It was a start of contrasting fortunes for McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton at today’s Italian Grand Prix.
From second on the grid, his first front row start for 24 races, Button got a flier despite polesitter Fernando Alonso’s attempt to squeeze him wide on the long run down to the opening chicane.
From his fifth position, Hamilton comfortably edged ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber up to fourth as they approached the Rettifilio.
But in a three-car battle heading into the second chicane, the Variante della Roggia, the front right wheel of Hamilton’s car and the rear left of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari collided.
The accident immediately broke the front-right suspension, eventually sending championship leader Hamilton into the gravel for his second retirement in three races.
After four laps Alonso was hounding Button, with Massa third, Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes fourth, Robert Kubica sixth for Renault, with Sebastian Vettel seventh in his Red Bull and Webber ninth.