- Italian GP - Race
Hamilton beats Rosberg after Monza fightbackLaurence Edmondson at Monza September 7, 2014
Lewis Hamilton fought back from a slow start to take a crucial victory at the Italian Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg.
The Story of the Race
- Shock:Fernando Alonso retiring in front of the tifosi at the Rettifilo while Kimi Raikkonen came home with just a point in tenth. Collecting just a point at Monza a huge indication of how far Ferrari has fallen.
- Shocker: Valtteri Bottas' start cost him a spot on the podium, while Lewis Hamilton's was hampered by a loss of his energy harvesting, undoing the hard work of his superb qualifying lap on Saturday as he dropped to fourth.
- Best overtake:Hamilton's early pass on Massa was superb, but it has to be Daniel Ricciardo's dummys on Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel on successive laps through Curva Grande into the second chicane.
- Worst overtake:Esteban Gutierrez ended up with a puncture after a clumsy attempt to pass Romain Grosjean three laps from the end.
- Best lap: Hamilton went on the attack after his first pit stop and cut half a second off his team-mate on lap 28, applying the pressure on Rosberg in front.
- Worst lap: Rosberg's unforced error on lap 29 was his second of the race but the most costly, as it gave Hamilton a lead he never relinquished.
- Drive of the day: Hamilton recovered superbly from his early issues but special mention has to go to Ricciardo, Bottas and Perez, while Kevin Magnussen's superb defensive drive was ruined by a very harsh penalty.
- Nate Saunders
Hamilton started from pole position but made a slow getaway from the grid and dropped to fourth at the first corner. He spent the first ten laps working his way back to second before taking the fight to Rosberg following the only round of pit stops.
He piled on the pressure on lap 28 and Rosberg appeared to feel it as he missed his braking point for the first chicane on lap 29 and was forced to negotiate the polystyrene slalom in the run off. Behind him, Hamilton clipped each apex perfectly to emerge in the lead, which he never looked like losing from that point on.
It was an anti-climax following the build-up to the race, but it will not bother Hamilton who took a crucial seven points out of his team-mate to close the gap in the drivers' standings to 22. Felipe Massa had a lonely race to third place, comfortably ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas who also made a slow start and was forced to fight back. Daniel Ricciardo was yet another driver on a recovery run as he romped through the field to fifth with a brilliant drive, topped off with a stunning overtaking move on team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Kevin Magnussen finished seventh on the road put was demoted to tenth for his defence of Bottas into Turn 1 on lap 35. As a result Sergio Perez finished seventh after an aggressive battle with his ex-team-mate Jenson Button. Kimi Raikkonen was the only remaining Ferrari at the end of the race in ninth place after Fernando Alonso retired on lap 29 when his F14 T came to a halt in front of the Tifosi at Turn 1.
Hamilton explained that the button for the launch sequence did not work as he arrived on the grid, meaning his rpm was not controlled as the lights went out. Not knowing what to do, he ignored the electronics and floored the throttle as he saw Magnussen and Massa fly past on either side. On lap two he was rather unhelpfully told "everything is in a muddle" by the pit wall, but knuckled down and passed Magnussen for third on lap five at the exit of the second chicane and then took Massa on the inside of Turn 1 on lap 10.
Hamilton got the gap to Rosberg down to 2.2s on lap 11 , taking 0.3s more from his team-mate on the following two laps. But with cars starting to pit, the battle settled down, with the Mercedes opting for later stops on lap 26 for Rosberg and lap 27 for Hamilton. On lap 28 Hamilton took 0.5s out of Rosberg in sector two alone … and then came Rosberg's error. After the race he admitted it was a simple mistake, with a puff of tyre smoke from the right front tyre, but it could prove costly come Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.
Hamilton then extended his lead over Rosberg, who was told to save tyres for an attack at the end. The second placed Mercedes clawed back some of the gap, but never got close enough to consider a move and had to settle for second. Although Rosberg claimed the infamous collision at Spa-Francorchamps two weeks ago did not affect his mindset, he was given a blunt reminder on the podium as he was confronted with boos from the heaving crowd on the pit straight.
The championship now remains perfectly poised as Formula One leaves Europe for Singapore and the first of the final six flyaway races.
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1