McLaren only got one car home for the third race in a row.
This time it was Lewis Hamilton who failed to finish after banging wheels with Felipe Massa on lap one and coming off worst.
Meanwhile Jenson Button came within a pit stop of what could have been a remarkable win with an unusual set-up.
|Jenson Button||Lewis Hamilton|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’22.084 (-0.539)||1’22.623|
|Average race lap||1’26.557|
The McLaren drivers had a choice between a high downforce rear wing with the F-duct, or a conventional Monza low-drag rear wing.
Button tried the high downforce wing in first practice, liked it, and stuck with it for the rest of the race weekend. It served him well in qualifying where he claimed his highest starting position of the year so far – second.
He passed Fernando Alonso to lead at the start and spent 36 laps with Alonso usually within a second of his rear wing – which was slightly damaged by contact between the two on the first lap.
Despite being up to 14kph slower on the straights Button’s superior pace through the middle sector kept him safe – until the pit stops.
Alonso pitted one lap later than Button and came out narrowly ahead. Button was diplomatic about the crucial eight tenths of a second lost in his pit stop:
The pit stops are always very tricky. The guys have practised over the weekend but I am the first pit stop for the team when I come in. It’s always a tricky situation. For me, the pit stop went pretty smoothly. I was quite happy with it but I didn’t know that Fernando was that much quicker.
So we lost time there but also for me, out on the circuit, when I got back out I struggled on the tyre. I could feel that I was losing time even to my option tyres which obviously weren’t in fantastic condition.
It wasn’t all the pit stop, I think. It was also maybe the wrong call on our part of choosing to come in early.
Hamilton tried the high downforce wing in first practice, then switched to the low downforce wing without an F-duct which he preferred.
But in qualifying mistakes on both his laps in Q3 left him fifth on the grid and questioning whether he’d made a mistake with his set-up:
It would appear that we took the wrong route by running without the F-duct this weekend. I just didn’t have the downforce today, and the car was sliding in the corners – I couldn’t push any harder because the car just wouldn’t give me any more.
From fifth on the grid he was quickly up to fourth ahead of Webber. But an optimistic attempt to pass Felipe Massa at the Roggia chicane ended his race with a broken front-right wheel.
Hamilton apologised for his mistake afterwards.
2010 Italian Grand Prix
Image © www.mclaren.com