Lewis Hamilton drove an almost flawless drive to take victory in the 2014 Italian Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Williams Felipe Massa who returned to the podium for the first time since Spain 2013.
Starting from pole position, Hamilton was slow to get away from the grid as a technical issue hit, demoting him to fourth place as Kevin Magnussen and Massa got the better of him in to the first corner.
By Lap 5 Magnussen and Massa were battling hard and Hamilton was gaining, Hamilton made his move between the second chicane and turn 6 as he passed Magnussen and set his sights on Massa.
Max Chilton’s race would come to an early end on the sixth lap as he misjudged the second chicane, bouncing over both of the raised kerbs and out of the race; The Englishman, while not hurt was left winded by the accident.
Rosberg was making headway out front and by lap 9 had a lead of nearly four seconds as he crossed the finish line. There would be a scare for the German though as he straightlined the first chicane, a mistake that he would later repeat. While he didn’t lose a place he did lose time.
Behind Rosberg, Hamilton was making a run on Massa and with DRS enabled was wheel-to-wheel with the Brazilian in to Turn 1. In previous years the two drivers have had their problems with each other but today the two drivers showed a perfect example of how close F1 racing can be. Hamilton entered the first corner on the outside of the track, setting him up for the second corner, Massa showed perfect race craft and left enough room to avoid an accident but not too much room to make it easy for Hamilton.
With Hamilton through he was now looking to catch Rosberg, who was trying to keep focus on his own race, telling his team over the radio that he didn’t want to know the gap between him and his team-mate.
Further back Valterri Bottas was on a charge after a bad start and made a move to pass a struggling Fernando Alonso to take seventh place through the first chicane. A lap later and Bottas would pass Jenson Button on a DRS-driven charge down the front straight for sixth place.
As the drivers pitted for their one and only pitstop, Bottas was promoted up to third place, unfortunately for the Finnish driver he would lose out in to the first chicane following his own pitstop resulting on him dropping a further three places.
With both Mercedes drivers having changed tyres, Rosberg on lap 26 and Hamilton on lap 27, the race was back on at the front and despite a call from the team to Hamilton to conserve his tyres for later in the race the 2008 World Champion was pushing on, setting fastest laps on the new rubber.
Lap 28 would be the moment things would change at the front, heading in to the first chicane Rosberg would once again lock up and head straight on, giving Hamilton the chance to head in to the lead and immediately open up a gap.
There would be disappointment for the Tifosi as Alonso stopped his Ferrari at the first chicane, early reports suggest a water pump failure giving Alonso his first technical failure retirement since 2010.
Bottas and Magnussen were fighting hard at this point of the race for fifth place, a little too hard for the stewards liking as the Danish driver was given a five second penalty for forcing Bottas off track. With the one and only pitstop out of the way the 5 second penalty would be added to total race time at the end of the race.
A battle between former team-mates was hotting up as Button closed in on Sergio Perez and on lap 39 it would come to a head as the two went side-by-side through the first chicane. It looked like the Brit had made it through but the Mexican wasn’t about to give up as they continued wheel-to-wheel through the next few corners.
With the two drivers battling hard Ricciardo was making the most of the situation and was closing in, within the next few laps the Australian had dispatched Button, Perez and Magnussen to move up to sixth place, just behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel; It wouldn’t be long before the defending champion would have to yield to his ever-impressive team-mate.
A huge scare from Daniil Kyvat as he experienced brake disc failure in to the first corner would put the young Russian out of a points finish. The Toro Rosso driver impressed many though as he managed to hold on to control of the car as it twitched in to the first chicane, narrowly avoiding the wall. While he would lose out on points he would finish the race in eleventh.
As the chequered flag came out, Hamilton would cross the finish line to take the twenty-eighth win of his career, surpassing Jackie Stewart and putting him just three wins within Nigel Mansell to become the most successful British Formula 1 driver. Team-mate Rosberg would come home in second, 3.100 seconds back with Massa completing a solid drive to take his first podium place for Williams.
|FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2014 – Race CLASSIFICATION|
|3||19||FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||+25.026|
|4||77||VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||+40.786|
|5||3||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||+50.309|
|6||1||SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||+59.965|
|7||11||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||+1:02.518|
|8||22||JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||+1:03.063|
|10||20||KEVIN MAGNUSSEN*||McLAREN MERCEDES||+1:06.171|
|11||26||DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||+1:11.184|
|12||27||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||+1:12.606|
|13||25||JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||+1:13.093|
|14||13||PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||+1 Lap|
|15||99||ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||+1 Lap|
|16||8||ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||+1 Lap|
|17||10||KAMUI KOBAYASHI||CATERHAM RENAULT||+1 Lap|
|18||17||JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||+1 Lap|
|19||9||MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||+2 Laps|
|20||21||ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||+2 Laps|
|22||4||MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||Accident|
|FASTEST LAP – Hamilton – Lap 29 – 1:28.004|