Lewis Hamilton has been confirmed as the winner of the Italian Grand Prix after an investigation into a tyre pressure breach. Hamilton’s Mercedes team were called to see the race stewards immediately after the Briton romped to victory in Monza.
But after a near two-hour investigation, they reached a verdict to allow Hamilton to keep his victory.
It means Hamilton will head to the Singapore Grand Prix with a 53-point lead over Nico Rosberg, who retired with an engine problem.
As Hamilton celebrated on the podium, his emphatic victory was cast in doubt after Mercedes were called to see the race stewards. A technical delegate report issued by the FIA, the sport’s governing body, claimed Hamilton’s left-hand side rear tyre was “0.3 psi below the minimum tyre starting pressure”.
Rosberg, who retired with only two laps remaining, was also under investigation.
The FIA’s statement read: “Having heard from the technical delegate, the team representatives and the Pirelli team tyre engineer, the stewards have determined that the pressure in the tyres concerned were at the minimum start pressure recommended by Pirelli when they were fitted to the car.
“In making this determination regarding the pressures, the stewards noted that the tyre warming blankets had been disconnected from their power source as it is normal procedure and the tyres were significantly below the maximum permitted tyre blanket temperature at the time of the FIA’s measurement on the grid, and at significantly different temperatures from other cars measured on the grid.
“Further, the stewards are satisfied that the team followed the currently specified procedures, supervised by the tyre manufacturer for the safe operation of the tyres. Nevertheless, the stewards recommend that the tyre manufacturer and the FIA hold further meetings to provide clear guidance to the teams on measurement protocols.”
Hamilton was urged by his team to post a number of quick laps in the final stages of the race. “We will explain later,” his race engineer Peter Bonnington said, with Mercedes seemingly fearing a post-race penalty. He crossed the line 25 seconds clear of Sebastian Vettel.
But the stewards’ verdict in favour of Hamilton capped a perfect weekend for the Briton. Indeed, he is unlikely to have sampled one as dominant as this before.
He headed into yesterday’s race having topped every practice and qualifying session. He followed that up with a lights-to-flag victory and posted the fastest lap, too.
“It has been a perfect weekend for me,” said Hamilton, who claimed his 40th career win, just one shy of Ayrton Senna’s tally. “I don’t know if I have had a weekend like this. When you stand on top of that podium you feel incredible pride to be amongst the greats that have stood up there.
“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 historic Monza venue, which faces Formula 1 extinction beyond 2016 if a new agreement is not reached, is known as the temple of speed but, for Rosberg, it was more the temple of doom.
The German, who had already reverted to an inferior Mercedes engine after his packed up in practice on Saturday morning, started from only fourth on the grid. After Kimi Raikkonen’s anti-stall appeared to kick in off the start-line and he failed to get away, Rosberg, who had to take evasive action, was promptly gobbled up by the Williams duo of Massa, Valtteri Bottas and Force India’s Sergio Perez to leave him in sixth.
Rosberg clawed his way back into third and was within two seconds of Vettel on his Ferrari debut in Italy when his engine packed up. “To have it explode two laps to the end was unbelievable,” he said.
Massa held off Bottas to take the final spot on the podium. Raikkonen battled back to finish in fifth with the Force India duo of Perez and Nico Hulkenberg next. Daniel Ricciardo was eighth for Red Bull with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson in ninth and Daniil Kvyat claiming the final point. Jenson Button finished 14th following another weekend to forget for McLaren.