Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2015 Contents A45
Monday, September 7, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MONZA---The only thing that came close to stop-
ping Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix
yesterday was an inquiry over tire pressure.
In the end---3 1/2 hours after the Mercedes driver
took the checkered flag and was interviewed on
the podium by Star Wars creator George Lucas---
that obstacle fell away, too.
Hamilton s left rear tire pressure was found to
be 0.3 psi below the minimum of 19.5 when meas-
ured moments before the race.
But stewards decided to take no action because
they determined that Mercedes had pumped the
correct amount of air into the tires before the pres-
sure dropped on its own.
"I wasn t aware of it," Hamilton said, adding that
0.3 psi "is not really a huge amount on one tire."
Hamilton cruised to his seventh win of the season,
and nearly doubled his Formula One lead over Mer-
cedes teammate Nico Rosberg, whose engine caught
fire with two laps remaining.
A potential challenge from Ferrari fizzled when
Kimi Raikkonen stalled on the front row of the
starting grid. In perfect conditions, Hamilton fin-
ished 25 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the
other Ferrari, while Felipe Massa narrowly edged
Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas for third.
Sole tire supplier Pirelli, still recovering from the
Belgian GP two weeks ago where there were fright-
ening tire deterioration problems, agreed with the
stewards decision on Hamilton.
"We are totally sure no one is cheating," Pirelli
spokesman Roberto Boccafogli said, adding that
"0.3 psi is nothing...Such a small thing."
Otherwise, it was a golden weekend for Hamilton,
who topped every practice, started from pole posi-
tion and led the race from start to finish.
"I dont know if I ve ever had a weekend like
this," said Hamilton, who is aiming for his second
straight F1 title and third overall.
As thousands of red-clad Ferrari fans rushed out
onto the track below the podium, Lucas recounted
how he had suggested that Hamilton win by 20
"Well, you did it in spades," the film director
said. "I bow to you."
Hamilton had such a comfortable lead that he
told his team midway through the race that he was
turning his engine down.
But Mercedes must have been made aware of
the tire pressure issue late in the race, because the
team started to send worrisome messages to Hamil-
ton via radio.
"We need to pull a gap," a Mercedes engineer
told Hamilton. "Don t ask questions, just execute."
Hamilton was perplexed.
"The last few laps I was told to push and I m
thinking, I ve got quite a big gap already. So I was
a little taken aback by it," he said. "But nonetheless
I still managed to pull it out and do what they
asked me to do."
Amid speculation that Monza might be removed
from the circuit after its contract expires next
season, Vettel made an emotional call to keep the
race in Italy.
"If we take this race away from the calendar for
any (poor) money reasons I think you are basically
ripping our hearts out," said the German, who won
twice at Monza with Red Bull and once with Toro
Rosso before signing with Ferrari a year ago.
Hamilton now leads Rosberg by 53 points with
seven races remaining this season.
With the 40th win of his career, Hamilton moved
within one victory of his childhood idol Ayrton
Senna and Vettel on the all-time list. The Briton
also became the first driver to secure back-to-back
wins at Monza since Damon Hill in 1993-94.
Raikkonen started on the front row for the first
time since China in 2013 but wasted the opportunity
by stalling in his grid position. The Finn eventually
got going but dropped immediately to the back of
the pack, before working his way back through the
field to finish fifth.
Before the race, fighter jets flew overhead leaving
a trail of red, white and green smoke---the colours
of the Italian flag. Italian Premier Matteo Renzi
belted out the national anthem while standing next
to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who will decide
Monza s fate.
There was more smoke---pure red---produced by
Ferrari fans in the grandstand. Also, drivers stood
for a minute of silence to remember Justin Wilson,
the British driver who died after debris struck his
helmet in an IndyCar race last month.
F1 now heads to Asia for races in Singapore and
Japan. The season ends in Abu Dhabi on November
Lucas awards Hamilton for Italian GP success
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, crosses the finish line to win the
Formula One Italian Grand Prix, at the Monza racetrack, Italy, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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