Next: German GP 20-22 July

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Lewis Hamilton recovered from a start-line glitch to take his sixth win of the season at the Italian Grand Prix, with title rival Nico Rosberg forced to settle for second place after an error from the German midway through the race handed the lead back to the Briton. Felipe Massa claimed his first podium finish since the Spanish Grand Prix of 2013 with third place and fourth in the race for Valtteri Bottas means that Williams move past Ferrari to claim third in the Constructors’ Championship on a day when Fernando Alonso recorded his first non-finish of the season and Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth.

At the start, Hamilton made a poor getaway, appearing to have no power when the lights went out. He was passed by Rosberg, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, who made a superb start from fifth, and Williams’ Felipe Massa. Hamilton reported that he had a technical problem and his team informed him that the race start mode of his car "was all in a muddle" and that they would try to rectify the software glitch. Behind the front four came Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, who had passed Fernando Alonso.

Valtteri Bottas was the man who lost out most, however. The Finn made a terrible start and promptly dropped like a stone to 11th position. Daniel Ricciardo, too, had a problem, running wide at the first chicane. He dropped from ninth on the grid to 12th at the end of lap one. After five laps Massa was past Magnussen and the Brazilian was quickly followed by Hamilton, who had been told that he now had full ERS at his disposal. At the front, Rosberg was now three seconds clear but the gap was beginning to diminish. It dropped further on lap nine when Rosberg made an unforced error, outbraking himself into Turn One. He was forced to take the escape road and slalom his way through the polystyrene boards beforee rejoining.

A lap later Hamilton passed Massa around the outside of the first chicane, slipping past the Williams on the inside as the pair exited the section to take second. That left the gap between Rosberg and his team-mate at just over two seconds. Behind them the order, on lap 12, was Massa followed by Magnussen, Vettel, Button, Alonso, Perez, Bottas in P9 and Kimi Raikkonen in 10th. At this point, Bottas was the man on the move. On lap 14 the Finn made his way past Perez and then he breezed past Alonso on the pit straight on lap 16 to claim P7.

Further ahead, Magnussen was the cork in the bottle. Eleven seconds down on third-placed Massa, the Dane was holding up Vettel and Button. That logjam allowed Bottas to close and he soon passed Button on the pit straight with ease. Vettel made a single, very early stop on lap 18, taking on hard tyres and emerging in P15. Perez was the next in, the Mexican too taking on hard tyres, followed by Raikkonen on lap 20. The Finn rejoined in P13. At the front, Bottas passed Magnussen for fourth place and that was the cue for Magnussen to pit for hard tyres, in tandem with Alonso.

Leader Rosberg visited pit lane on lap 24, with Hamilton just over a second in arrears. The Briton was told it was "hammer time", but could he make up the deficit? The answer was negative. Hamilton emerged just over a second and a half adrift of the German. Hamilton was then told by his pit wall that he would need to save tyres for an attack at the end of the race.

The Englishman, though, was not in the mood to wait and promptly set purple lap times to close in on his team-mate. The pressure told immediately. On lap 29 Rosberg once again went too deep into the first corner and was forced to take the escape road for the second time, handing the lead to Hamilton. The Mercedes messaging suddenly went into reverse, with Rosberg now being told to save tyres and fuel for a late-race assault on the lead.

Behind them, Alonso’s race came to an end on the same lap, the Ferrari driver losing power on the pit straight. He pulled off track and stopped at the first chicane to record his first retirement of the season. The order, then, on lap 33, was Hamilton, 2.9s ahead of Rosberg, with Massa 13.7s further back. Vettel was now fourth, having used the undercut of his very early stop and the clear air afforded by it, to get ahead of Magnussen. Bottas was sixth ahead of Perez, Button, Raikkonen and Ricciardo. Bottas was pressuring Magnussen hard, however, and on lap 31 the pair went wheel-to-wheel into the first corner, with Magnussen on the inside. Bottas was forced to pull out of his attempted passing move and crossed the chicane.

The Finn eventually got past the Dane on lap 37 on the pit straight to claim P5. Magnussen’s afternoon got worse, as he was then hit with a five-second stop and go penalty for the earlier incident with the Williams driver. Further up the road, Bottas made a move past Vettel to claim fourth place and just behind, Ricciardo on fresher tyres than those ahead, went past Button to claim eighth place. The Australian was soon pressuring Perez and after setting up a move through the Curva Grande, he made it past the Force India into the second chicane on lap 41. That put Magnussen in the Red Bull driver’s sights and the Australian again used the first chicane to make a move, passing the Dane under braking.

Ricciardo, armed with tyres seven laps younger than his team-mate, closed quickly on Vettel. He made a first attempt into Turn One, but Vettel braked late and refused to give way. The champion got a poorer exit from the corner, however, and Ricciardo used the better grip available to him to pull alongside on the run to the second chicane. He ducked down the inside and swept past to claim fifth. At the front, Hamilton had comfortably pulled away from Rosberg, with the gap at a steady 4.2s.

Rosberg seemed to have no answer to the Britain’s pace and was eventually forced to settle for second place. Now the bottleneck was Vettel, with the German trying to nurse his worn hard tyres to the flag. Magnussen was just behind, appearing content to make it to the flag and take his penalty after the end of the race, as allowed by the regulations when no more pit stops are scheduled. Perez, behind Magnussen could sense a move on the Red Bull driver might be possible but he could find now way past the Dane.

Thus, Hamilton took his sixth win of the season, ahead of Rosberg, Massa, who took his first podium finish Spain in 2013, and Valtteri Bottas. Ricciardo was fifth ahead of team-mate Vettel. Perez was classified seventh ahead of Button and Raikkonen, while Magnussen dropped to 10th after his penalty time was added.
53 laps, 306.720km., Weather: Sunny.
 P.    DRIVER             TEAM            TIME    
 1. Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes AMG   1h19:10.236
 2. Nico Rosberg        Mercedes AMG    +    3.175
 3. Felipe Massa        Williams        +   25.026
 4. Valtteri Bottas     Williams        +   40.786
 5. Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull        +   50.309
 6. Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull        +   59.965
 7. Sergio Perez        Force India     + 1:02.518
 8. Jenson Button       Mclaren         + 1:03.063
 9. Kimi Raikkonen      Ferrari         + 1:03.535
10. Kevin Magnussen     McLaren         + 1:06.171
11. Daniil Kvyat        Toro Rosso      + 1:11.184
12. Nico Hulkenberg     Force India     + 1:12.606
13. Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso      + 1:13.093
14. Pastor Maldonado    Lotus           +    1 lap
15. Adrian Sutil        Sauber          +    1 lap
16. Romain Grosjean     Lotus           +    1 lap
17. Kamui Kobayashi     Caterham        +    1 lap
18. Jules Bianchi       Marussia        +    1 lap
19. Marcus Ericsson     Caterham        +   2 laps
20. Esteban Gutierrez   Sauber          +   2 laps

FASTEST LAP: Lewis Hamilton - 1:28.004            

Fernando Alonso      Ferrari           29
Max Chilton          Marussia           6

After 13 races:
Drivers:                    Constructors:         
 1. Nico Rosberg      238   1. Mercedes AMG  454
 2. Lewis Hamilton    216   2. Red Bull      272
 3. Daniel Ricciardo  166   3. Williams      177
 4. Valtteri Bottas   122   4. Ferrari       162
 5. Fernando Alonso   121   5. McLaren       110
 6. Sebastian Vettel  106   6. Force India   109
 7. Jenson Button      72   7. Toro Rosso     19
 8. Nico Hulkenberg    70   8. Lotus           8
 9. Felipe Massa       55   9. Marussia        2
10. Kimi Räikkönen     41
11. Sergio Perez       39
12. Kevin Magnussen    38
13. Jean-Eric Vergne   11
14. Romain Grosjean     8
15. Daniil Kvyat        8
16. Jules Bianchi       2