Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Sunday, reducing the points deficit to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to just 21 points as the German finished 2nd.
Felipe Massa grabbed his first podium for Williams with 3rd place in front of a Tifosi robbed of Ferrari success by a mechanical failure for Fernando Alonso, while Kimi Raikkonen scraped home in 9th for just two points.
Hamilton lost his pole position advantage at the start after making a bad getaway from the grid, but such was the pace of the Mercedes that he was soon back into 2nd after repassing Massa. Though Rosberg retained the advantage after the pair’s first and only pitstop, Hamilton was gifted the lead when the German ran straight on at the first chicane; a move that prompted the suggestion that this was his punishment for the Spa ‘incident’ by conspiracy theorists.
Most – if not all – the racing excitement was provided by the contenders for 4th through to 10th. Valtteri Bottas slumped from 3rd on the grid to 10th on lap one but fought relentlessly back up the order to secure 4th despite several run-ins with an overly-aggressive Kevin Magnussen in an underperforming McLaren. Surprisingly it was Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel who hauled their supposedly-underpowered Renault-engined Red Bull’s into 5th and 6th places, leaving Force India and McLaren to grab the minor points.
Sergio Perez was the sole representative of the Anglo-Indian squad in the battle with Magnussen and Jenson Button, the latter unable to make a move stick on the Mexican after suffering a woeful lack of straightline speed relative to their other Mercedes-engined rivals. In the end Magnussen’s violent defensive moves earned him a second penalty in as many races from the race stewards, dropping him from 7th to 10th in the final classification.
Max Chilton was the only other retirement aside from Alonso, crashing out on lap five after clattering over the kerbs at the second chicane.
Post-race brought ugly scenes when booing, seemingly from English sections of the crowd, interrupted Rosberg’s interview on the podium. It leant an atmosphere of menace previously unfamiliar in a sport not otherwise known for diehard partisan followings, much of it associated with the struggle for supremacy between the two Mercedes men.
CLASSIFICATION – Race – Italian Grand Prix – 7th September 2014