Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton wins thrilling Italian Grand Prix at Monza

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Lewis Hamilton recovered from an uncharacteristically poor start to claim victory at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, cutting Nico Rosberg's championship lead down to 22 points.  

Rosberg's mistake, going straight on at the first chicane, allowed Hamilton to retake control of the race on lap 29 and from then on he secured maximum points with relative comfort.

Sluggish start

Hamilton's sluggish start dropped him down to fourth from pole as Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Massa took advantage to go second and third behind Rosberg. There was a strong start for Sebastian Vettel from eighth to fifth, while Williams driver Valtteri Bottas slipped way back from third.

But Hamilton wasted no time and his recovery was instigated on lap five as both he and Massa passed Magnussen. Five laps later, Hamilton made his move on Massa, taking the place at the first chicane with a pass of great control.

Up to this point, Rosberg had been free out at the front relatively untroubled, though one mistake did lead to him missing the chicane at the end of the pit straight. This allowed Hamilton to close the gap just before the pit stops.

Rosberg mistake

Rosberg took his stop on lap 25 as Hamilton looked for the undercut, but was just denied. However, coming out on fresher tyres he took the race to Rosberg, applying real pressure. Rosberg was aware of Hamilton's pursuit and was pressured into a mistake, going straight over at the chicane for the second time in the race.

As the German winded through the barriers, he handed the initiative and the race lead to Hamilton, who never looked like relinquishing that position as he charged away.

Meanwhile, Bottas came back through the pack nicely, with some strong overtakes. The Finn dropped back again slightly after the pit stops, but fought his way past to claim fourth place. Teammate Massa enjoyed his first podium of the season coming home in third after a consistent race.

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Third and fourth for Williams takes them above Ferrari in the constructors' championship, as Fernando Alonso retired for the first time this season. In the other intriguing team battle, Force India and McLaren men Sergio Perez and Jenson Button endured a fantastic few laps of racing as they exchanged positions. Perez eventually came out on top against his former teammate to take seventh. Button settled for eighth. 

Daniel Ricciardo got the better of Sebastian Vettel yet again. Starting from ninth, the Aussie had a quiet race until late on where he showed unbelievable skill to overtake Magnussen and Vettel on lap 48, using the fresher tyres he had on. He finished in fifth ahead of his German teammate. 

There was a late incident for Daniil Kvyat as he flew across the first chicane after a break failure, depriving him of a point. That went to Magnussen, despite a penalty for forcing Bottas off the track.

Psychological victory?

But in the race for the championship, Hamilton will certainly feel a huge psychological advantage after a brilliant recovery in Monza.

He was simply too quick for Rosberg in Italy. As they head to Singapore next, with six races to go, Hamilton will be feeling a lot more positive about claiming a second world championship.

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