Race Recap: Hamilton reignites championship fight with win in Monza after Rosberg makes mistake

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza started under a cloud of controversy following the incident between the two Mercedes drivers at Spa, a cloud that would not disperse all weekend.

Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory after a perfect weekend which saw him top all three practice sessions, gain pole by over a quarter of second from his teammate and chanter to victory despite a poor start and niggling electrical  issues throughout the weekend.

At the race start Lewis Hamilton looked set to prove that bad luck was truly catching as he suffered yet another failure with the race start setup failing to engage losing three places and vitally the lead to teammate Nico Roseberg. Compounding issues was the fast starting McLaren of Magnussen who had sling-shotted his way up to second in a seemly determined move to demonstrate his worth to the Mclaren team bosses as he continues to fight for his seat at the Woking based outfit.

The Williams’ had shown pace all weekend and Felipe Massa managed to pass his teammate Vatterai Bottas to gain third ahead of Hamilton. Bottas, it was later discovered, had suffered an electrical software issue on his race start dropping from fourth to eleventh. Williams’ Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds said after the race that the start was not even recognised as a race start on their telemetry.

However, the flying Finn showcased the raw racers talent that he has shown at so many points in his first two seasons in F1 as he fought his way up the field with some fantastic manoeuvres on Vettel, Magnussen and Ricciardo to take fourth behind his teammate and score some valuable points for Williams in their fight with Ferrari in the constructors championship.

Unfortunately for the avid Tifosi the prancing horse proved more of a leisurely stroller for Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, with Raikkonen qualifying a lowly 11th after a penalty to Daniel Kyat and Fernando Alonso in seventh unable to fight for the second row of the grid let alone pole.

Rosberg began having issues when approaching turn one as early as lap nine, running off the track and through the chicane losing 1.8 seconds of his lead and allowing Felipe Mass’s Williams and his teammate to close in on him.

As Massa sat in second his Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas was fantastically fighting his way through the field from eleventh and by lap fourteen had passed local hero Fernando Alonso easily around the outside on the main straight for seventh place and two laps later put the same beautiful move on Jenson Button to gain sixth.

Meanwhile, Hamilton had also been steaming through the field passing Felipe Massa easily around the outside of the chicane for second place and had been cutting into his teammates lead by half a second a lap despite calls from his team to hang back and preserve his tyres.

Hamilton’s determination paid off as on lap twenty eight Roseberg run off the track at the chicane for a second time, this time allowing his teammate to take the lead. Within the space of a few laps Hamilton had extended his lead to four seconds and it was Rosberg’s turn to be asked to slow down and preserve tyres and fuel by the team.  The mistake by Rosberg was considered b many after the race as a sign that the pressure mounted on him after Spa was being to show, whilst others formed conspiracy theories after Toto Wolff was deemed to have smiled after the mistake.

As Mercedes held a comfortable one- two the prancing horses of Ferrari were looking a little lame as Fernando Alonso’s car slowed to a stop at the side of turn one with an electrical problem, his first mechanical retirement since 2010 and the only time he had not been on the podium at Monza in his Ferrari career. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen meanwhile appeared to be off the pace down in ninth place.

Further down the field an epic battle was occurring between the two McLaren’s and Sergio Perez’s Force India. Kevin Magnussen had received a five second penalty for an earlier incident with Valtteri Bottas where the stewards had deemed him to have forced Bottas off the track; this was added to his time after the race placing him down in tenth and with a solitary point.

On lap thirty seven Bottas finally managed to pass Magnussen with a move down the main straight after being held up for at least four laps. He then set off after Vettel passing him for fourth.

Meanwhile Magnussen’s teammate Jenson Button sparred with Perez for seventh place passing him into the first corner on lap thirty nine only to run wide and allow Perez to regain the position, the constant changing of positions carried on until the end of the race with Perez ultimately the winner holding onto seventh place.

Riccardo on lap forty seven illustrated to the world and his team that his teammate four time world champion Sebastian Vettel did not intimidate him with a fantastic move down the inside of the second chicane, taking fifth place behind Bottas.

Raikkonen continued Ferrari’s 80 race long point scoring streak despite a poor weekend for the Scuderia, gaining ninth after Kevin Magnussen’s penalty and Daniel Kyvat, who had been closing in for a number of laps, suffered a brake issue going straight on through turn one.

Overall not the renaissance that Ferrari had be hoping for at their home Grand Prix and on Monday it was announced that their long time president Luca di Montezemolo will be stepping down, rumoured to be caused by a wish for a fresh start and return to winning ways for the majestic team.

The win for Hamilton signalled the turnaround of his championship fight with a dominant performance to reduce the points deficit to twenty two points with six races to go.

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Hamilton storms to first pole since May at Monza

Hamilton put in a stunning lap to claim his first pole since the Spanish Grand Prix in May by over a quarter of a second from his Mercedes teammate Rosberg. 

The pole position comes at a vital time for the 2008 world champion as he trails Nico Rosberg by 29 points after their controversial collision in Belgium which resulted in Hamilton retiring and Rosberg finishing second.

After the race Hamilton stated that Rosberg admitted in the team debrief that he had failed to prevent the collision to make a point to Hamilton after a series of incidents throughout the season. Rosberg has since been fined by the team and both Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff have told the media that they found his actions unacceptable as it cost the team a one-two finish.

On Friday Hamilton’s bad luck looked to be continuing as he had to sit out the majority of free practice two as the team worked on a electrical issue with his car. However, despite significantly less time on the track Hamilton managed put in a lap that was only 6 hundredths slower than that of his teammate.

Issues affected the other side of the garage on Saturday morning as Nico Rosberg suffered from a gear box problem in free practice three. However the team managed to send him out into qualifying without having to change his gearbox and therefore no penalty was applied to his time.

Qualifying proved to be an entirely Mercedes powered affair as the battle emerged between Williams and Mercedes for the front row of the grid. Valtteri Bottas continued the formidable form he has shown all season but was only able to gain third place on the grid with a time that was over half a second slower than Hamilton with his teammate Felipe Massa gaining fourth.

Ron Dennis stated on Saturday that “McLaren are back” and Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button highlighted this improved form by gaining fifth and sixth on the grid.

Fernando Alonso managed seventh place in front of the Tifosi crowd while his teammate Kimi Raikkonen was unable to make it through to the final session gaining eleventh place after Daniil Kyvat’s ten place grid penalty for changing a power unit element.

Lining up behind the prancing horse are the Red Bull’s of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo in eighth and ninth. The weekend showed an improvement for Sebastian Vettel as he out-qualified his young teammate Ricciardo, the last race winner at Spa.

Qualifying classification:

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.24.109

2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +0.274

3. Valtteri Bottas Williams +0.588

4. Felipe Massa Williams +0.756

5. Kevin Magnussen McLaren +1.205

6. Jenson Button McLaren + 1.270

7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +1.321

8. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull + 1.327

9. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +1.600

10. Sergio Perez Force India + 1.835

11. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari

12. Jean-Eric Vergne Torro Rosso

13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India

14. Adrian Sutil Sauber

15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber

16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus

17. Romain Grosjean Lotus

18. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham

19. Jules Bianchi Marussia

20. Max Chilton Marussia

21. Daniil Kyvat Torro Rosso (After a ten place grid penalty for changing his engine)

22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham