Lewis Hamilton ignored off-track distractions concerning his future to win his third race of the season in a thrilling Italian Grand Prix at Monza. There were strong drives all the way through the field so who was your Driver of the Day?
Arrived in Monza amid speculation he was to leave McLaren for Mercedes next season, but showed no signs of it distracting him as he set the pace in second practice on Friday, heading a McLaren 1-2. Looked comfortable with the car in final practice but struggled to keep pace with Fernando Alonso in Q1 and Q2. Hooked together a solid lap in Q3 as Alonso suffered a mechanical problem to take his 23rd career pole. Made a textbook getaway at the start to lead into the first corner and benefited from Felipe Massa leapfrogging team-mate Jenson Button into second. Controlled the race at the front, and stopped just once, to take his third win of the season and move from fifth to second in the drivers’ standings, 37 points behind championship leader Alonso.
Failed to replicate the pace Sauber showed in Belgium Grand Prix qualifying at Monza a week later and ended up 12th on the grid. The result worked in the Mexican’s favour as by missing out on the top 10 shoot-out, he could adapt his strategy for the race. Decided to start on the harder compound tyre, while all around him chose the option, which allowed him to go deep into the race before stopping. Pitted from the lead of the race and rejoined eighth before utilising the fresher option tyres, on a lighter fuel load, to climb through the field. Overtook the likes of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso on his way to second – his third podium finish of the season.
Looked strong in Friday practice in front of his home fan and proved for the first time this season that the Ferrari has single lap pace in the dry by finishing quickest in both Q1 and Q2. A broken anti-roll bar in Q3 ended his hopes of getting pole and he qualified 10th. The Spaniard made up five places in the first seven laps to run fifth early on. Was forced off the track by Sebastian Vettel who received a penalty for the move but recovered to later pass the German. Rose to second, but was overtaken by Perez late on and settled for third to increase his championship lead.
Was within a tenth of team-mate Fernando Alonso in Friday practice and then delivered his best qualifying of the season to out-qualify Alonso for the first time and start third. Made an electric start to pass Button off the line and tried a move around the outside of Hamilton into Turn One before backing off. Ran second after the pit stops despite losing all his car’s telemetry but dropped off the pace as his tyres began to suffer severe degradations. Finished fourth to equal his best finish of the season but missed out on his first podium since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.
Showed good long-run pace in Friday practice but lacked the straight-line speed to challenge for the top grid places on Saturday and qualified seventh. Struggled to make progress in the race and actually started to drop down the field. However, a bold decision to run a one-stop strategy, coupled with several retirements, helped the Finn finish fifth. Now scored points in all but one race this season and his result at Monza has lifted him up to third in the drivers’ standings, one point behind Hamilton and 38 behind Alonso.
Used the Mercedes good straight-line speed to his advantage to top the times in first practice before a DRS issue slowed his progress in the second session. A Kers issue hampered his programme in third practice, but he delivered a stunning lap in qualifying to finish fifth fastest – three tenths quicker than team-mate Rosberg. Started fourth after Di Resta’s penalty but struggled on his first set of tyres. Forced to do lots of overtaking because of a two-stop strategy, but showed glimpses of his former self as he battled through the field to finish sixth, closing to within 0.3 seconds of Raikkonen at the finish.