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Lewis Hamilton Wins Italian Grand Prix Photo:
 
 
Peter Anderson | Sep, 07 2015 | 2 Comments

Lewis Hamilton survived a post-race investigation to take a routine lights to flag victory at the Italian Grand Prix. The Ferrari threat faded with a terrible start from Raikkonen and Hamilton was never run close by Vettel. Nico Rosberg suffered a demoralising engine failure while running in third.

Daniel Ricciardo salvaged eighth place with a last lap pass after a weekend ruined by a failed engine and ridiculous grid penalties.

 

PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING

Friday's practice sessions confirmed that Mercedes remain on another planet, with the team opting to burn the remaining of their seven engine development tokens to extend their advantage.

Saturday's FP3 was marred by a wet track for the first thirty minutes, with the drivers staying put until the middle of the session.

Daniel Ricciardo's car stopped out on track with a failure on his new engine, the team rushing to get him on to the track in time for the end of Q1. Both Red Bulls would take an engine change penalty, so the rush was for a back-of-the-grid start.

Max Verstappen didn't make it out on the track for anything but a couple of sector times. Not all of his car made it back, either, his engine cover parting company with the car on his way out of the first chicane.

Nico Hulkenberg struck trouble in Q3 with a loss of power after his first flying lap, trundling into the pits, just making it over the white line so he could be pushed back to his pit garage, his time seventh fastest.

Rosberg was only fifth after his first flyer, behind Massa and the two Ferraris while his teammate romped away at the front with an eventual pole position.

Hamilton's temmate was running his Spa engine after the new one developed an "oscillation" which later turned out was due to an installation problem.

The second set of flying laps saw the Ferrari of Raikkonen ahead of Vettel's while Rosberg languished behind both red cars. The Ferraris were much closer than anyone expected after Friday, promising fireworks into the first chicane.

 

RACE

Season 2015 is the Year of the Grid Penalty - Sain, Kvyat, Button, Alonso, Verstappen and Ricciardo all took penalties, while Ericsson copped three places and some licence points for impeding Hulkenberg in Q1.

Race day was bright and mild, with barely a cloud in the sky and just the lightest of breezes.

Raikkonen got an absolute shocker, the Ferrari failing to move, the Finn lucky not to get collected by Rosberg as his anti-stall kicked in.

This let Hamilton get moving without challenge as the rest of the grid dodged the Ferrari. Raikkonen fell to third last while Vettel took second.

A gaggle of cars missed the first chicane, including Maldonado.

At the end of the first lap, Verstappen took his penalty and Sauber's Nasr pitted. Romain Grosjean ground to a halt with broken rear suspension, Maldonado soon after with a broken floor. By the end of lap two, Raikkonen was already twelfth.

The Williams were beneficiaries of the chaotic start, leaping over Rosberg, Massa and Bottas running third and fourth. Ricciardo also found himself in eleventh after starting from the back row. Ericsson and Button also made several places each.

By lap six, Raikkonen was tenth but already way too far behind he leaders to make an impression. He scythed past Button on the same lap at Ascari, the speed differential absolutely gigantic.

Button then had to contend with a very fighty Carlos Sainz who was followed through by Daniel Ricciardo.

Sainz was shortly therafter hit with a five second penalty for leaving the track to gain an advantage, a by-product of his robust move on Button.

Rosberg reported problems with his front brakes, compounding his weekend's ongoing drama, but it wasn't long before he was again snapping at Bottas' heels.

Rosberg dive-bombed Bottas at the first chicane on lap 14, the two cars going through with barely a micron between them, with Bottas prevailing.

Up front, Hamilton extended his lead over Vettel to over eight seconds, the Ferrari driver having a lonely time of it ahead of Massa.

Rather less lonely was Jenson Button, under attack from Max Verstappen. The Toro Rosso driver went around the outside into the Parabolica, but Button was in the mood for a blue, staying with the Dutchman into the first chicane. Sadly, despite the Honda engine boss saying the Honda had Renault's measure, he was quite wrong.

Rosberg pitted on lap 19 for new medium tyres, attempting to undercut the Williams pair, the English team reacting straight away to receive Felipe Massa. As this went on, Raikkonen took fifth from Marcus Ericsson.

The Mercedes strategy worked, with Rosberg ending up ahead of Massa after a storming outlap. Bottas pitted on lap 23, but both Rosberg and Massa swept past, leaving the Finn in the clutches of Daniel Ricciardo. Once the stops had shaken out, Rosberg had moved to third.

Vettel pitted on lap 26 to take on medium tyres, the German popping out ahead of Raikkonen, who was yet to pit. Hamilton pitted a lap later and came out to a face full of tyre smoke as Felipe Nasr locked up ahead of him and cut the chicane.

Where Kvyat had to surrender to Perez, Ricciardo fought hard against the Mexican, passing him at the second chicane. A lap later Perez had to stick a pass around the outside into the first chicane, which he survived by the grace of the Australian.

Raikkonen pitted on lap 29 and almost suffered the indignity of being punted out of the race by Merhi's Manor Marussia as they both entered the pits.

Ricciardo pitted on lap 32 for soft tyres, emerging from the lane in tenth and on the faster tyre. Kimi Raikkonen continued to power through the field clearing Ericsson and Hulkenberg in the space of two laps, putting him seventh on lap 34.

Things were shaping up for a grandstand finish as Rosberg began to close down on Sebastian Vettel, just three seconds between them with ten laps to go. Mercedes had allowed the German to turn up the engine to take it to the Ferrari driver.

Back in seventh, Raikkonen was the hunter, chasing down Perez's Force India.

On lap 48, there was some drama for Hamilton as his team implored him to push hard, open a gap and "not ask questions." The Briton had a gap of twenty-two seconds over Vettel.

By this time, Raikkonen had caught Perez and was well under a second behind, a brilliant recovery. Raikkonen's pass for sixth place was a nail-biter as he held on around the outside into the chicane.

Perez fought back through Curva Grande but again Raikkonen held his nerve and stayed ahead through the Lesmos to take fifth.

On lap 51 Rosberg's engine spat flame and smoke as he braked for the second chicane. That engine had been re-installed in the back of the Mercedes on Saturday having done duty since the Canadian Grand Prix. The car was pulled out of the way and no Safety Car intervention was required.

Massa found himself under attack from teammate Bottas on the final lap, the two Williams cars having had a quiet race, but they stayed that way, Massa taking third, joking on his way to parc ferme, "I'm too old for that."

Hamilton took the win, but still complained to his team about the enigmatic radio messages. Toto Wolff rebuffed all attempts to explain the situation ("We saw some data) and Lauda also dodged questioning.

After the race, news leaked out that the Mercedes team was issued with a summons to attend the stewards, citing tyre pressure irregularities, but the team had no case to answer.

Daniel Ricciardo was upbeat after his eighth-place points finish.

"It was a great result for the team considering where we started and the characteristics of this track," he said.

"It was sweet taking that eighth place on the last lap from Ericsson.

"I am very happy with the chassis, the car was handling really well, and we were able to fight with a Ferrari and a Mercedes-powered car on a track where we lost out a lot on the straights.

"It wasn't an easy weekend for us, but I think the race was positive and the energy in the team is good. I will probably celebrate with one more pizza."

Formula 1 returns in two weeks for the Singapore Grand Prix

Results:

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
3. Felipe Massa (Williams)
4. Valtteri Bottas (Williams)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
6. Sergio Pérez (Force India)
7. Nico Hülkenberg (Force India)
8. Danny Ricciardo (Red Bull)
9. Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)
10. Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull)


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