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GP Week : Issue 209
Courtesy of two braking errors by championship leader Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton took what ultimately appeared to be a relatively comfortable win at Monza. In a very race-smart drive, Lewis didn’t panic when his start mechanism went haywire, managed to emerge from the early ruck in fourth, moved for ward towards his team-mate, then didn’t even have to figure out a way past as Rosberg’s second trip through the Turn 1 chicane made it all too easy. On this day there was no doubt that Lewis had the pace over his team-mate and Rosberg was quick to admit as much after wards, with a slice of humour thrown in “No, it wasn't my mistake, it was the other guys' fault ... I'm just kidding! It was just Lewis was quick, coming from behind. I needed to up my pace and then as a result just went into the mistake. That was very bad and that lost me the lead in the end. Definitely very disappointing from that point of view. “But then at the end of the day, it's a great day for the team, because after the recent difficulties it's the first one-two for the team in a long time,” For his part, Lewis was, above all, happy that he’d stayed calm and emerged from the startline problems (see elsewhere) intact: “I think when you're preparing for the race you generally do everything near enough the same but you have to be prepared for the unexpected. I'm quite grateful today that I didn't lose it, I didn't end up crashing in the first corner, I didn't end up touching anyone, I didn't end up locking or anything like that. “So, managed to keep my composure even though this thing ... what it is, is a button that engages a system which controls the RPM, helps you control the RPM, and when that doesn't engage, the RPM just goes all over the place, so you're not able to get normal starts, so a correct launch. “I don't know what the problem was, I guess the guys will investigate it and we'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again. I'm just grateful that I was able to not lose too many places and the also recover from that.” Back down the road, Felipe Massa had an almost lonely race into third once his team-mate too had been delayed by a shabby start: His team-mate, Valtteri Bottas put in one of the super drives of the day to recover from his own dud start, and 11th on the opening lap. With the Williams set up for terminal speed, Bottas had a read- made weapon for main straight passing, but it wasn’t quite that simple – and a tardy entry onto the circuit after his tyre stop cost him three spots that had to be recovered, as Rob Smedley explained: "We finished where we should have done, although we did make it a bit more spectacular than we needed to. We had some issues with the starts, which isn't normal, so this needs to be investigated. Valtteri drove an incredible race to recover from 11th whilst managing his tyres. “Felipe had an incredible race too, using all his experience including a great overtaking manoeuvre on Magnussen to secure a fantastic result.” Indeed – the change from qualifying came next, with McLaren not quite able to maintain its form in race trim. Instead, that spot went to Red Bull, but it too was far from simple. While Sebastian Vettel made a great start, an early stop to successfully undercut the McLarens, and seemed to be headed for a safe fifth, that wasn’t the case. Again, his smiling team-mate did better, despite being another with a horrid start, completing the opening lap in 13th. However, Ricciardo looked after his Mediujms longer than most, and stopped later than most, on lap 26 – eight laps after Vettel. Once on fresh Primes the Aussie started to mow them down until, with 10 to go he did Magnussen with a great dummy into the first chicane. Vettel was, at this stage, a few seconds away up the road but, within three laps he was there and, after a nose down the outside at Turn 1, repeated the outside-inside dummy on his team-mate at the second chicane. Eyebrow-raising stuff ... again: "The strategy helped today, it kept the tyres fresh enough to go those extra few laps at the end. I saw the cars in front of me pit and the pace was still good enough, so seeing that we didn't have great pace when we were out of position then we thought we would try something different and that's why we went long, which helped towards the end of the race. I was more comfortable with the Prime tyre and was able to do some good moves, which kept me smiling ...” Kevin Magnussen finished next on the road but his aggression attracted the eye of the Sewards again and the five second penalty cost three spots. Teasm-mate Jenson Button came out of the day a little disappointed in eighth having had to give best to a determined Sergio Perez after a titanic struggle which saw the pair round the Lesmos side-by-side. Fernando Alonso should have been in the mix there somewhere but, after a disappointing stop saw him emerge at the back of the bunch, his Ferrari suffered a rare, rare failure – the ERS gave up and the car groud to a halt at Turn 1. Again, Kimi couldn’t match his team-mate, but pushed on as best he could for a couple of points. Coming through – Massa was intelligently courteous when the race winner came flying through, round the outside at Turn 1, inside at the next element ... 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ITALY PARTNERS: