Hamilton gifted victory in Italy
Following the frustrations of his controversial clash with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the Belgium Grand Prix two weeks ago, Briton’s Lewis Hamilton seized an important gain by taking victory over the German in yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Williams’ Felipe Massa scored his first podium finish of the year by taking third behind the two Silver Arrows.
Having out qualified Rosberg to take pole position, in yet another Mercedes lookout, Hamilton bogged down after the five red lights went out, and dropped behind Rosberg, Massa and McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen going into the first chicane.
This sparked a comeback drive of note with first Magnussen on lap five, and then Massa at the start of the following lap, falling victim to the fast charging Brit. Eating into Rosberg’s lead, Hamilton was given a lifeline at the start of lap nine when Rosberg locked up, and shot down the escape road at turn one.
Although the German kept the lead, a similar error, after the first round of pit stops, at the start of lap 30, was enough for Hamilton to take the lead.
Rosberg’s double lock-ups didn’t go unnoticed however, as social media exploded with allegations that the moments had been staged as punishment for the German, who admitted causing the collision with Hamilton in Belgium.
“[Mercedes team boss] Toto Wolff appeared to have a smile on his face as Hamilton passed Rosberg. I wonder what that was about,” BBC Radio 5 live commentator, James Allen, posted on the broadcaster’s website.
Contradicting Allen, BBC television commentator and former F1 driver, David Coulthard, wrote “That wasn't a gift, that was pressure. Hamilton pressured Rosberg into making a mistake. He has been systematically putting pressure on Rosberg and as soon as he got to within a second the pressure got to Rosberg.”
Responding to the allegations, Wolff told the BBC that although it was rare for Rosberg to make consecutive errors, is was down the pressure applied by Hamilton.
“Only a paranoid mind could come up with such an idea,” he said.
“You mean whether we told him to miss the braking, go through the chicane and let Lewis past? No. This is for the drivers' world championship. He was under pressure and that was why it happened."
Speaking to SkySports after the race, Rosberg admitted that he had only himself to blame for the errors, saying, “Lewis was quick coming from behind, so I had to up my pace and then as a result l just made a mistake. That was very bad and lost me the lead in the end, so definitely very disappointing from that point of view.”
Despite being yet again booed on the podium by the capacity crowd, Rosberg said that although he was disappointed not to have won, only a small bit of his championship lead had been lost to Hamilton.
“I look at the reality – second place, it’s still okay. There’s definitely a lot worse than that. I lost seven points to Lewis, so that’s the frame of mind I’m trying to take”.
In stark contrast to his mood in Belgium, a visibly elated Hamilton told Sky after the race, “I wanted to apply pressure. I knew that if I got to the end l wouldn’t be able to so I just wanted to apply the pressure when the tyres were good. I knew I had the pace and wanted to utilise it."
He now trails Rosberg by 22 points going into the Singapore Night Race on September 21st.
Mercedes’ joy was into contrast to disappointed faces among the homecrowd after Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, retired on lap 28 following a failure with his car’s hybrid energy system. It was also his first mechanical retirement since Hungary 2009. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen capped off another woeful weekend for the Scuderia by finished ninth.
CAPTION: A delighted Lewis Hamilton accepts the cheers of the crowd after winning the Italian Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg (left) and Williams' Felipe Massa (right). IMAGE sourced from SkySportF1.com
Italian Grand Prix Results
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+50.309|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||+59.965|
|7.||Sergio Perez||Force India||+1:02.518|
|11.||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+01:11.184|
|12.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||+01:12.606|
|13.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||+01:13.093|
|14.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus||+ 1 Lap|
|15.||Adrian Suthil||Sauber||+ 1 Lap|
|16.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||+ 1 Lap|
|17.||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham||+ 1 Lap|
|18.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia||+ 1 Lap|
|19.||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber||+ 2 Laps|
|20.||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham||+ 2 Laps|
|DNF||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||Mechanical - 28 Laps|
|DNF||Max Chilton||Marussia||Spun off - 5 Laps|
Championship Points after Italian Grand Prix
|3.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||166|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||106|
|8.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||70|
|11.||Sergio Perez||Force India||39|
|13.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||11|
|15.||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||8|
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