A red-hot Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix to take a 53-point lead in the Formula One championship on Sunday after Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg retired with his car in flames.
Hamilton faced a post-race stewards inquiry with the possibility of a time penalty being imposed for low-tyre pressures at the start‚ but his victory was confirmed late yesterday when the race stewards took no further action after investigating claims that his car was running on low-pressure tyres that infringed regulations.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took second place‚ 25 seconds behind the reigning world champion‚ to give local fans something to cheer as they flooded the track. Brazilian Felipe Massa took third for Williams‚ crossing the line 0.3 of a second ahead of his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas.
The win was the 40th of Hamilton’s career‚ one less than the career tally of his boyhood hero Ayrton Senna. “This weekend’s been just fantastic‚ a perfect weekend for me‚” said the Briton‚ who dominated practice‚ started from pole position‚ led from the first corner and set the fastest lap.
“I don’t know if I have ever had a weekend like this. “This circuit is such a special one for me … when you stand on top of that podium you feel an incredible pride‚ incredibly proud to be amongst the greats who have stood there‚” he said.
If his race was untroubled‚ there were concerned faces afterwards at Mercedes when stewards reported that the left rear tyre on Hamilton’s car was 0.3 PSI below the minimum starting pressure specified by Pirelli. A team representative was summoned to the stewards‚ with fears he could face a penalty that might wipe out his advantage over Vettel‚ and possibly more.
“I’ve no idea what that might be‚” Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff‚ whose team had ordered Hamilton to push in the closing laps to increase his lead‚ told the BBC.
Rosberg’s tyre had even less pressure but the German was past caring‚ his hopes literally going up in flames when the German pulled over two laps from the end with smoke and flames billowing out from the rear of his car while in third place.
A pre-qualifying problem had forced Rosberg to start the race with an engine that had previously done five races‚ while Hamilton had a fresh one with upgrades for the fastest circuit on the calendar.
The German had started fourth but lost places taking evasive action when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen‚ on the front row with Hamilton‚ struggled to get away with cars swerving around on either side.
Force India’s Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were sixth and seventh with Australian Daniel Ricciardo eighth for Red Bull. Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson was ninth for Sauber and Russian Daniil Kvyat 10th for Red Bull.
Driver and constructor standings after the Formula One Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo di Monza on Sunday:
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes – 252
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes – 199
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari – 178
4. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams – 97
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari – 92
6. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams – 91
7. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull – 58
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – 55
9. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – 38
10. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – 33
11. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – 30
12. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso – 26
13. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber – 16
14. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus – 12
15. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren – 11
16. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso – 9
17. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – 9
18. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren – 6
19. Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia – 0
20. Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia – 0
1. Mercedes – 451
2. Ferrari – 270
3. Williams-Mercedes – 188
4. RedBull-Renault – 113
5. Force India-Mercedes – 63
6. Lotus-Mercedes – 50
7. Toro Rosso-Renault – 35
8. Sauber-Ferrari – 25
9. McLaren – 17
10. Marussia-Ferrari – 0