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GP Week : Issue 227
practice forced Rosberg to revert to the motor he used in Spa. After two long, high speed races that stretch the engines to breaking point, the Italian Grand Prix proved about eight kilometres too long for the Mercedes. If it's any saving grace the problem which forced the switch has proved not to be terminal, so Rosberg will have a comparatively fresh engine for Singapore, but that does nothing to make up for the points lost in Italy. Up to that point Rosberg had put in a solid performance. He was baulked off the start by the stricken Kimi Raikkonen and was forced to swer ve around the Ferrari at a crucial moment in his start. The lateral load needed to avoid Raikkonen robbed Rosberg of the for ward bite he needed to stave off the likes of Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez. While the Force India offered little resistance it was only through pit strategy that Rosberg leapfrogged Massa and Bottas, but by that time Hamilton and Vettel were long gone at the front. Perhaps had Rosberg's engine not cried enough he could have launched an attack on Vettel in the final lap. He'd spent the second half of the race gradually inching his way closer to the second placed Ferrari but the failure thwarted that challenge. Vettel's race was lost somewhere in the middle of proceedings. Short of Hamilton's ultimate pace he nevertheless opened a comfortable margin of his own back to the two Williams in the opening half of the race. He was anonymous for the most part and it was only when Rosberg began to close towards the end that he suddenly became a factor in the race after what had been a fairly lonely afternoon for the German. His teammate wasn't so lucky. Though the jury is out as to whether Raikkonen's poor start was human error or technical mishap it had a significant impact on his race. From the front row to dead last took him little more than five seconds as the lights went out, making his race one of recovery. An aggressive opening lap went a long way to repairing the damage, he was 14th at the end of lap one, but he would progress only as far as fifth, behind the two Williams. Raikkonen's problems eased the path for Mercedes as rather than having to defend against two Ferraris, and potentially two strategies, the Finn was immediately taken out of the equation. He trailed the two Williams by more than 20 seconds by the flag, 43 seconds off the back of his teammate. While Rosberg and Raikkonen created the interest in the first half of the race, things calmed down to a rather more predictable sequence of events 21 GPWEEK.com // 21 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ITALY PARTNERS: