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PIRELLI: WE’RE EXPECTING A ONE-STOPPER FOR THE MAJORITY

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has set pole for the Italian Grand Prix, using Pirelli’s P Zero Yellow soft tyres to set a time of 1m23.397s in qualifying this afternoon: considerably quicker than his pole time last year of 1m24.109s. Hamilton dominated the action both in free practice and qualifying, setting fastest time in every session at Monza this weekend.
Along with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, he was the only driver in the top 10 of the grid to use just three sets of new soft tyres during qualifying. All the others used four sets, with Hamilton claiming his 11th pole position of the season.
Qualifying at Monza was run in completely dry conditions following some rain in the morning, with ambient temperatures in the region of 26 degrees centigrade and track temperatures peaking at 41 degrees.
Mercedes and Ferrari were the only teams to get through Q1 using the medium tyres only, which in free practice were around 1.2 seconds per lap slower than the soft compound around Monza: the fastest track of the year.
From Q2 onwards, all the teams stuck with the soft compound – which the majority of competitors will start the race on tomorrow. A one-stop strategy is expected for most drivers, although a two-stopper is possible as well.
With quite a long time loss in the pit lane at Monza, a multiple-stop strategy would favour only the fastest cars, which are able to make up for lost track position by overtaking. However, with the reduced downforce at Monza minimising the effect of the DRS system, overtaking is not necessarily straightforward.
As a result of the earlier rain, the final free practice session this morning featured installation laps on the Cinturato Green intermediate, before the slicks came out with half an hour remaining.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “As usual, we saw an extremely tight qualifying session at Monza, with much of the field very closely matched. Qualifying is statistically very important at Monza when it comes to securing a race victory, so the strategy starts here. We’re expecting a one-stopper for the majority of runners, although two stops will be possible as well: the teams will no doubt be keeping an open mind on strategy, enabling them to maximise every opportunity that comes along. A damp start to the day meant that we saw the Cinturato intermediates in the morning, although these are not expected to be seen again for the rest of the weekend. With overtaking being far from the easy at Monza, strategy is sure to play a key role in the race tomorrow.”
The Pirelli strategy predictor:
The quickest strategy for the 53-lap race is theoretically a one-stopper, although the teams are likely to take a flexible approach, depending on individual tyre degradation and race circumstances (but the safety car probability is historically low). The ideal one-stop strategy is: start on soft tyre, switch to medium on lap 21. A two-stop strategy is theoretically just 1.63 seconds slower. The best two-stopper is: start on soft, soft again on lap 19, medium on lap 36. There is also a different one-stop possible: start on medium and pit for soft at lap 24.
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Another season ahead, will it be better than the last? I'm certainly hoping there will be less politics involved but that's just wishful thinking! Perhaps I will post less on such issues moving forwa

Bernie's really damaging the sport. He's so far behind the times it's impossible to listen to anything he has to say. Just looking at the way other sports leagues have grown over the past 20 years com

I disagree Massa only had one line to of the pits Hulkenburg saw him and could have avoided the contact and still passed Massa as he was on cold tyres. Good race though

WILLIAMS: WE WILL NOT GIVE UP IN PODIUM FIGHT

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Williams report from qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Qualifying Notes

  • Felipe qualified fifth and Valtteri sixth for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.
  • Despite Felipe improving on his second run in Q3, Rosberg jumped ahead in the final moments.
  • Williams locks out the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s race, half a second clear of the chasing pack.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “From a championship point of view I am happy with the result. We stressed to the team that we needed to get Qualifying perfect today, and they have all done a great job to make sure we were competing for the front rows whilst keeping clear of the rest of the field. The cars have been set-up well for qualifying and the race. We will not give up tomorrow in the fight for the podium and can really help our championship with a strong result.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It wasn’t a perfect qualifying as I didn’t get a great slipstream in the final lap. I think fifth and sixth was the maximum as the Ferraris were just a bit out reach. Tomorrow is a new day and we will certainly do everything we can to challenge them. The race pace looks strong so I am after a good result.”

Felipe Massa: “Ferrari were maybe a little bit too quick today, and even with a perfect lap it would have been difficult to match them. I’m still happy with our performance and where we are. Power is very important on this circuit so we may be able to fight with Nico (Rosberg) but it is a long race. I have my sights on the podium but most importantly we must have a good race, scores some valuable points and make sure we make no mistakes.”

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MCLAREN: FAILING TO MAKE IT OUT OF Q1 IS DISAPPOINTING

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Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso will start 15th and 16th respectively for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.
Jenson qualified 16th, and receives a five-place grid penalty, but will start 15th owing to four cars receiving bigger penalties, which relegate them to the back of the grid. For the same reason, Fernando will start 16th despite qualifying 17th.
Fernando Alonso, MP4-30-01: “Getting knocked out of Q1 was a bit frustrating. However, this is a period of learning for the entire team, and we need to go work through it together. You can’t seize every race weekend as an opportunity, you have to work through them and learn. We know we’re not in the best position – we’re not competitive right now – so we need to keep working in every area to improve the car. Nevertheless, this is always a special weekend; the fans have been very friendly and welcoming. It always feels good to race in front of the tifosi.”
Jenson Button, MP4-30-04: “The balance in qualifying was reasonably okay, but I had too much understeer in the car. The first run felt good, and the track usually grips up, so I added some front wing, but it was probably half of what was needed. It was a reasonable lap, but even if everything had been perfect, we still didn’t have the pace to bridge the three-tenths to make it through into Q2. It’s a shame, but we always knew this would be a tough race for us. Even with a good start, we won’t be able to hold people back in the race – because we’re not fast enough in a straight line – so they’ll pass us. I’m not sure that tomorrow will be too exciting for us, but we’ll do our best. The fans have been so supportive at a difficult time – I hope we can repay them soon.”
Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda: “Yet again failing to make it out of Q1 is difficult and disappointing for the entire team. So I must give thanks to everyone for maintaining their positivity and motivation, not least Fernando and Jenson, who are a credit to our organisation. Our sponsors and fans deserve a big shout-out too – thanks guys. Tomorrow is likely to be a difficult race for us. Although we won’t start from the very back – owing to the grid penalties that will relegate four cars to starting positions behind us – it’ll be tough to make progress tomorrow along Monza’s notoriously long, fast straights. Still, our drivers will race their hearts out, and anything can happen at Monza.”
Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport: “We knew coming into Monza that it was going to be a difficult race, as the drivers are on full throttle for most of the lap. We utilised yesterday’s results to find a good set-up for the aero, chassis and the power unit, but as the ERS assist on the straight line is still lacking, qualifying was extremely difficult. In race conditions, however, the energy management use is different, so, as a team, we hope to see some improvement.”
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TORO ROSSO: BOTH OUR DRIVERS ARE SUPER MOTIVATED

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Toro Rosso report from qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Carlos Sainz: “It’s a bit of a frustrating weekend because of the grid-penalties for tomorrow’s race, but at least today we were able to extract the maximum out of the car. Actually the car is feeling great! It’s just a shame that we have so many grid-position penalties and not enough power. It’s going to be a very interesting race tomorrow and I expect a fun fight at the start, as the last six cars on the grid are myself and Max, both Red Bull cars and two world champions like Button and Alonso. I hope we can still end up fighting for some points even if it’s not going to be easy, but that’s our target.”

Max Verstappen: “I expected it to be a difficult qualifying session today, as we had to change the engine in between sessions. The team worked very hard and did a great job in doing it in time. To be honest, it was a surprise that we were even able to drive out before the end of Q1… and they did it! I’d like to say thank you for the big effort. Ok, we all saw that some bodywork came off the car when I was out on track, but you have to understand that they always try their best, they wanted me to get out there and these things sometimes happen when you are on the limit, fighting against time. Tomorrow’s race needs a lot of overtaking again, so I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fun. Our race pace doesn’t look that bad compared to Red Bull, and we will also fight with the McLaren’s at the start. Hopefully we can also challenge Sauber, and then see what else we are capable of doing…Let’s see!”

* Total grid penalties for tomorrow’s race to be confirmed by official FIA documents

James Key (Technical Director): “We always knew that today was going to be a bit of a compromise for us with the engine penalties for both drivers. Therefore, what we decided to do for FP3 was concentrate on the race and not so much on qualifying performance, so we hadn’t actually done any form of low-fuel running at all until a few laps in qualy. We learned a little bit more about the car this morning and both drivers are happy with the car in high-fuel loads. For qualifying it was clear that in reality we were fighting for the last places on the grid because of the number of penalties that we are taking together with a few other teams, so there was little point in using tyre sets to try and make progress. It was a case of giving Carlos a chance to be as high as possible, as his number of penalties are similar to others. Unfortunately for Max, we had to fit a new engine between FP3 and qualifying. The mechanics did an absolutely outstanding job to get that done in such a short time, because we felt it was extremely unlikely we’d make the session at all, we wanted to try and get a short run or installation lap in for Max to ensure all was ok with the car. Sadly, there seems to have been a bit of an issue with the bodywork, we are investigating to understand how this happened. We will have to see how the penalties for tomorrow’s race pan out now. Clearly we will have a lot of work to do but we are actually looking forward to the race, trying to work our way through the traffic and see what we can do. Both our drivers are super motivated and the team is as well, and our high-fuel pace looked quite reasonable, so it’s a case of taking on the challenge and doing as much as we can!”

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FORCE INDIA: PRIORITY IS TO PICK UP GOOD POINTS

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Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza saw both Sahara Force India cars progress to Q3, with Sergio Perez setting the seventh fastest time ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in ninth.
P7. Sergio Perez, VJM08-02: “I am pretty happy with the job I did today in qualifying. I was able to improve my time in every session and each lap was pretty good. In Q3 I was a bit too optimistic and tried to get a tow from Kimi on the straight but it didn’t work: it actually cost me a couple of tenths but in any case it wouldn’t have been enough to be in front of the two Williams cars. The race will be hard, but our target should be to challenge Williams ahead of us. The b-spec car has been performing solidly in the past few races so I see no reason why we shouldn’t be in a position to have a good performance tomorrow. A good start will be crucial as the strategy options are quite straightforward; one of the keys of the race will be tyre degradation, but I am confident we will be strong and score good points.”
P9. Nico Hülkenberg, VJM08-01: “It’s good to be in the top ten, but without the problems in Q3 there was the potential to be much higher up the grid. I just lost power on my in-lap following my first run on used tyres, which was caused by a problem with the fuel system. I made it back to the pits, but the mechanics had to push me back to the garage and we lost a lot of time. When we tried to restart the car, the gearbox was stuck in between two gears and I couldn’t select neutral in time to get out again for a lap on new softs. It’s a shame because I think sixth or seventh place was possible today. I’m sure we will fix these issues for tomorrow, but grid position is important here so it’s going to be a bit more difficult starting from ninth. The midfield is looking very competitive and some of the teams have stepped up their game since yesterday. We will have to fight hard to get the points we need.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “We’ve shown a lot of promise since the start of practice and in that sense it’s satisfying to see both cars through to Q3. Sergio is up in seventh and did a good job despite not being totally happy with the balance of the car. Nico was just as competitive as Sergio and without the fuel system problem I’m sure he would have been several places higher up the grid. It means he’s out of position slightly, but with solid race pace he can hopefully progress tomorrow. The priority is to have a clean race and pick up good points.”
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'Big question mark' over Merc engine

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Mercedes are still scratching their head over Nico Rosberg's engine problem at Monza with Toto Wolff admitting there is a "big question mark" over their new power unit ahead of the race.
The Merc works team introduced a new-spec engine ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, but Rosberg suffered a problem ahead of qualifying and the team opted to put an older engine in his W06.
The German then endured a pretty disappointing qualifying session and will start Sunday’s race in P4, behind his team-mate and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton as well as the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Wolff revealed on Saturday evening that they still have to get to the bottom of the problem and says there are no guarantees that Hamilton's new engine won't have similar issues.
"We simply don't know what the root cause of the problem on Nico's engine was and we don't think it is performance related," he said.
"We haven't yet identified the problem so there is still a big question mark about what's actually happened and the potential risks for Lewis tomorrow."
He added: "It was clear today that even if we would have found out what the problem was, we couldn't change two engines. So we did it on Nico's car.
"If we find out that it is a major issue and this is something that would put Lewis's engine at risk and Lewis's race at risk this would certainly be something we would consider because our car has great pace and it is better to play it safe.
"But at this very moment we don't know that and I still have the belief that it's something we can solve."
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Alonso: Ferrari still not much better

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Fernando Alonso insists Ferrari shouldn't get too carried away with the progress they have made this year, saying they were actually better off when he was driving for them a few seasons ago.
The two-time World Champion left the Scuderia at the end of the 2014 season after five frustrating years at Maranello failed to yield a title, but he did finish runner-up in the standings in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Ferrari, though, appear to have moved forward following a nightmare 2014 season and Sebastian Vettel has already won two races this campaign. Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel also produced the team's best qualifying display of the season at the home race at Monza on Saturday as they will start P2 and P3 respectively.
However, Mercedes remain the front-runners as they are 184 points ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors' standings and Alonso says it shows that they haven't actually made much progress.
"Ferrari is doing well is relatively compared to who? Compared to us they are doing really well, but compared to what we did the five years we were together they are not doing anything better, because we were leading the Championship a couple of years here in Monza," he is quoted as saying by Crash.net.
"Now they are third, 100 points behind the Mercedes, you know congratulations to them, but I don't think Ferrari should not be happy being third and 100 points behind Mercedes."
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Grid penalty for Ericsson

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Marcus Ericsson has lost his top-10 starting position for the Italian Grand Prix following a penalty post qualifying.
The Swede was 10th fastest during qualifying at Monza on Saturday, but he will start 12th place after he was handed a penalty for blocking Force India's Nico Hulkenberg during Q1.
"What's he doing," Hulkenberg was heard shouting over the radio as he was cut off by Ericsson on his first flying lap.
The Sauber driver was duly hit with a three-place grid penalty and also had two penalty points added to his licence, which takes him up to seven points over the last 12 months.
However, he will only drop two places as Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz, who was 13th fastest in qualifying, will move further down the order due to engine penalties.
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Seb dreaming of Ferrari 1-2 at Monza

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It is all still sinking in for Sebastian Vettel after he made a solid debut for Ferrari at Monza, but the four-time World Champion is hoping for something special in front of the home fans on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes will start the Italian GP from pole position after taking P1 for the 11th time this season, but he will have the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen next to him while Vettel is third on the grid.
Raikkonen and Vettel's starting positions are Ferrari's best of the season and the German, who is in his first season at the Scuderia, is hoping they can improve even further on race day.
"It's a fantastic result, second and third and very close to Lewis. I think that's the main positive of the day. It gives us great confidence for tomorrow," he said in the post-race press conference.
"It's our home race and it's really something special every time you drive past [the fans]. It's the first time for me obviously in red, to see the Tifosi standing up, waving the flags and jumping up and down in the grandstand definitely makes it different to all the other races I've done before. I'm trying to take it all in and enjoy the day as well tomorrow.
"Hopefully we can both be on the podium tomorrow, sorry Lewis, I wouldn't mind if you are not on the podium. You can be, but if we are both ahead of you that would obviously be a dream come true. I think dreaming is allowed, but nevertheless you have to realistic. It's going to be a tough race tomorrow and these guys [Merceds] have some serious pace in the race."
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Nico, Lauda disagree over lack of power

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Nico Rosberg claimed that his lack of pace during qualifying at Monza was due to his old engine, but Niki Lauda begged to differ.
The German's new-spec power unit (PU) suffered a failure during FP3 on Saturday morning and Mercedes decided to put an old engine in his car ahead of qualy.
While his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who had the new-spec PU at his disposal, went on to claim his 11th pole position of the season, Rosberg could only manage P4 as Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were also faster than him.
Rosberg was adamant afterwards that his woes were down to the old engine.
"We had to go back to an engine that has done six races now and, every kilometre, you lose a bit of power so," he told Sky Sports. "Especially at a track like Monza, the absolute power track where you need a good engine, so it's very disappointing to have it happen here.
"It's a very big compromise and the reason why I am fourth today, which makes the race tomorrow tough as I will be slower in the race tomorrow as well. That's not ideal and will be difficult against those Ferraris."
However, Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda believes Rosberg just couldn't come to grips with the handling of the car.
"Nico was not down on power, he had handling problems – too much understeer, he complained about it," he is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. "He couldn't get the car to handle properly for his way of driving and this made a huge difference."
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Italian GP: Max Verstappen penalised for his F1 car losing bodywork

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Max Verstappen must serve an Italian Grand Prix drive-through penalty as a punishment for his Toro Rosso Formula 1 team releasing his car without its bodywork secure in qualifying.
Toro Rosso carried out an engine change on Verstappen's car going into Q1 and it was only able to get him out for an installation lap at the end of the session.
It then dramatically shed its engine cover as he accelerated towards Curva Grande, spreading debris across the track.
The Dutch rookie admitted that the team had been hurrying and had not done up all the bolts on the bodywork.
"The bodywork was only 50 per cent [secured] with all the bolts - we thought it would hold on as it is quite strong," Verstappen said.
"I think it just got a bit too much vibration out of the pit.
"I just felt a little bit of a vibration before and then once I lost it I slowed down."
The team was reported to the stewards, who ruled that Verstappen must serve a drive-through penalty at the end of lap one as "the car was released on its first run in qualifying in an unsafe condition".
Verstappen has also been given an additional 10-place grid penalty, though this is irrelevant in practice as he is already last on the grid having not set a time in qualifying and received a previous penalty for an earlier engine change.
Although the latest engine switch was a return to an old unit, the team was penalised as "the FIA seals have been removed from the ICE [internal combustion engine] of car #33 without FIA supervision".
That penalty was already anticipated by Verstappen.
"It's the one I used in Spa, but it is declared as a new engine as we cut the seal," he said.
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Italian GP: Lotus F1 team forced to borrow tyre blankets

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Lotus had to borrow tyre blankets from rival Formula 1 teams ahead of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix after overnight rain rendered its own unusable.
The tyre blankets were soaked through when Lotus arrived at Monza on Saturday morning.
Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane said the team would have been unable to run had Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Sauber not offered help.
Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean did limited running in final practice and were hampered during qualifying as the tyre blankets did not reach their ideal temperature in time.
"We had some problems this morning with tyre blankets and the rain playing havoc with us," Permane told AUTOSPORT.
"They were soaking wet when we came in but we managed to borrow some tyre blankets.
"We are thankful to Sauber, Ferrari and Toro Rosso for lending us a set or two each to help us out of trouble.
"But that meant our tyres were a bit late going on for qualifying so they didn't have as much heat as they perhaps could have done.
"When it is critical in Q3, when you want everything perfect, and they are not quite up to temperature, that can have an effect.
"Without their help we wouldn't have even be there so we are eternally grateful to them.
"We're in direct competition with Sauber and Toro Rosso and they didn't hesitate to help us out so it's much appreciated."
Grosjean qualified eighth with Maldonado 11th. While Permane conceded a second successive podium, after the Frenchman's third at Spa, will be difficult he was hopeful of good points.
"We have the same tyres we had in Spa last week, with a tiny bit less downforce, and we went very well there so I expect us to go very well tomorrow," he said.
"Williams look a bit quicker than us, quicker than they were in Spa, so I think our race is with Force India, which is quite nice as it's a battle for fifth in the championship."
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ITALIAN GRAND PRIX: HAMILTON HAMMERS THEM ALL

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton scored his seventh victory of the season at the Italian Grand Prix as he beat Sebastian Vettel to the chequered flag, while title rival and teammate Nico Rosberg failed to finish.
Hamilton and Mercedes endured an anxious few hours after the race as the team was summoned to appear before the stewards to explain low starting tyre pressures on his and Rosberg’s car.
But the stewards returned a verdict of not guilty and Hamilton gets to bag maximum points for his efforts and with it stretch his points lead over Rosberg to 53 points.
The Briton had put in a dominant performance to hold a 19-second advantage over second-placed Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari in the closing stages when with a handful of laps to go he was suddenly told to increase the gap he had to the German.
“We need to pull a gap, don’t ask questions, just execute,” said his race engineer, who informed Hamilton that all would be explained after the chequered flag.
The issue stemmed from tests on the grid, inside the five-minute-signal before the start, that revealed that the left-rear tyre of Hamilton’s car and that of team-mate Rosberg had tyre pressures below the minimum starting pressures specified for the weekend. Hamilton’s tyre was 0.3psi below the specification, while Rosberg’s was 0.6 under the required mark.
With Mercedes perhaps anticipating a time penalty, Hamilton was told to widen the gap as much as possible and he eventually crossed the line 25 seconds ahead of the Ferrari.
At the chequered flag, third place went to Williams’ Felipe Massa who inherited the position less than two laps from the chequered flag when the engine in Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes failed.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who stalled on the front row of the grid at the start and dropped to the back of the field recovered to finish in fifth place behind the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
When the lights out went out at the start Hamilton made a good getaway to take the lead but second on the grid Raikkonen stalled and was swamped by the cars behind. Vettel took second but Rosberg made a bad start and dropped to sixth from fourth as he was passed by Massa, Bottas and Perez.
Further back, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz made a good start to climb to 11th place by the end of the first lap, as did Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, who made his way from 19th on the grid to P13 as lap two started.
Raikkonen dropped to the back of the field but was soon back in the battle for points as Verstappen served an early drive-through penalty and Pastor Maldonado pitted and then retired.
His Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean was in trouble as well and the Frenchman pulled over from P7 and retired from the race on the second lap. Raikkonen was thus quickly promoted to P11 by lap three behind Sainz.
At the front Hamilton began to swiftly pull away and by lap the end of lap eight he had carved out a 4.5 second advantage over Vettel, with Massa a further 3.7s back.
On the edge of the points-scoring positions, Sainz in P10 was coming under pressure from the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Kvyat. The position would soon fall to Ricciardo as Sainz was hit with a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when he passed Button. He immediately served the penalty, changed to a set of soft tyres and dropped to P18.
By the start of lap 19 Hamilton had effortlessly increased his lead over Vettel to almost 10 seconds, with Massa third ahead of Williams team-mate Bottas. Rosberg was the first of the front-runners to pit, diving in from fifth place to take on a set of medium tyres. Perez was sixth on the road ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Raikkonen in seventh.
Williams responded to Rosberg’s stop by pitting Massa, who also took on medium tyres. The undercut worked for Rosberg, though, and unable top match the Mercedes works driver’s pace, Massa dropped behind the German.
Bottas made his sole visit to the pit lane on lap 22 but the stop was a relatively slow 4.0s by the time the pit stop phase was over, both Williams cars had lost places to Rosberg.
Raikkonen in third on old starting soft tyres but was passed on lap 28 by Rosberg and the Finn was the last of the frontrunners to pit, from fourth place, on lap 29.
He rejoined in P10. Also in on that lap was Kvyat, from P9, with the Red Bull driver bucking the top 10 trend and swapping opening medium tyres for a set of quicker softs for his final stint. He rejoined in P12 behind Sainz.
Ricciardo was the last to make a first regulation pit stop and on lap 31 he visited the pit land from P7. Like Kyat, he shed his starting medium tyres and bolted on soft tyres for a late-race charge.
With the stops complete, Hamilton held the lead on lap 33, 19.3s ahead of Vettel who was 5s clear of Rosberg. Massa was now fourth ahead of Bottas with Perez in sixth place. Raikkonen had climbed to seventh after passing Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg on the previous lap and the final points positions were occupied by Ericsson and Ricciardo, with Kvyat now 11th.
The second half of the race unfolded in similar fashion to the opening phases of the race, with Hamilton stretching further ahead and with Vettel consolidating his second place ahead of Rosberg.
Rosberg was told by his team, however, that they expected Vettel’s tyres to deteriorate more rapidly than their own in the final stages and in the closing laps Rosberg began to reel the Ferrari man in.
The gap between the pair dropped to below three seconds but Vettel’s path to the flag was made more comfortable when Rosberg’s engine, an older Spa-specification unit he had been forced to use due to a problem with his Monza engine in practice, expired with two laps to go.
Ahead Hamilton was being given the order to increase his pace and he eventually took the flag 25 seconds ahead of Vettel. Behind them Massa fought a nip and tuck battle with team-mate Bottas for the final podium place and the duo crossed the line just inches apart, with the Brazilian to the fore.
Behind them Sergio Perez was sixth for Force India, while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg took seventh.
Red Bull Racing’s put in a battling drive to climb from 19th place on the grid to take eighth place and the final points positions were occupied by Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat.
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HAMILTON KEEPS MONZA VICTORY AFTER STEWARDS ENQUIRY

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Immediately after winning the Italian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton’s victory fell under a dark cloud as stewards investigated what was suspected to be illegal tyre pressures on the Mercedes after his left-rear tyre pressure was found to be below the minimum allowed at the start.
But the stewards returned a verdict of not guilty and Hamilton gets to bag maximum points for his efforts and with it 53 points ahead of title rival and teammate Nico Rosberg who did not finish the race.
“Those last few laps were not cool,” Hamilton said on the victory lap.
And boss Toto Wolff initially told British television Sky immediately after the chequered flag: “It’s still a secret.”
It soon emerged that Jo Bauer, the FIA’s safety delegate, had referred a matter to the stewards about tyre pressure.
With the Pirelli blowout saga still looming large, F1’s tyre supplier had insisted before Monza that teams must increase pressure for Monza. But on the grid, Pirelli’s Paul Hembery said the teams were “mainly” playing ball with the strict new limits.
It emerges that, with a calibrated tyre gauge, Pirelli had checked the rear tyres of both Mercedes and both Ferraris on the grid – and the pressure on both Mercedes was illegally low.
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Nico Rosberg, who eventually retired with an apparent engine failure, was found to be 1.1 PSI under the limit, while Hamilton’s left-rear was 0.3 PSI under.
It would not only be a clear technical breach to enhance performance, but also a safety issue, causing the highly experienced Pat Symonds of Williams to surmise that disqualification was the only possible penalty, “I expect quite a big penalty — disqualification.”
“It’s a safety issue, so yes [disqualification would be the penalty],” agreed Williams engineer Rob Smedley.
For his part, Wolff insisted Mercedes would not deliberately cut corners on safety, as the Brackley team is “always the first to be sure”. And Hamilton said a 0.3 PSI advantage would not be enough to help performance.
“That’s not the reason we won today,” he insisted.
And Wolff also revealed that tyres are pumped up in collaboration with Pirelli representatives, even though Smedley said Williams has fail-safe checks in place.
“We measure them [he tyre pressures] with Pirelli,” Wolff said on British television BBC. “At the moment we have no detail what is going on.”
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VETTEL: GRAZIE A VOI! GRAZIE TIFOSI!

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Sebastian Vettel gave it his best shot in his first visit to Monza as a Ferrari driver and was rewarded with second place at the Italian grand Prix much to the delight of the tifosi.he spoke after a hard afternoon’sgraft at the Temple of Speed.
Did the new engine live up to your expectations?
Sebastian Vettel: Well look at this [pointing to the crowd] I think this says it all. Grazie a voi! Grazie tifosi! Questo anno è incredible… Grazie, a tutta la squadra dico ancora grazie.
You “were very fair in Turn One,” said Lewis Hamilton. You gave it a go. Did you think it might be on?
SV: I had to! Obviously I was on the outside so it was going to be difficult. I was a bit deeper on the brakes but yeah, I mean I have to give way, he’s on the inside, the first corner goes to the right. It’s a tricky one. We’ve seen across the various years you can get it wrong so I was quite happy. Tried to focus on the exit. He got a magnificent exit out of Turn Two so I couldn’t really get a run on him. I was trying – but I couldn’t get a run on him into Turn Four. After that I though, after the first couple of laps, I think at some points we were similar in lap time, he was only a tenth quicker for one or two laps, I thought that maybe now we get a chance to close the gap but then he just seemed to… in football you call it the second lung. I don’t know – that’s a German saying, it makes no sense in English – but he just seemed to find an extra switch and he was pulling away. I think myself, Felipe and the cars behind, we seemed to struggle with tyres, so we’re losing pace whereas Lewis just kept doing what he was doing in the first couple of laps. So it was quite incredible to see and no chance to stay close to him. After that our race was pretty isolated but I knew I had to keep pushing. Seeing the pace that Lewis had, I knew that Nico eventually will have the same pace. He did in the end, he was closing the gap, it was getting quite tight but I think we could have managed and get the place even with Nico not retiring. So, in the end, to sum it up, it’s fairly simple, it’s the best second place I ever had. The emotions on the podium is incredible. If we take this away from the calendar for any shitty money reasons I think you are basically ripping our hearts out. We are here, we are racing and this makes it so much more worthwhile. It’s what we’re here for. You stand on the grid, you look to the left, you look to the right, people are just happy to be part of it and it makes our day. So, simple as that. It’s incredible. So, thanks for this emotion on behalf of all the Ferrari team. Thank you.
As you have said, there was a phase early in the race when you were just a couple of tenths slower than Lewis but then it has increased quite a bit. Why do you think this was? Was it just that your tyres didn’t hold up so well because it was the end of the stint or was it because you weren’t able to use the same engine modes as yesterday in qualifying?
SV: No, I think it’s pretty simple. I was falling asleep! No, I was pushing as hard as possible and Lewis, I think, to some extent, did the same and yeah, I think you could see on my lap times also Felipe’s – I got updated by radio that the lap times kept dropping so I guess we were struggling more with the tyres than Lewis was because he was able to do the same lap time on lap 22 as he did on lap four which is quite impressive. Obviously we had run down some fuel but tyres are 20 laps older. I think he said he felt well with the balance of the car which makes a huge difference so that’s that. They were quick on race pace, quicker than us but potentially they had a bit better tyre wear or tyre degradation, let’s put it this way, so I think that made the difference. On the first three laps I had a bit of hope and then, to be honest with you, I saw them going away, so yeah, that was that.
What kind of help could you get with lower tyres pressures?
SV: Well, it’s difficult to judge now because I don’t know what was going on. I think it’s not fair to hand that question to Lewis because he doesn’t know what’s going on, so that’s that. In principle, the tyres last a bit longer, but as I said, I don’t think… In a lot of respect and fairness he did a very good job today and you have to accept that.
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HAMILTON: I COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT MY TEAM

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Lewis Hamilton survived a poist race scare that looked like costing him victory, but at the end of the day the reigning Formula 1 world champion bagged maximum points and extended his lead in the championship to a massive 53 points. He spoke on the podium and at the post race press conference.
MC George Lucas: This is amazing, simply amazing. Congratulations Lewis, you did a great job. You told me earlier when I was kidding you about these close call races of one or two seconds, I said ‘why don’t you win by 20 seconds?’ and you said ‘I could do that, I think’. Well, you did it in spades; I bow to you, you did a great job.
Lewis Hamilton: Thank you. Today… look at this crowd, it’s incredible. Unbelievable fans here. I couldn’t have done it without my team. I couldn’t have done it without my team. I don’t know if anyone can hear us. This team is just remarkable and what we have achieved together is so special, so I’m incredibly grateful to them for really working so hard through the weekend, through the last weeks, through the whole year to give me the car I had today. These guys also did a great job.
So Lewis, one last question: Do blonds have more fun?
LH: I hope so! Thank you everyone. Thank you to all the fans. You are the greatest fans here. Grazie a tutti.
The technical delegate has referred the team to the stewards saying that “the minimum measured tyre starting pressure of the left-hand side rear tyre of car number 44 was 0.3 PSI below the specified minimum tyre starting pressure” and a representative of the team is asked to go to the stewards. Do you have any comment to make on that?
LH: Not really no.
You’re not aware of it?
LH: I wasn’t aware of it, so…
The team was asking you at the end of the grand prix to build a gap. You weren’t sure what that was for, presumably that was linked to this issue?
LH: Maybe.
They still haven’t told you?
LH: No.
Your 50th grand prix start for Mercedes, your third win here in Monza, seventh of the season, 40th of your career, now one short of Ayrton Senna, who I know was an idol of yours growing up. Really, obviously, the start was always going to be decisive. You took a defensive line, Sebastian had to go round the outside and from there on you seemed to be completely in control of the afternoon. Tell us about that and also the emotions of the afternoon from start to now?
LH: Yeah, this weekend has been just fantastic. It has been a perfect weekend for me. I don’t know if I have ever had a weekend like this. This circuit is such a special one for… I think it’s the same for all the drivers. When you stand on top of that podium you feel incredible pride and incredibly proud to be amongst the greats that have stood up there and when you see a sea of fans – a lot of them in red – but the sea of fans is just unlike anything I’ve seen. It’s very emotional when you are up there. The race was fantastic. I got a good start. I think we all probably got a difficult start and managed to hold ground. Sebastian was really fair into turn one and after that it was really just chipping away, looking after the tyres, trying to look after the tyres whilst chipping away… trying to take time away, increase the time, the gap behind. I was generally able to control it really after that. I felt comfortable. The car balance I really got perfect for the race. Perhaps not so much for qualifying but perfect for the race. It was actually one of my favourite balances I’ve had through the year, in the actual race. The last few laps I was told to push and I’m thinking I’ve got quite a big gap already, so, for me, I was a little taken aback by it, but nonetheless I still managed to pull it out and do what they asked me to do. Big congrats to Sebastian and Felipe. I know these two have been pushing hard for a long, long time, so I feel proud to be up here with them as well.
And you were 29 points behind coming here last year. You’re 50 points ahead going away, over 50 points ahead going away this year.
LH: I don’t understand…
Rosberg retired…
LH: I wasn’t aware of that. Oh. Wow. I think our performance, my performance today, I have to really take my hat off to my team: they’ve done a remarkable job the last two years and I can’t thank them enough. The constant attention to detail. Improvements they’ve been doing back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth is just… I’ve never seen it before. Incredibly grateful for everything they’ve done.
What kind of help could you get with lower tyres pressures?
LH: 0.3 lower? Not really a huge amount on one rear tyre.
What are your feelings when you hear that the future of Monza on the calendar is uncertain?
LH: As I said on the podium, I said at the beginning here, this is one of the best tracks in the world. This has to stay here for moral reasons. As Felipe is saying, all those fans out there who come every single year. Are you going to take this Grand Prix away from us and put on another one, that would not have the same feeling, or would not have the special impact so we definitely have to keep this.
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MASSA: I’M GETTING TOO OLD FOR THAT!

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Felipe Massa raised a big cheer from the Monza crowd gathered at the foot of the Monza podium after he finished third in the Italian Grand Prix, working hard for the place by keeping his Williams teammate at bay in the final stages of the race. He spoke afterwards.
How did it feel when you were coming up to the finish line there and your team-mate was only inches away from you?
Felipe Massa: It feels very tough! I’m getting [too] old for that! I even said to the team I’m getting old! The last three laps of the race I was fighting with my team-mate. It was very difficult but we managed to be here.
On the podium here in Monza, second year in a row. Start obviously decisive for you as well because Kimi just didn’t get away, you were very, very quick on to that and at the end you had a little bit of a tussle with your younger team mate once again, which you seem to be enjoying.
FM: Yeah, it’s really emotional to be here. It’s a fantastic race, very difficult from the beginning to the end, just trying to make the gap and then, the start was OK. It was not really that fantastic a start I had but it was really good to overtake cars and to manage to be in the position compared to the guys behind, so happy for that. But also, just the pace. Trying to open the gap against Valtteri. I went to the pitstop a little bit early and he stays on the track for a few other laps which helps a lot his tyres for the end of the race. Maybe I opened the gap anyway and we were doing good lap times to maintain the gap but at the end I started to lose performance on the rear tyres and he was catching me with better tyres as well. So, in the last three laps it was pretty difficult. He was catching me a lot, he was quicker than me. The only problem was the traction: he has better traction. So, I managed to fight, and getting to the podium was tough, three laps but I’m so happy for the position, so happy for the team. I think we managed to score great and fantastic points today. And also in this amazing place. Being on the podium here, with the whole straight of people so we cannot even see any asphalt, y’know. Even in Corner Three, from the podium. So it’s really, I mean, definitely the best podium and very human. A very hot, human feeling when you see all these people.
What are your feelings when you hear that the future of Monza on the calendar is uncertain?
FM: I don’t think they can take it out. The history of Formula One, this is history here, here is part of what is Formula One… everything that Formula One grows is a lot thanks to these races as well, to these people. We race for the people and when you see the podium with a lot of people like that and they’re screaming and crying, I don’t think we can lose that. This is part of our blood and we cannot lose this type of races. I really like to go to new countries, we go to amazing countries, countries that I even didn’t know what they meant before and then I love to go there, many different countries and I’m really in favour to go there but you cannot lose something which is inside the blood as well.
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MERCEDES: NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS TO OPERATE OUR CAR WITHIN PRESCRIBED SAFETY LIMITS

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Bittersweet Italian Grand Prix sees Lewis Hamilton victorious as Nico Rosberg retires

  • Lewis took his third Italian Grand Prix victory and seventh of the season
  • The result marks his 40th career win on his 160th Grand Prix start
  • Nico was forced to retire just three laps from the flag with a mechanical failure of his Power Unit
  • The Power Unit in question was being run for a sixth race weekend.
  • The root cause of the failure will be diagnosed at Brixworth.
  • Both Lewis and Nico ran a one stop strategy of option / prime
  • Mercedes AMG Petronas now lead Ferrari by 181 points in the Constructors’ Championship
  • Lewis now leads the Drivers’ Championship by 53 points from Nico

Lewis Hamilton: “This weekend has been just fantastic. A perfect weekend for me – I can’t remember one like it. This race is so special for every driver. When you stand up on that podium it’s so emotional. It’s a really proud moment to be up there in front of that sea of fans and to walk in the footsteps of so many great drivers who have won here. The start was pretty close, holding off Sebastian. But from there I felt in control. The balance wasn’t perfect for qualifying but it was one of the best I’ve had in the race. I can’t thank the team enough for all their hard work. Everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is doing such an incredible job. I’ve never seen anything like it, so thank you everyone.”

Nico Rosberg: “This weekend was very tough for me. There were just too many problems with my car which made it impossible to fight for the win. It hurts a lot when you have to retire with just two or three laps to go. A few corners earlier, I felt already that I had lost some power but was still hoping I could make it. Today was a massive step in the wrong direction for me in the Championship – but to complain doesn’t help in these situations. I just need to keep pushing and come back even stronger. Giving up is not an option for me. I will push hard to turn things in the right direction – starting in Singapore, which is one of my favourite races. I’m looking forward to it already.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “A bittersweet day for us all with a fantastic win for Lewis but a DNF for Nico after he had climbed back through the field. The pattern was set at the start, when Lewis retained the lead but Nico suffered a bad start. Lewis was able to build a good gap to Vettel, drove a flawless race and thoroughly deserved his victory. The result leaves him in a very strong championship position with seven races to go. Nico climbed back through the field thanks to strong pace and some great work on the pit wall, when he made an aggressive early stop to undercut both Williams cars in front of him – with a great stop from the boys. That put him in free air and he started a long charge to hunt down Vettel in front. P2 looked possible and Nico was pushing hard to close in – we pushed the power unit very hard and, in hindsight, too far for the high mileage it had. It’s a bitter pill to lose a podium finish just three laps from the end and with P2 in your sights. Of course, we had to manage the situation with the stewards after the race, although we were confident that we had acted correctly throughout and followed the guidance from Pirelli. As Mercedes-Benz, our number one priority is to operate our car within the prescribed safety limits and this is not something we would ever take a chance on. Indeed, we worked very closely with Pirelli since Spa to help define these limits for the race weekend in Monza, and we saw today that there were no problems in a very high-speed, hard-fought race; my compliments go to Pirelli for the job they have done here in Monza. Overall, this has been an extremely challenging race but after so many ups and downs, it’s very satisfying to come away with a strong win. However, like we always say, small details decide between success and failure, and we had more evidence this weekend of how hard we must keep pushing to maintain our level of performance in every single race. We have a fantastic team and they have done a great job this season, both at the track and in the factories. Now we need to get our heads down, fix our problems and keep moving forward.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): “Congratulations first and foremost to Lewis on a fantastic win. It was a superbly controlled drive. But, at the same time, our apologies must go to Nico. The weekend first started to unravel for him on Saturday with the failure of a component which contaminated his engine, forcing him to run a Power Unit which had already competed in five race weekends. The power loss from the age of the engine likely cost him a front row grid slot in qualifying and had then clearly been pushed too far in undertaking a sixth race on Sunday. He produced a fantastic recovery drive after a tough start and deserved a result, so our apologies once again to him. We will learn a lot of lessons from this weekend to take into the coming races.”

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FERRARI: WE’RE SATISFIED WITH OUR GAIN

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Scuderia Ferrari’s home race was very exciting right from the start. Kimi Raikkonen had a difficult getaway and dropped down to the back, after which he fought his way up the order to fifth place at the flag.
Sebastian Vettel moved into second at the start and managed to stay there right to the finish, behind the winner, Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Third was Felipe Massa for Williams.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “This time I see the glass half full. Sebastian’s race to second place was unbelievable. His contribution to the team so far has been outstanding. As for Kimi, he had a great qualifying yesterday, then maybe he messed up a bit at the start of the race. But afterwards he was able to pass a lot of cars on the track with a fantastic race. Ideally, we would have hoped for two good starts, but we’re happy anyway with this weekend. We came here investing a few tokens on our Power Unit and we’re satisfied with our gain, also in terms of reliability. In the forthcoming races, the gap to our main competitors will depend much on the kind of track. We will keep on working with humility and determination to the end of the season, trying to jump on every opportunity”.
Kimi Raikkonen: “I don’t know exactly what happened at the start. As far as I know I did everything correctly, but the car went into the antistall and did not move at all. I still don’t have the right explanation about what happened, but it’s a really bad thing that cost us a lot today. If you start from second place and after a few seconds you’re in last position it’s not easy to see the positive side of the race: we wasted a big opportunity to fight at the front. The car has been working well all weekend and also in the race the behavior was good. We made the best out of it and in the end I managed to come up fifth. Obviously I’m a bit disappointed, as we were hoping for a better result in our home race in front of all our fans, but if we think that after the first hundred metres we were last it was still a good result. Overall we had a pretty good speed all weekend so in a way we have to be happy for what we have done because here we were expecting more difficulties. Today I was positively surprised that we could get through some cars that are very fast on the straights, this shows that we are doing the right things, pushing the car in the right direction and improving in all areas”.
Sebastian Vettel: “It’s an incredible day, it’s the best second place I ever had in Formula One. Thanks to all the tifosi for giving me those emotions today on the podium: it’s fantastic to see so many fans, feel the support we get as a team. It just makes our lives so much more worth living when you see all the fans coming underneath the podium. In terms of emotions it’s more than a victory. It’s nearly a perfect day: I’m saying nearly because I don’t know what happened to Kimi at the start. It’s a shame because otherwise I believe we could have both cars on the podium today. The speed was there, unfortunately not enough to win, but we’ve tried everything. Monza is known to be a power track and we all know how dominant Mercedes was here last year. I believe the engine guys have done a great job. There are for sure things that we need to improve: we’ll do step by step. Tyres were ok for the whole weekend.”
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WILLIAMS: THE TEAM WERE ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON ALL WEEKEND

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Williams report from the Italian Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship at Monza.

Race Notes:

  • Felipe claimed his second podium of the season in front of a cheering Italian crowd in Monza today.
  • Valtteri finished in fourth, pushing his teammate hard in the final laps.
  • After good starts for both cars they ran third and fourth until Rosberg quicker pitstop allowed him to jump ahead of both cars after the one and only round of stops.
  • Both drivers capitalised on Rosberg stopping on track in the late stages of the race to claim a valuable 27 points for the team.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was a good race for the team. The mandate from the start of the weekend was that we had to have a clean weekend. If there were 15 points on the table, we had to come away with 15 points. The great news is that we’ve taken 27 points and a podium. We’ve moved away from the people behind us in fourth by a good amount, which was the absolute priority. We’ve kept pace with Ferrari, so in championship terms it’s been a good weekend for us. We came out of what was not a particularly good race in Belgium, from both a performance and operational point of view, and we’ve reacted really well. The team were absolutely spot on all weekend which is a great show of the strength and depth we have at Williams now.”

Felipe Massa: “It’s really emotional to have been on the podium. It was a difficult but fantastic race, I didn’t have the best start but I was still able to pass cars so it was good enough. I worked hard to open the gap to Valtteri, but when I pitted early it gave him the advantage on tyres at the end of the race. It was hard to keep him behind as he really wanted it, but I just about managed it. I am delighted for myself and the team, we got a lot of valuable points. It’s special to be up on the podium at Monza again, and I really thank the team for their effort today.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a good result for the team today, good points which is important. My pitstop lost me too much time which was crucial for the second part of the race. I managed to get extremely close in the end but it was too late. As I saved my tyres and brakes I was able to attack in the final laps but we had system issues on the last lap, so we need to investigate what happened because I also lost an opportunity there. It’s a shame for me that I couldn’t be on the podium but it’s still good points for us.”

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RED BULL: THE TEAM WORK AND STRATEGY WERE SOLID

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Red Bull report from the Italian Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship at Monza.
Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a great result for the team considering where we started and the characteristics of this track. It was sweet taking that eighth place on the last lap from Ericsson. I am very happy with the chassis, the car was handling really well, and we were able to fight with a Ferrari and a Mercedes-powered car on a track where we lost out a lot on the straights. It wasn’t an easy weekend for us, but I think the race was positive and the energy in the team is good. I will probably celebrate with one more pizza.”
Daniil Kvyat: “Monza was always going to be a tough weekend for us. Our race wasn’t too bad considering where we started on the track, because of our penalties. I didn’t see much action during the race but it was a positive result to finish in the points, down to good teamwork. We’ll have to come back stronger in Singapore, where the track characteristics should suit us better.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “Considering our starting positions for the race, it was a great job from both drivers today. Ricciardo’s last lap in particular, to take that place from Ericsson, was impressive. The team work and strategy were solid and, given the penalties we faced, getting both cars to finish in the points at this track is a positive result.”
Mattieu Dubois, Renault: “It is nice to see both cars finish in the points with both engines under control after eventful practice sessions. A last second overtake by Daniel was good to watch and double points is as much as we could have expected starting from the back. We came here with reasonably low hopes, wanting to use the power unit changes to cover us for the rest of the season. Let’s hope the penalties we took will serve us well.”
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MCLAREN: IT’S BEEN A STRESSFUL FEW DAYS

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As expected, that was a tough afternoon for McLaren-Honda.
Both drivers made strong starts – Jenson Button jumped five cars on the first lap, and ran as high as ninth in the opening laps. However, he was soon passed by a number of faster cars, eventually settling into 15th position. A late retirement from another car elevated him to 14th at the end.
Fernando Alonso ran the opposite strategy to Jenson, starting on the Prime [tyre] before switching to the Option. He too made a strong start, scrabbling through into 12th, but again was thereafter powerless to avoid slipping down the order.
Just as he was about to begin dicing with Jenson, he suffered an electrical control board issue, which prompted him to box. However, a quick switch-change brought the car back to life, and Fernando drove through without stopping. However, he was forced to stop at the end of the lap.
The whole team is now looking towards the next race in Singapore, which should give our technical package a slightly better opportunity of being more competitive.
Fernando Alonso: “I got a good start today, then a couple of cars made contact at the first corner, which slowed me down. Then, at the second chicane, I came close to Jenson and eventually lost all the advantage I’d gained. Jenson and I were on two different tyre strategies, to try to cover all possible opportunities. I was on the Prime, which was one second slower than the Option, so I had a slower first stint, but then I was a bit quicker in the second. In the final laps, I felt a loss of power and was told to retire the car, so as not to cause further damage. We were outside the points anyway, so it was a wise decision.”
Jenson Button: “I had a good start, and took some cars into Turn One. The whole first lap was good – there were a lot of incidents, and I think I got up into ninth. Then, unfortunately, I just waited for the other cars to come by. It was a bit difficult out there, because the other drivers were overtaking me in places that I didn’t previously think were possible, so I had to look in my mirrors on the entry to every corner. At the end, I missed out on a good race with my team-mate. We’d already had a good little fight for three laps, and there were six to go when he retired. I think it would’ve been a good fight between us – it’s easy for other cars to overtake us, but it’s not easy for us to overtake each other, so it would’ve been quite fun.”
Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda: “We always knew that Monza and Spa-Francorchamps would be among the least well-suited circuits for our car, and so it proved at both venues. Here in Italy, we’ve come away with nothing to show for our efforts, and obviously that’s hard to take for all concerned. It’s been a stressful few days for us – that’s probably been as obvious from the outside as it’s been painful on the inside – but we’ll now return to Woking and Sakura and continue the hard work in an effort to claw our way back to the front. We aren’t predicting great things for the next race, Singapore, but we’re hoping that that street circuit’s characteristics will be slightly kinder to our car than Spa-Francorchamps and Monza have been.”
Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport: “Though expected, it was a very difficult weekend. From free practice to the race, the team worked together to get the cars’ set-up fit for the race, but the assist time from the MGU-K affected the lap times, and could not be improved during the race. Fernando’s car unfortunately had an electrical control board issue, and therefore had to retire. We will need to investigate the reason for this further, but we do not believe there has been any effect on the ERS itself. The next race in Singapore is a street circuit, so the load on the chassis and power unit will be very different from Monza.”
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TORO ROSSO: PACE IN THE RACE WAS VERY PROMISING

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Toro Rosso report from the Italian grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship at Monza.

Carlos Sainz

  • Race: 11th

“I’m pretty happy with today’s race, especially with our pace. We were quick, and towards the end of the race I was getting closer and closer to the ones ahead and, even though I didn’t manage to catch them, it felt good to know that we were faster. It’s a shame we didn’t get that final point that I think we deserved, but the five-second penalty I had to complete at the beginning of the race wasn’t ideal. There are many positives to take from today: we finally finished a race after four retirements in a row, something I really needed, and enjoyed some good fights!”

Max Verstappen

  • Race: 12th

“I couldn’t do much today because the drive-through at the start of the race put me on the back-foot, but I think we can be happy with the car’s pace, it was really good! Hopefully we have more luck in the next qualifying and start higher up on the grid in Singapore. It wasn’t one of the easiest races, but I enjoyed some more good overtaking moves and I’m happy with that. I’m sure that if we hadn’t started from last in the race we would’ve finished in the points today. We can be pleased and I now look forward to Singapore, where I’m sure we will be competitive.”

Franz Tost (Team Principal): “Even before coming here to Monza we knew that we would start from the back of the grid. As we didn’t expect to score points at this track, we thought it wasn’t a bad idea to be penalised for engine changes to prevent any potential issues at circuits that suit our car much better. Unfortunately, Max was also given a drive-through penalty for losing part of the bodywork on track yesterday during qualifying, while Carlos got a five-second penalty in today’s race for cutting the first chicane and gaining an advantage. Nevertheless, the pace in the race was very promising and both drivers did a very good job, as well as the whole team, providing a competitive car for a challenging race. If we could’ve started from higher-up on the grid – something we are generally able to achieve – most likely, we would have scored some good points. We are now looking forward to Singapore, where we expect to be really competitive and start a very positive last part of the season.”

Cedrik Staudohar (Renault Sport F1 track support leader): “We expected a tough weekend because of the calculated engine penalties. The most important thing is both drivers made the most of the situation in the race today. We can be pleased with how the engines behaved in the race, and we know that the car is good. It’s a shame that Carlos had his 5secs penalty early in the race otherwise we could have scored some points. We have to capitalize on the one hand on reliability for the next few races and on the other hand the tracks we know will suit us better.”

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SAUBER: RESULT ENCOURAGES THE WHOLE TEAM

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The European season came to a positive end for the Sauber F1 Team – being able to fight for points and finishing in P9 (Ericsson) and P13 (Nasr) at the Italian Grand Prix.

The Sauber C34-Ferrari were competitive and able to fight against their direct competitors. Marcus Ericsson again put in a strong performance, ending the race in P9 – scoring points for the third time in a row after the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix.

On lap one Felipe Nasr had a right rear puncture after contact with another driver. This incident compromised the entire race for the Brazilian.

Marcus Ericsson

  • Start on soft tyres, after 20 laps change to medium tyres

“I was pleased with my start and first lap. We were expecting to fight against our direct competitors here in Monza. Throughout the race I had a good pace, therefore, I was able to pressure Nico (Hülkenberg) for the whole race distance. Surely it was one of the strongest races so far this year. Obviously it is frustrating having lost a position in the very last corner on the last lap. I pushed my tyres a bit too much trying to overtake Nico (Hülkenberg), so then I was not able to defend against Daniel (Ricciardo). A bitter sweet ending to a strong race.”

Felipe Nasr

  • Start on soft tyres, after 1 and 24 laps change to medium tyres

“I had a great start, and was in the top ten after gaining some positions. After the first chicane I felt I had a puncture on the right rear tyre, so I had to make an early pit stop. It was clear that my race was comprosised from that moment on. It is unfortunate, as the car was competitive enough to finish the race in the points. I tried my best today. It is great that as a team we were able to score points with Marcus. Now I look forward to the Singapore Grand Prix.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “It was an exciting race in which we were able to fight for points. It’s a pity for Felipe. After a very good start, his race was destroyed in the first corner after contact with another driver. Marcus managed to have a good race. Unfortunately in the end we were not able to get even more points. Nevertheless, this result encourages the whole team for the next races – this is also due to the aerodynamic update which will be introduced in Singapore for the upcoming races.”

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MANOR: ALL IN ALL ANOTHER STRONG WEEKEND

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The Manor Marussia F1 Team secured its 8th two-car finish of the 2015 season today as Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi ended the 53-lap Formula 1 Gran Premio D’ Italia 2015 in 15th and 16th positions.
John Booth, Team Principal: “All in all, another strong weekend for our team here in Monza. Our reliability continues to be very encouraging, our pace is improving relative to the cars immediately ahead and both drivers are pushing each other hard. This combination of factors is really allowing us to punch a little above our weight at present and it was good to see Will in particular enjoying a good fight with the cars around him in the opening laps today. A positive note on which to end the European phase of races. Finally, our congratulations to our powertrain partner Scuderia Ferrari on achieving a podium result at their home race.”
Will Stevens: “That was a good race. The car was well-balanced, we had good pace and for the first few laps I could enjoy some proper racing with the cars coming from behind us. Inevitably, things settled down a bit after that but we were able to push hard and maintain the momentum. I was very comfortable this weekend and feel like things are going my way again, so now I’m really looking forward to the long-hauls.”
Roberto Merhi: “It’s been a more difficult weekend for me, so I have to be pleased with what is a good result overall for the team. The last few races have been much better for me, but not everything goes your way all of the time, so I’ll take away the positives and keep pushing for the flyaway rounds, starting with Singapore, which I’m really looking forward to.”
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