At the temple of speed, Lewis Hamilton took victory and reduced the deficit in the championship battle. In a race won by his sheer speed, Hamilton finished three seconds clear of his team-mate, whose mistakes proved costly.
Lewis Hamilton started the race on pole position ahead of Rosberg and both the Williams courtesy of a strong qualifying for the Mercedes powered teams. But when the 5 red lights turned out, Rosberg immediately had the lead of the race.
An energy recovery system issue before the race had even begun caused the pole sitter to slip behind his team-mate, Felipe Massa and the fast starting Kevin Magnussen. Over the next few laps his power slowly began to return but the early damage had already been made, leaving Lewis with a lot of work to do.
Another driver to lose big from the start was Valtteri Bottas. After starting third on the grid, like Hamilton, he suffered a poor start and was immediately swamped by the midfield cars. Unlike Lewis who was able to keep in touch with the front, Bottas dropped back into 11th place. Making his race mainly a recovery drive.
With no challenge from Hamilton, Rosberg set fastest lap after fastest lap as he increased the lead out front. Whilst Magnussen in second place held Massa and Hamilton behind, only adding even more time to Rosberg’s lead.
As soon as DRS was enabled on lap three, even more pressure was heaped onto Magnussen. It took Massa a few more laps before an overtake was fully possible, after more solid defending by McLaren’s rookie. This coming two weeks after Magnussen performed an array of phenomenal defending moves during the Belgian Grand Prix.
But on lap 5, the speed advantage the Williams is carrying came to profit going into the second chicane. Going around the outside gave Massa the perfect line to complete the overtake. In turn, Magnussen was forced to slow more than he would have liked and produced Hamilton the perfect moment to leap ahead.
After his poor start, Bottas began to claw his way back through the field on lap six. Joined by Nico Hulkenberg down the pit straight, Bottas made his way past to secure 10th place. Valtteri went on to make multiple overtakes down the bit straight with the speed of his car and DRS too much for the others to handle.
But as he began to claw his way back towards the front, Max Chilton began to make his way back to the garage. The British Marussia driver, who had finished every F1 race he entered up until the Canadian Grand Prix, found himself out of the Italian Grand Prix after beaching his car in the gravel. After entering the second chicane too heavy, he was unable to make the turn and found himself stuck in gravel.
After clearing Magnussen, Massa and Hamilton soon become the fastest cars on the track as they chased down Rosberg. Luckily for them, Rosberg out-braked himself into the first chicane despite being unchallenged. Then on the following lap, it was a Mercedes one-two.
Under breaking for the first chicane, Hamilton made a bold move stick as he flung his Silver Arrow around the outside of Massa. Breaking later into turn one allowed Hamilton to go around the outside of Massa before holding the inside line for turn two.
Despite the expectations for it to be a one pit stop race, the first change came as early as the tenth lap. Sauber changed Gutierrez from the hard tyres onto the faster mediums, and opened the door for pit stops.
Now as strategies begun to come into call, the order began to shuffle. Whilst at the front, Rosberg continued to hold a narrow lead over Hamilton with their pit stops looming.
Before Hamilton would take his mandatory stop, he was told by the team that its ‘hammer time’ as he looked to reduce Rosberg’s lead. Over the lap leading to Hamilton’s stop he clearly pushed hard as he exited the pits close to his championship rival.
Now with his team-mate and championship rival within touching distance, the pursuit was far from over and the throttle stayed well & truly welded to the ground. Then in a matter of moments, Rosberg’s two second lead disappeared as he begun to save fuel.
On lap 29, Rosberg began to feel the pressure being heaped on him from Hamilton as the German yet again forced himself to take to the escape road at turn one. This time it would cost him far more than a slight loss of his lead as Hamilton moved firmly ahead. Now with the lead back in his hand and both Mercedes drivers pit stops complete, Hamilton stretched out his lead as quickly as he ate away at Rosberg’s.
But as this went on in front of the home Ferrari fans, a problem on board Fernando’s Ferrari saw Alonso grind to a halt down at the first chicane. Up until this he was the only driver to secure a points scoring finish in every race this year.
More action continued to unfold going into the first chicane very quickly as Bottas set about getting in front of Magnussen. Unfortunately for Bottas he was forced out onto the run off by Magnussen as he regained the position. But in forcing the Williams off the track Magnussen received his second penalty in as many races for the incident.
One of the highlights of this years Italian Grand Prix was more than certainly the battle between Sergio Perez and Jenson Button. Last year they were team-mates at McLaren but today a lovely battle between the two unfolded, with both needing to secure points for the constructors battle between McLaren and Force India.
It all began to unfold on lap 39. On the run down to turn one, Button made his way past his former team-mate. But Perez wasn’t going to let him by without a fight, and moved back ahead into the second chicane. Button had taken to the inside for the corner in a bid to defend from the Mexican, however this resulted in Perez leaping across the kerb. Coming out of the corner, Button himself ran wide and Perez was once again ahead.
As the two radioed in to complain about each other. Ricciardo closed in and joined the fight. Soon enough Ricciardo was ahead of them both with a nice move through the second chicane. After making light work of Button, the Aussie in the Red Bull set up Perez on the run through Curva Grade before switching from the outside to the inside to get ahead.
Ricciardo’s pursuit wasn’t over there, and soon was targeting his team-mate. Vettel had pitted seven laps before Ricciardo and this began to show with Sebastian struggling to pull away from corners. This is in fact what allowed Ricciardo to move ahead as on the exit of turn two, he put the power down early and eased ahead into the second chicane.
On the build up to the chequered flag, Kvyat created a huge moment for himself into the first corner as he braked late. This late braking lead to the Russian fighting for control as he darted across the grass and somehow stayed out of the barrier.
But out in front Hamilton took the chequered flag comfortably with Rosberg in second. Although the points difference between first and second is not massive, Hamilton will take joy in the seven points he has taken out of Rosberg’s championship lead, which now stands at 22 points.
Felipe Massa ended the race 21 seconds behind Rosberg. But with a 15 second lead back to his team-mate, Massa secured a podium finish at the home race of his former team.
Behind the Mercedes and Williams came the Red Bull pair in fifth and sixth. With Magnussen, Perez, Button and Raikkonen rounding off the top 10. After the 5 second penalty for Magnussen was added, his finishing position for the race is 10th place.
|2||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||53||+3.1 secs||2||18|
|3||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||53||+25.0 secs||4||15|
|4||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||53||+40.7 secs||3||12|
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||53||+50.3 secs||9||10|
|6||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||53||+59.9 secs||8||8|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||53||+62.5 secs||10||6|
|8||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||53||+63.0 secs||6||4|
|9||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||53||+63.5 secs||11||2|
|10||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||53||+66.1 secs||5||1|
|11||26||Daniil Kvyat||STR-Renault||53||+71.1 secs||21|
|12||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||53||+72.6 secs||13|
|13||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Renault||53||+73.0 secs||12|
|14||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||52||+1 Lap||16|
|15||99||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||52||+1 Lap||14|
|16||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||52||+1 Lap||17|
|17||10||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||52||+1 Lap||18|
|18||17||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Ferrari||52||+1 Lap||19|
|19||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||51||+2 Lap||15|
|20||9||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham-Renault||51||+2 Lap||22|
|Ret||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||28||+25 Laps||7|
|Ret||4||Max Chilton||Marussia-Ferrari||+48 Laps||20|