a victory to maintain his bid for a third world title in his first season with the Italian scarlet scuderia, delivered a stirring performance to the delight of a notably sparse crowd in the grandstands.
Alonso lost a place after starting from his 19th pole position, but fought back and aided by a dazzling Ferrari pit-stop was able to hold on to win ahead of second-placed defending champion Jenson Button of McLaren and Felipe Massa, in the second Ferrari.
It was his third win this season and the 24th victory of his career.
He now has 166 points and is back within reach of the championship leaders who, once again, shuffled their positions, with sixth-placed Mark Webber taking over on top from Lewis Hamilton, who crashed out in his McLaren on the opening lap.
Webber is on 187 points, five clear of luckless Hamilton with five races to go.
Amazingly, German Sebastian Vettel finished fourth after surviving early engine problems and diving in for an extraordinary pit-stop on the final lap.
Nico Rosberg finished fifth in the second Mercedes, ahead of Webber, Nico Hulkenberg of Williams and Robert Kubica of Renault, who was eighth.
Seven-times champion Michael Schumacher, 41, finished ninth and Rubens Barrichello was 10th.
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