Hamilton Takes Advantage of Rosberg Error to Win In Italy

MONZA, Italy- After seeing teammate and series leader Nico Rosberg run wide on lap 29 at Rettifilo corner, Lewis Hamilton took advantage of the German’s mistake to take command and win Sunday’s Grand Prix of Italy at Monza by 3.1 seconds. Felipe Massa, driving his first year for Williams, took a deserving third, his first podium finish in over a year.

Hamilton’s win now puts the Briton back in the championship battle, trailing Rosberg by only 22 points with six races remaining in the season. Following the race, Hamilton told ESPN F1 journalist Laurence Edmondson that he had no idea on what was the cause of the slow start.

“It was a difficult race” he said. “For whatever reason, the start, there was a bug in the sequence. On the formation lap, it didn’t work and then I thought I’ll just put it on for the race. On the grid I put it on and it just didn’t work – very, very strange, we’ve never had that happen before. I tried to pull away as fast as possible but the RPM was all over the place. Fortunately I managed to not lose too many places.”

Hamilton might have dominated the Friday Practice and qualifying, but on the opening lap, his Mercedes clutch system failed to engage, and despite the Briton managed to continue on, it dropped him back to fourth. Rosberg meanwhile, had a huge getaway, prompting him to advance the lead by just under three seconds by lap four.

But Hamilton began to recover and after passing Massa on lap 10, the 2008 world champion managed to get closer to his teammate where Rosberg could only put a gap on Hamilton by only 1.6 seconds. After overshooting the turn at Retifilio on lap nine, Rosberg made his second error at the same chicane on lap 29. Hamilton, who was closing the gap, took advantage of this, passing Rosberg and taking the lead for the rest of the race.

One lap later, the home Ferrari fans were treated to a shock as Fernando Alonso suffered a mechanical failure, which was the first time in 86 races that the Spaniard had encountered such a problem. For Alonso, his retirement was only the second in the race, as Max Chilton struck a high part of a curb and went into the gravel early in the race.

With the front part of the grid decided, the real racing was from fourth on to ten positions. Leading this group was Valterri Bottas, who took fourth in back of his teammate Massa, while Daniel Ricciardo moved up the grid and ended up passing teammate and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel for fifth. Sergio Perez led the remainder of the bunch by taking seventh, ahead of Jesnon Button, Kimi Raikkonen, and Kevin Magnussen, who finished seventh, but was demoted after failing to serve a stop/go penalty.

Hamilton looked pleased afterwards, but his start was not something that he would not like to do again, especially after he told Edmondson that it was actually a start where the launce sequence was not initiated.

“We never practiced a start like that where we don’t have the launch sequence in, so I had no idea what I had to do and so just floored it and hoped for the best. After that I had a good battle with Felipe (Massa) and he was very fair through the corner.”

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