2016 Italian Grand Prix Race Review

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On Saturday, we saw Lewis Hamilton taking Pole Position for the Italian Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

The start of the Italian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The start of the Italian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Italian Grand Prix is underway! Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel gets a great start. Lewis Hamilton gets an bad start. So Rosberg leads Vettel into the first corner. Max Verstappen gets an appalling start and is now in twelfth place as does Esteban Gutierrez who was tenth and is now is twentieth.

Nico Rosberg leads the early stages of the Italian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the early stages of the Italian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 2 sees Rosberg leads Vettel by a second. Going into the first corner, Hamilton tries to pass Ricciardo but cannot do so. But Hamilton a few corners later is able to pass Ricciardo for position. Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr make contact with each other going into Turn 1. This then makes Felipe Nasr retire from the race as Palmer goes slowly around the circuit without a front wing.

The next few laps sees Hamilton catching Bottas for fourth place, Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen battling for ninth place and Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean battling for twelfth place. By Lap 8, Verstappen has passed Alonso for track position with a good move into Turn 1.

Valtteri Bottas being caught by Lewis Hamilton on Lap 10 of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Valtteri Bottas being caught by Lewis Hamilton on Lap 10 of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

By Lap 10, Hamilton passed Bottas on the circuit as Rosberg still leads the field by 10.3 seconds. With everyone starting to make their pit stops between Laps 12-20, things all changed in the grid even though Rosberg still lead the race but it was now ahead of his team mate Hamilton.

Sergio Perez running in seventh place on Lap 22. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Sergio Perez running in seventh place on Lap 22. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 22 sees Perez passing Grosjean with a great move into Turn 1. Three laps later sees Rosberg pitting for tyres and hands the lead of the race to Hamilton. Two laps later, Rosberg regains the lead of the race ahead of Vettel as Hamilton makes his pit stop for tyres and is now in fourth place.

Manor Racing driver Pascal Wehrlein has been told by his team via the radio to stop the car in a safe place as smoke appears out of his car. This then means that Wehrlein officially retires from the race. By Lap 30, Hamilton is catching Raikkonen for third place as Alonso is under pressure from Perez for tenth and on Lap 32, Perez is able to pass Alonso for the position.

Valtteri Bottas being caught by Daniel Ricciardo in the final stages of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Valtteri Bottas being caught by Daniel Ricciardo in the final stages of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

By Lap 33, Hulkenberg is under pressure from Bottas for eighth place. Daniil Kvyat officially retires from the race on Lap 38 even after gaining a time penalty. Lap 39 sees Rosberg leading Hamilton by 10.7 seconds. But the main action on the track is between Bottas and Ricciardo for fifth place; with the Red Bull driver edging ever more closely to the Williams driver.

In a fantastic move that was well executed and well planned, Ricciardo manages to get past the Williams of Bottas into Turn 1 after being so far behind him as well. But Bottas saw it coming and must have been surprised to see Ricciardo making his move, but both drivers respected each other and did not collide into each other.

Nico Rosberg wins the Italian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg wins the Italian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

But Rosberg leads Hamilton on the final lap of the race by 15 seconds and wins the Belgian GP which is his first win at the circuit and has reduced Hamilton’s lead in the championship to two points.

Hamilton is a credible second 15 seconds behind Rosberg, Vettel finished in a brilliant third place 20.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Raikkonen was a credible fourth 27.5 seconds behind Rosberg and Ricciardo finished fifth 42.2 seconds behind Rosberg

Bottas was sixth 51 seconds behind Rosberg, Verstappen was a brilliant seventh 54.2 seconds behind Rosberg, Perez was eighth 1.04.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Massa was ninth 1.05.6 seconds lap behind Rosberg and Hulkenberg was tenth 1.18.6 seconds behind Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton still leads the Driver’s Championship with 250 points, Nico Rosberg is in second place with 248 points, Daniel Ricciardo is in third place with 161 points, Sebastian Vettel is in fourth place with 143 points, Kimi Raikkonen is in fifth place with 136 points, Max Verstappen is in sixth place with 121 points, Valtteri Bottas is in seventh place with 70 points, Sergio Perez is in eighth place with 62 points, Nico Hulkenberg is in ninth place with 46 points and Felipe Massa is in tenth place with 41 points.

Mercedes still lead the Constructors Championship with 498 points, Red Bull is in second place with 290 points, Ferrari is in third place with 279 points, Williams is in fourth place with 111 points, Force India is in fifth place with 108 points, McLaren is in sixth place with 48 points, Toro Rosso is in seventh place with 45 points, Haas is in eighth place with 28 points, Renault is in ninth place with 6 points and Manor are tenth with 1 point.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an average weekend and have shown that despite their best efforts that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car but they are making small gains that are paying off for them in the last few races and they need to use this as inspiration for Singapore next week.

Hulkenberg had a battle to finish in tenth place. He battled with Massa and Alonso for most of the race and he deserved to get a point for his efforts on Sunday and it will help his confidence for the next few races as a result.

Massa did an okay job to get ninth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Hulkenberg for most of the race. This point for himself and Williams are vital and only shows just much of a driver Massa is despite not having the car underneath him to challenge for a better result this weekend.

Perez had another solid drive to eighth place on Sunday and bringing home much needed points. He has a solid run of form recently despite all the rumours surrounding where he will be driving next season but he is showing that he can deliver on the track.

Verstappen did a reasonable job to finish in seventh place. He may have had to battle through the grid after his poor start but he brought some points for himself and his team and increasing the pressure on Ferrari even though they had a better weekend than themselves.

Bottas had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish sixth, but he scored more points for the Williams team who seem to be extracting a little bit more pace and performance out of their package. But there is still a lot of work to be done but the fact that Bottas scored points again shows that he can deliver on the track.

Ricciardo did a good job to get fifth place and deserves a mention as my driver of the day. He drove a solid race  despite winning the battle with Bottas and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Raikkonen had a credible race to finish in fourth and has to be my driver of the day. It is a result that Raikkonen needed after a tough few races and he should be happy; especially gaining the position during the race. He drove superbly but in a race where many expected him to finish and to maintain the momentum he has so far, he has managed to gain some points for the team and put himself in good stead for the rest of the 2016 season.

Vettel deserves a mention. He drove a solid race to third place and battled his way through to get these points. Just a fantastic weekend for him and the Ferrari team and showing that he cannot be discounted on putting in the best performance on the track, even when the odds are against him.

Hamilton drove a solid race to finish second today and has to be my driver of the race. He may not have had the race he wanted; and didn’t have a chance to try and get past but he did a great job to secure a podium yesterday. And once again, luck helped him achieve this but he was in the position to make hey. But what a fantastic job from him all weekend and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Singapore.

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg deserved to win at Monza and he needed to in order to show that he cannot be discounted as a driver.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are still the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Nico for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his fifth race of the season and decreasing the championship lead as well.

With the Singapore GP in a weeks time, if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton, Ricciardo or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.

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