Mercedes supremacy continued unabated as their two drivers took the first two positions on victory podium at Italian GP’s iconic Autodromo-di-Monza circuit on Sunday, September 7, 2014. As a coincidence, the two Mercedes cars were immediately followed by the pair of Williams and right behind Williams were two Red Bulls. Therefore, team-wise it was 1-2-3 for Mercedes, Williams and Red Bull with Felipe Massa finishing third, Valtteri Bottas fourth, Daniel Ricciardo fifth and Sebastian Vettel sixth. Hamilton’s victory in Italian GP was his sixth out of 13 races this season and he has taken the podium 10 times. But the Briton, at 216 points, is still 22 points behind teammate Rosberg, who has amassed 236 points with 4 wins and 11 podium finishes.
Earlier, at practice sessions, Hamilton had secured the pole position for the first time since Spanish GP in May 2014. The Grid results were equally interesting team-wise as the two Mercedes drivers were followed by two of Williams and two of McLarens. As the practice sessions ended on Saturday, the two Mercedes drivers displayed detached attitude for each other. Quite clearly, they carried the baggage of bad feelings from their infamous collision at the Belgian Grand Prix, two weeks ago. They avoided shaking hands and went their separate way after coming out of their cars. When Hamilton was queried by a reporter during the post-qualifying news conference about the team’s demand that they would not crash again, Hamilton was curt in his reply that the directive would not keep ringing in his ears. He added further that nothing got changed for him since he was racing for many years without colliding with too many people and he would still continue to race that way and win the race the right way.
At Monza on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton had a rather poor start despite being first on the grid. He quickly fell to the fourth spot as the race got underway in bright and sunny weather. Rosberg swung away to lead the pack with Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen on second and third places respectively. The poor start of Hamilton’s car was apparently due to an electronic issue, which affected the clutch operation. A Mercedes official later revealed that the electronic problem had also been present during warm-ups and the clutch calibration might not have been optimum. Regardless, Hamilton soon returned to full speed and regained control of his race as he pushed forward.
On lap 5, Hamilton took full advantage of Massa passing Magnussen at the second chicane and came back to the third spot. Later, Hamilton drove around Massa on the outside at the first chicane on lap 10 to fall right behind Rosberg. By that time, Rosberg had already straight-lined the first chicane and Hamilton began closing in on his rival. The third-placed Massa did his best to come closer to the two leaders but his attempts did not succeed. At the mid-way mark, Hamilton was still second but he had moved very close to the German. Despite the fact that Rosberg had a 1.5 second lead, Hamilton couldn’t move ahead as the two drivers went to the pits on consecutive laps. Having changed to hard tyres, Hamilton gained on speed. On lap 29, Rosberg made two errors. He locked his brakes and straight-lined at the first chicane. This allowed an opportunity to Hamilton, who pulled away at top speed to take the first spot. There was no looking back for the British driver from then onwards and he raced solidly ahead to record his sixth victory of the 2014 season by over three seconds. Massa finished third, leaving team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the fourth spot. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel had been in the fifth position for most of the race but in closing stages, he yielded the advantage to his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Magnussen finished seventh on the road, but he was penalized five seconds for forcing Bottas off the track at the first chicane and therefore, he was relegated to the 10th place. This allowed Force India’s Sergio Perez to become seventh. McLaren’s of Jenson Button was eighth and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen took the ninth place, ahead of Magnussen, when results were announced.
Last fortnight’s Hamilton Rosberg incident at the Belgian GP continued to dominate the discussion even in the Italian GP after Rosberg was forced to take responsibility for the incident and he was reprimanded by the team, including internal disciplinary action. While both drivers were warned, the overwhelming opinion went against Rosberg since he was seen as the guilty party. When the German occupied the second place on the podium, he was jeered by a section of the crowd.
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