Montoya wins Italian GP

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Juan Pablo Montoya of McLaren won the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday from pole while Renault's Fernando Alonso came second.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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Juan Pablo Montoya of McLaren won the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday from pole while Renault's Fernando Alonso came second to maintain his lead in the drivers' championship standings. Alonso's team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella was third at Monza, with Montoya's fellow driver Kimi Raikkonen finishing fourth after starting from 11th on the grid. The rain stayed away on Sunday for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The first two corners on this fast circuit were much feared by the drivers but they all emerged unscathed - except for Tiego Monteiro of Jordan-Toyota. The Portuguese driver spun off the track but was able to rejoin the race. Raikkonen slowly pulls up Montoya's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had posted the fastest time in qualifying but started the race in 11th place following a third engine change in six grand prix, for which he was dropped ten places. The Finnish driver would have hoped to have made up a few places at the start, but he struggled to over-take with Jacques Villenueve in particular, of Sauber-Petronas a major obstacle. However he slowly made his way up the field - knowing that a good result was necessary if he was to remain in contention to take the world championship title. Leader in the standings, Fernando Alonso of Renault had started second behind Montoya. Raikkonen made his only scheduled pit stop on the 26th lap of the 53-lap race. Three laps later he returned to the pits to change his rear left tire due to a problem that appeared to duplicate itself with Montoya later. On the 45th lap, Raikkonen spun out and came to a brief but complete stop on the gravel, letting Jarno Trulli overtake him into fourth place. Three laps later, Raikkonen passed Trulli and returned to fourth position but the time lost prevented the Finn from challenging Fisichella for third. Montoya meanwhile had a smooth race until a problem developed with his rear left tire on the final laps - as had happened to his team-mate - and Alonso started gaining on him. Just in time The race finished just in time for Montoya, however, and the Colombian won in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 28.659 seconds. Alonso finished 2.4 seconds back. Fisichella was 17.9 seconds behind, with Raikkonen at a gap of 22.7 seconds. It was the sixth victory of Montoya's career and second at Monza, where he won his first Grand Prix in 2001. Montoya also won the British GP in July for his only other victory this season. McLaren's first and fourth placings were worth one more point than Renault's second and third. McLaren now trail Renault by eight points in the constructors' standings. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher finished 10th, mathematically ending his run of five straight world titles, while his teammate Rubens Barrichello was 12th. Alonso tops the drivers' standings with 103 points with Raikkonen on 76. Michael Schumacher lies third with 55 points. (AP)

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