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Lewis Hamilton wins Italian Grand Prix as Perez flies

Britain's Lewis Hamilton has won the Italian GP for McLaren for the first time in his career. Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel failed to finish, while Fernando Alonso came in third, extending his overall lead.

Hamilton grabbed his second win in three races on Sunday after a dominant performance at Monza. The 27-year-old started from pole position and led throughout, with the exception of a brief spell during the mid-race pit stops.

With a time of 1 hour, 19 minutes and 41.221 seconds, Hamilton was comfortably ahead of Sauber's Sergio Perez. But it was a dazzling drive from the Mexican who started in 12th position in his Sauber and then finished 16.2 seconds ahead of Ferrari's championship leader, Fernando Alonso of Spain. Alonso was followed by his Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa.

It was a disappointing race for defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany, who had to retire with laps to go over what seemed to be an alternator problem. He was also handed a drive-through penalty for forcing Alonso off the track.

The Australian Mark Webber, of Red Bull, also had to retire as did McLaren's Jenson Button. A week after winning in Belgium, Button appears out of contention for the championship, with 101 points in the overall standings.

After garnering precious championship points with his podium finish, Alonso tops the standings with 179 points. Hamilton has 142, while Kimi Rikkonen of Lotus has 141 and Vettel has 140.

ccp/mkg (AFP, dpa, Reuters)