Formula One Betting: It's Advantage Alonso in Driver's Championship Now

There was something fitting about the Italian Grand Prix podium.

The three drivers who greeted the passionate Monza crowd after the Grand Prix were the same trio who were taken out of the previous race at the first corner by the hapless Romain Grosjean.

Lewis Hamilton silenced a weekend of speculation about his future with a consummate win.

And Sergio Perez strengthened his credentials as potentially Ferrari’s next F1 driver with an excellent drive from twelfth to second, passing both the red cars in their own backyard.

But perhaps the happiest of the three was third-placed Fernando Alonso. And not just because his third consecutive Monza podium as a Ferrari driver has cemented his place in the crowd’s affections.

Advantage Alonso

Twenty-four hours earlier all was not well in the Alonso camp. His weekend had begun with a series of problems with his car (rebuilt after the Spa shunt) which combined to rob him of practice time.

Alonso demonstrated the ever-improving pace of the F2012 in qualifying by setting the fastest time in the first two parts. But when it came to the crunch another technical glitch left him unable to set a competitive time and languishing in tenth on the grid.

From that position on Sunday morning, his recovery in the race was masterful. What's more, it bodes extremely well for his championship chances.

True, he received some assistance from team mate Felipe Massa on the way, which will have come as no surprise to those who read THIS ARTICLEBut other than that Alonso seized every place the hard way, and had to cope with a wounded car after being forced off the track by title rival Sebastian Vettel at one stage.

Alonso extended his lead over all his championship rivals bar Hamilton. Red Bull failed to score at all: Vettel suffered a repeat of the alternator problem which cost him a win at Valencia.and Mark Webber spun out at Ascari.

But just as encouraging for Alonso as his championship situation is the fact that at this Grand Prix Ferrari finally had a car that seemed to be a match for anything else in normal conditions.

Two races ago Alonso’s lead was 40 points and his championship odds 2.0. Despite not scoring at Spa he retains a 37-point advantage and his odds of winning have been cut to 1.55.

Hamilton’s hopes

Alonso’s situation is bolstered by the fact that none of his championship rivals have emerged from the chasing pack as a principle contender. But could that be about to change.

McLaren have won the last three races and two of those victories were claimed by Hamilton. Like Alonso, he was taken out in the Belgian race.

As things stand Hamilton, on odds of 4.5 to win the title, looks best-placed to take the fight to Alonso. Last week the team’s sporting director Sam Michael told me they considered the next race at Singapore to be a crucial indicator for the championship.

Monza and Spa are unusual circuits in that teams run lower than usual levels of downforce. For Singapore they will crank their wing levels back up to something closer to normal levels. McLaren know that if they are competitive there it’s game on in the championship.

But this is also why the rumours about Hamilton’s future are significant. If he really is about to join Mercedes for next year, that can only disturb his relationship with McLaren.

And on a more practical level, he may find himself kept out of the loop on any late-season developments which may be related to their 2013 car.

That’s just one more reason why it’s advantage Alonso after Monza.

Read more Formula One comment from Keith Collantine HERE.

Keith is the editor of Formula One Blog F1 Fanatic