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GP Week : Issue 227
It was somewhat ironic that, after some drivers kicked up a fuss in Belgium about the tyres that they should come back to again dominated the headlines in Italy. Lewis Hamilton's win was anything but assured immediately after the race when it was revealed his car had started with an illegally low pressure in the right rear tyre. The team was summoned to the stewards and the matter investigated for some time post race before Hamilton was eventually confirmed as the victor. Hamilton's left rear had been found to be 0.3PSI under the minimum 19.5PSI when it was measured on the grid, just prior to the race start. As part of the technical regulations, the penalty Mercedes faced was exclusion from the race, which is what many in the paddock expected would happen. But an hour after the race Hamilton was confirmed as the official winner of the Italian Grand Prix when stewards accepted the argument presented to it by Mercedes. "Having heard from the Technical Delegate, the Team Representatives and the Pirelli Team Tyre engineer, the Stewards have determined that the pressure in the tyres concerned were at the minimum start pressure recommended by Pirelli when they were fitted to the car," read a statement from the FIA. It added that the tyres had been out of their blankets for some time and those blankets hadn't been turned up to the maximum permitted temperature as outlined by Pirelli. As such it was perceivable that the pressure could have dropped as the tyre cooled, and not because the team had tried to pull a fast one. "As Mercedes-Benz, our number one priority is to operate our car within the prescribed safety limits and this is not something we would ever take a chance on," assured Mercedes' head of motorsport Toto Wolff. "We worked very closely with Pirelli since Spa to help define these limits for the race weekend in Monza, and we saw today that there were no problems in a very high-speed, hard- fought race." Hamilton's final margin of victory was 25 seconds, having increased in the final laps after his team instructred him to push hard to open the gap - "dont' ask questions, just execute," he was ordered. "We will explain later." With Nico Rosberg failing to finish - whose tyres were 1.1PSI down on the minimum starting pressures on the grid - he now moves 53 points clear in the drivers championship. 32 GPWEEK.com // 32 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ITALY PARTNERS: Mercedes calm under pressure