Italian GP Paddock Notebook – Sunday

0 Comments

And so ends the European leg of the 2014 Formula 1 season. With just six races to go, the end is in sight for this year’s championship. How time flies when you’re having fun.

Today’s race at Monza was all about Lewis Hamilton. The British driver produced a drive fit for a champion, fighting back from a poor start to overhaul teammate Nico Rosberg when the German made a mistake at turn one.

From then on in, it was Hamilton’s game. His start aside – which was a technical issue, not driver error – it was a perfect performance from the British driver; a win he thoroughly deserved.

Although it may not have been a blockbuster grand prix, it was certainly an interesting one with lots of good on-track battles and stories.

Rounding off the Italian Grand Prix weekend, here is the final paddock notebook from Monza.

NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK

THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK

The 2014 Italian Grand Prix could be described as something of an “anti-climax” by particularly cynical observers of Formula 1. After all of the hype and tension that was built up between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the lead-up to the race weekend, their on-track battle wasn’t a particularly feisty one.

In fact, the closest the two drivers came after the start was when Hamilton swept through the first chicane as Rosberg began to snake around the polystyrene boards in the run-off area.

Nevertheless, this has to go down as one of Hamilton’s best drives of the season, and perhaps a stand-out one in his career. After a poor start following a software glitch, he managed to fight back and claim a quite remarkable victory. Rosberg may have made a mistake (or two), but Lewis had to be in the right place at the right time. The mistakes would have gone unpunished if Nico had been another four seconds down the road.

The fact that both drivers kept it clean and enjoyed a hassle-free race will have brought a great deal of comfort to Mercedes. Interestingly, some suggested that Rosberg’s mistakes may have been deliberated, as forced by the team to make up for Hamilton’s loss at Spa. Maybe they were the same people who put up the “F1 is dead” banner at Monza on Friday (which, by the way, was removed).

Felipe Massa performed brilliantly to claim his first podium finish for Williams, but Valtteri Bottas was the star driver for the team. After a bad start, he fought his way through the pack to pick up fourth place, taking the team above Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. It was a day to forget for the Italian team on home soil, and it could well be that it does not manage to get back above Williams in the standings this year.

We also enjoyed a very spirited battle between Sergio Perez and Jenson Button, with the Mexican eventually prevailing. Both said after the race that they enjoyed the tussle – that is ‘real racing’. Great to see at a classic track like Monza.

Also impressive was Daniel Ricciardo’s fight through the field. He seemed a bit lost after qualifying, finishing ninth, but a long first stint allowed him to push in the second half of the race. Once again, he defeated Vettel in the same car at the same track…

Away from the track, the news about the draft calendar for the 2015 season was as expected, really. It’s good to see that Mexico and Austin will be back-to-back, giving fans in the area a choice of two grands prix. New Jersey’s omission is disappointing, but not all that surprising, it must be said.

That’s it for Monza, though. We’re back in two weeks’ time for the Singapore Grand Prix, which promises to be another thrilling event under the lights.