Lewis Hamilton sensationally recovered from a poor start to win the Italian Grand Prix and exert further pressure on championship leader and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
A technical issue affected Hamilton’s launch from the grid and he found himself down in fourth early on, while Rosberg took advantage by settling into the lead. With McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Williams’s Felipe Massa also capitalising on the problem, it looked like Hamilton had once again become a victim of the poor luck that he has been so used to this season.
However, Mercedes soon reset Hamilton’s engine system and the Brit showed great grit and determination to fight his way back up the rankings with impressive overtakes that elevated him to second place and firmly on to Rosberg’s tail.
Hamilton gradually closed the gap on his team-mate and chose to ignore radio orders when instructed to save his tyres. Instead, the 2008 world champion elected to pile the pressure on Rosberg while he was at his fastest, and the tactic soon proved its worth – the German was forced into a braking error on lap 29, allowing Hamilton to regain the lead.
From then on, it was almost plain sailing. Hamilton lost half a second of his advantage after locking up with three laps to go, but crossed the finish line comfortably ahead of his title rival to claim a crucial victory and close the gap to just 22 points at the top of the championship leaderboard.
Elsewhere, Felipe Massa proved the pace of his Williams car with his first podium finish since last season, seizing third place ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Daniel Ricciardo showed some silky skills with impressive passes over the likes of Jenson Button and Sebastien Vettel to finish fifth, and firmly suggest he has the potential to become a future world champion.
Ferrari fans were left disappointed as Fernando Alonso was forced into retirement for the first time since 2009 with a hybrid system failure, while Kimi Raikkonen finished a dismal ninth, ahead of Magnussen who was hit with a five second penalty after a battle with Bottas.
With six fixtures left on the race calendar, the title fight is surely hotting up. As it stands, it looks like one of the two Mercedes drivers will claim the championship. If Hamilton steers clear of any more misfortune, it is hard to argue that he’d be a worthy winner.
Despite all the trouble he’s endured this season, somehow he’s managed to keep himself in it and with Sunday’s win he now has the psychological advantage. All eyes now turn to Singapore in two weeks where another chapter of this encapsulating story will surely unfold.
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