It often gets said that you can’t win a race in the first corner, but you can lose it. At Monza Lewis Hamilton lost it before ever making it that far. A disastrous start saw the Mercedes driver drop to sixth as team mate Nico Rosberg led away ahead of the two Ferraris.
Such was the extent of Mercedes’ pace at the Italian GP, both cars started on the Soft compound tyre, having used it to progress through Q2. Both Ferraris needed the SuperSoft to guarantee passage through Q2 and so started the race on the softer of the two compounds. It was this difference that allowed Hamilton to recover with relative ease. As the two Ferrari drivers opted for two stops (for Supersoft followed by softs), Lewis one stopped (from soft to medium) to leap frog both Seb and Kimi.
Rosberg won the Italian Grand Prix from second on the grid using a one-stop strategy – which has been the winning strategy in recent years as well – starting on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre, and then switching to the P Zero medium halfway through the race.
Rosberg and Hamilton were the only two drivers who qualified in the top 10 to start the race on the soft tyre, which gave them the possibility to drive a longer first stint than the supersoft starters.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo tried an alternative two-stop strategy, taking the supersoft tyre at the end of the race in order to attack Williams driver Valtteri Bottas on the soft tyre. It worked to perfection as the Honey Badger executed a supreme overtake down the inside of the Williams man in the first chicane. Another alternative strategy was that of Romain Grosjean: the sole driver to finish the race with a soft-supersoft strategy.
Manor’s Esteban Ocon was the only driver to begin the race on the medium tyre. This meant that for the second race in succession, all three compounds nominated were seen on the starting grid as well as at the finish, having performed perfectly from lights to flag.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Tyre strategy formed a key part of our home race, with an exciting start putting the accent further on tyre tactics. Although Lewis Hamilton lost the advantage of pole position at the start, tyre strategy meant that he was up to second position before the halfway point of the race and was able to retain it. From there on it was a strategic battle for the podium with the two-stopping Ferraris. Before the next grand prix in Singapore, we will be hard at work in Barcelona with Ferrari and Paul Ricard with Mercedes this week as we continue to test the wider 2017 tyres with mule cars.”
Fastest times of the day by compound
|First||HAM 1m26.303s||RAI 1m26.016s||ALO 1m25.340s|
|Second||ROS 1m26.599s||VET 1m26.310s||RIC 1m25.919s|
|Third||ERI 1m28.552s||VER 1m26.405s||BUT 1m26.345s|
Longest stint of the race:
Truthometer: We predicted that two-stops was the theoretically fastest solution (adopted by Ferrari) but Mercedes was able to turn a one-stopper – the second-fastest solution on paper – into a winning strategy. Rosberg followed the one-stop format we expected, starting on soft and switching to medium on lap 24.