Sun sets on the McLaren glory days

Look back: the podium of the 2007 Italian Grand Prix, September 9.

Quite often when we look back over the history of Formula 1, we're filled with nostalgia remembering teams that rose and fell over years and decades. But rarely do we get such a powerful sense of by-gone eras from races as recent as 2007 and 2012.

These were the years of the two most recent Grand Prix events to be held on this date, September 9. Both were Italian races staged at the Temple of Speed, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. And on both occasions, the winning team was McLaren.

In 2007, Fernando Alonso managed to beat his team mate Lewis Hamilton to the chequered flag. It was a 1-2 for the team which was arguably close to its peak. However it was the man in third place on the podium that day (pictured above), Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who would go on to clinch the drivers' championship by a single point from both Alonso and Hamilton.

Flash forward five years on this day, and it was Hamilton who emerged triumphant in that year's Italian Grand Prix for McLaren. He started the race from pole alongside team mate Jenson Button. It had been the team's 62nd front-row lock-out, breaking the previous record set by Williams.

Pictured below, Hamilton dominated the race and went on to finish four seconds ahead of Sergio Perez. A stunning drive from the Mexican had put Sauber ahead of Alonso, who by now was driving for Ferrari.

Hamilton's victory that day was McLaren's 180th win in Formula 1. The first had been at Spa in 1968. But since that day in Monza, McLaren has won only two more races. Both of them were in the remaining races of the 2012 season: Hamilton was victorious in the US and Button claimed the win in Brazil.

In the years since, McLaren has failed to take any more race wins. With the current trials and tribulations of the MCL32 and the team's ill-fated relationship with Honda since 2015, the glory days of one of Formula 1's greatest marques seem a distant dream from very long time ago, and not a mere five years...

Look back: McLaren's Lewis Hamilton wins the 2012 Italian Grand Prix

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