This race weekend in Italy began with Lewis Hamilton back on top form.
This race weekend in Italy began with Lewis Hamilton back on top form. The talented Brit earned pole position ahead of his teammate for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix, which set him up for a promising race on Sunday.
Monza being a track that’s best suited to Mercedes-powered engines, many of the teams were evenly matched going into Sunday’s race. With the conflict from Spa also still very much apparent in the Mercedes team, it was almost anyone’s race.
Pressure at Mercedes
The start was hectic for Hamilton as he slipped down from 1st to 4th instantly, a result of “a technical gremlin in the starting procedure,” according to Executive Director, Toto Wolff. This setback allowed teammate and Championship rival Nico Rosberg to overtake into 1st place with ease.
All looked to be in the German’s favour until Lap 9 saw him glide down the escape road after missing the first chicane. This caused him to lose over a second, decreasing his gap to Lewis.
Consistently up until Lap 29, Hamilton was chipping away at Rosberg’s lap times, in some cases removing over half a second a lap. It was on lap 29 though that Rosberg made the exact same mistake again and drove through the escape road on the first chicane, allowing Hamilton to overtake and keep the lead for the entire race.
Making the same mistake twice displays a sense of panic in Rosberg, as he continues to succumb to the pressure between himself and his teammate. “I put pressure on him and he doesn’t seem to like it,” remarked Hamilton after the race, visibly pleased with his racing comeback.
Mistakes like this are likely to cost Nico the championship if his calm, collected teammate can keep his cool for longer.
Williams Overshadow Ferrari
The humble homegrown team, Williams, have proved themselves a fierce competitor on several occasions this season. With a speedy little car made even better with the advantageous Mercedes engine, they seem to have the second best car on the grid.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances so far, lady luck finally turned around for Felipe Massa and presented the talented Brazillian with his first podium of the season.
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal at Willaims remarked, “I’m so pleased, to get on the podium after such a run of bad luck is great for him.”
“From now until the last race, we’re going to be there fighting. There is a lot more to come,” said Massa. Teammate Valtteri Bottas also proved his young talent after slipping down out of the points in the first lap and slowly climbing throughout the entire race to finish fourth overall. Williams now sit third in the Constructors Championship after overtaking Ferrari.
Overall it was a disappointing race for Ferrari, significantly due to Fernando Alonso’s retirement. A power failure on Lap 29 forced the two-time World Champion to park his car on the chicane after losing drive. It was the first mechanical DNF for the Spanish driver since 2009 when driving for Renault.
Earlier this week Alonso told Sky Sports that he was becoming increasingly unsatisfied with this season as the car is not competitive enough, a fair argument after the disappointing finish in Monza that left Italian Ferrari fans hungry for a podium that just wasn't on the cards.
Drama and Duels
Marussia’s Max Chilton also suffered his second retirement of the season and his Formula 1 career after breaking too late going into the Della Roggia chicane. This caused the car to be thrown forward and onto the gravel, ending his race after a mere 6 laps.
Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat also narrowly missed a retirement after a break failure caused him to hurtle towards the escape road on the first chicane. His ability to keep control of the car and finish the race showcased his talent and control. Unfortunately though this caused him to miss out on scoring points.
McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen also missed out, earning only 1 point after receiving a stop/go penalty for pushing Williams’ Bottas off the track. However, the most action of the race occurred from Lap 35 onwards where the battle between several drivers kicked off.
The battles provided an abundance of wheel to wheel racing and stunning overtakes from the likes of Daniel Ricciardo, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez as they all fought between 5th and 8th place.
“The end of the race really came alive,” said Red Bull's Ricciardo.
The most focus at Monza though was on Lewis Hamilton.
“Today was another hard day, but I loved every minute of it. Of course when you have those issues, you have to think ‘I can do it’”, Hamilton said after the race. “I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s just one step at a time. To be able to be successful with that [starting] problem was a great feeling, and is even more empowering.”
Mercedes managed to gain another 1-2 finish for the team in Monza, as Lewis won his 6th race of the 2014 season and subsequently closed the gap to his Championship rival and teammate.
Will Rosberg continue to make mistakes as the season continues? Or can he regain his composure and keep his Championship lead? Have your say in the comments section below.