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“If you have God on your side, everything becomes clear.” (Ayrton Senna)

Hamilton ‘gets’ the title and Rosberg blows it

Hamilton ‘gets’ the title and Rosberg blows it

Poleman Hamilton led away as fellow front-row starter Raikkonen failed to get away cleanly from the startline in his Ferrari, stuttering away and dropping to last by the first corner.

Vettel looked to outside of Hamilton at the first chicane, but quickly tucked in behind, with the Williams duo of Massa and Bottas running third and fourth.

Rosberg made a poor start from fourth – losing time as he was forced to swerve past Raikkonen – and briefly dropped to sixth, behind Perez, but passed the Mexican at Rettifilo at the start of lap two.

Hamilton was leading by 1.5s from Vettel by that point, and extended his advantage over the opening laps. He was almost 6s clear by lap 10 and 11.8s ahead by lap 20.

Fifth-placed Rosberg, who only just made the grid after a pre-race hydraulic leak, was complaining about his overtake button not working as he sat in DRS range of Bottas. He was then warned about high front-brake wear, and dropped back from him.

Rosberg began to again Bottas again, trying a half-hearted lunge at Rettifilo on lap 14, but then had to cool his car again, ducking out of Bottas’s slipstream and dropping back.

Rosberg was the first frontrunner to pit at the end of lap 18 as he attempted to undercut the Williams duo ahead. Fourth-placed Massa reacted a lap later, but even though he did the stop wasn’t quick enough to stay ahead of Rosberg.

Bottas stayed out on his softs until lap 23, rejoining well behind Rosberg and Massa.

Rosberg was making rapid progress at this point, lapping 1.2s faster than Vettel in second.

Vettel pitted on lap 25, just as Rosberg set the fastest lap of the race. Hamilton pitted a lap later, rejoining 18.5s clear of Vettel.

Although there was a late scare when he was told to push hard in the closing stages, Hamilton was never challenged.

“Those last few laps were not cool,” complained Hamilton on his slowing down lap.

Raikkonen had recovered to third after running long on his softs, managing to hold up Rosberg at the end of his stint, as Rosberg passed him with DRS on lap 28. He was 5s behind Vettel and chipped away in the closing stages.

Rosberg got to within 1.2s when his car expired in flames at Roggia on the penultimate lap. His retirement puts him 53 points behind Hamilton.

That promoted the duelling Williams of Massa and Bottas to third and fourth, who were just three-tenths of a second apart at the finish. “I’m too old for that!” quipped Massa.

Raikkonen’s comeback was almost ended by Roberto Merhi’s Manor as Kimi entered the pits overcautiously on lap 29. He rejoined in 10th, behind Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson after staying out way too long on his softs – having previously passed him on lap 20 at Rettifilo.

Kimi repassed Ericsson at Ascari on lap 32 and then set his sights on Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who had complained of a strange noise from his exhaust from the early going.

Raikkonen nailed Hulkenberg for seventh with a DRS pass into Rettifilo and then passed the second Force India of Sergio Perez for sixth with a tidy move around the outside of Rettifilo.

Hulkenberg was struggling with traction in the closing stages, but clung to seventh ahead of a charging Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. Ericsson and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10.

The recovering Raikkonen had earlier tripped over Carlos Sainz Jr at the Roggia chicane, forcing him to go down the escape road, but he recovered into the top 10 by passing him at Rettifilo on lap six. He then passed Jenson Button into Ascari.

Sainz and Button then banged wheels at Roggia, to Jenson’s chagrin, with Ricciardo benefitting at the Lesmos and Kvyat further demoting Button at Rettifilo on lap eight.

Sainz was given a 5s penalty for leaving the track and taking an advantage, which he took immediately during his pitstop at the start of lap 11.

Max Verstappen – who started last and took a drive-through penalty for his unsafe release in Q1 yesterday – and Button had a great fight over 12th on lap 17, with the Dutch teenager getting ahead of the 2009 world champion at the Parabolica, but having to fight the veteran off at Rettifilo to keep the place.

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr pitted on lap one after a touch at the first corner with Romain Grosjean.

Pastor Maldonado went out on lap one with a broken floor after being forced to run over the kerbs at the first corner, with Grosjean out on lap two with suspected broken suspension from his collision. “I had a good start until somebody hit me from behind,” he said.

Fernando Alonso was a late retirement, just as he caught teammate Jenson Button.

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18:00.688 53
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0:25.042 53
3 Felipe Massa Williams +0:47.635 53
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams +0:47.996 53
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari +1:08.860 53
6 Sergio Perez Force India +1:12.783 53
7 Nico Hülkenberg Force India +1 Lap 52
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +1 Lap 52
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber +1 Lap 52
10 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull +1 Lap 52
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso +1 Lap 52
12 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso +1 Lap 52
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber +1 Lap 52
14 Jenson Button McLaren +1 Lap 52
15 Will Stevens Manor +2 Laps 51
16 Roberto Merhi Manor +2 Laps 51
17 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +3 Laps 50
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren +6 Laps
19 Pastor Maldonado Lotus
20 Romain Grosjean Lotus


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