Hamilton fastest in push for points
Though Hamilton was unable to close the gap, his superb performance in the Grand Prix’s closing laps did not go unrewarded. The 2008 world champion pushed himself into the points and earned the DHL Fastest Lap of the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA 2013.
“He was the man on a charge to actually improve his position so the team allowed him to keep on pushing it at the very end of the race – and this is why he set fastest lap,” said DHL’s Formula 1 Expert and former F1 driver, Christian Danner, after the race. “And he did it in style – he was a lot faster than the second fastest lap of the race.”
One pit, two pit
One-pit strategies are the norm at Monza. With an average lap speed of over 250 km/h, it is the fastest circuit in Formula 1. And with few fast corners the track is not particularly hard on the tires, making it easier to manage than most from a strategic point of view. This year’s reduced pit lane speed limit of 80 km/h encouraged even more teams to stop only once.
Hamilton ended Saturday’s qualifying in disappointing P12, which meant that he had his work cut out for him on Sunday. That would prove, however, not to be his only setback: a slow puncture early in the race caused Team Mercedes to switch to a two-pit strategy.
Fresh tires, Fastest Lap
Though not an ideal situation, the improvised strategy made Hamilton one of the few drivers on fresh medium tires at the end of the race in a car that had been demonstrating good speed all day. The Brit wasted no time, racing a fastest lap out of the pit lane and proceeding to knock off five drivers in ten laps, notching up the day’s Fastest Lap as he passed fellow countrymen and McLaren driver Jenson Button.
With by far the fastest pace on the track in the closing moments, Hamilton closed on the battle for seventh between Ricciardo and Grosjean in the final lap, attempting a passing maneuver at the Roggia chicane. This last chance unfortunately saw him run wide and he was forced to surrender the position and cross the finish as the third man in the trio.
It was a fine display that left the silver arrow driver with a little bragging rights on an otherwise disappointing day for Team Mercedes. Although Hamilton moved into third place on the driver standings, finds himself a nearly insurmountable 81 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel of team Red Bull Racing.
Hamilton now joins six other drivers on the DHL Fastest Lap table. Topping the table are the two Red Bull drivers, who are fighting it out between them.
Vettel wins, Alonso chases
Vettel scored his third Italian Grand Prix and sixth checkered flag of the 2013 season, extending his lead in the drivers’ championship to 222 points. Although Alonso quickly moved from P5 to P2 early in the race, the Spaniard was unable to match the German’s pace, finishing second and remaining in second overall. Overcoming his 53-point deficit will taking nothing short of a streak of luck – or one of misfortune for Vettel, depending on how you see it. Hamilton’s meager two points put him into third place as Lotus-Renault driver Kim Räikkönen’s pointless finish puts an end to his championship hopes.