Ricciardo fifth behind Mercedes one-two
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo has had his slim chance of winning the Formula One title further dented following a fifth-placed finish at the Italian Grand Prix, with Mercedes completing a dominant one-two finish.
Two weeks after their collision at the Belgian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were on speaking terms again on Sunday, putting on a united front for Mercedes after the team’s seventh one-two triumph of the year.
Ricciardo, who had won the Hungarian and Belgian races but qualified ninth fastest at Monza, moved up four places to finish fifth – one spot ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Williams pair Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished third and fourth respectively.
Ricciardo remains in third spot in the championship on 166 points, but seemingly out of the race for the title behind Hamilton (216 points) and leader Rosberg (238 points) with six races remaining.
Hamilton, aggressive and flawless, drove with great speed and daring to turn a poor start, when he dropped to fourth from pole position, into the 28th win of his career to trim the German’s lead in the title race from 29 points to 22.
Rosberg, who buckled under pressure and locked up twice at the first chicane while leading, ended up 3.1 seconds adrift in second place and, as at Spa-Francorchamps, was booed by some of the crowd during the prize-giving on the podium.
Hamilton reacted by applauding Rosberg and speaking generously for the Mercedes team, which, on Friday, had made clear that their drivers’ jobs were in danger if they allowed their rivalry to spin out of control again.
“Of course, we are still friends,” Hamilton said. “We’re teammates and we always will be…”
The words came easily but did not match the mood after a tense race that saw Hamilton regain some ground and Massa deliver his first podium finish since joining Williams from Ferrari.
Massa came third, 25 seconds adrift of Hamilton, ahead of his Williams teammate Bottas, Ricciardo and his Red Bull teammate four-time champion Vettel.
The top four were all powered by Mercedes engines and Williams’ success, in taking third and fourth, lifted them to third ahead of Ferrari in constructors’ championship.
Hamilton, whose front wing was changed on the grid, was advised by the team to drop back from Rosberg, to avoid losing time in his tow, but instead he pushed.
“They said that I should stay back, but from experience, I knew that wasn’t the way forward, so I chose another route,” he said.
He pushed, applied pressure and, on lap 29, Rosberg cracked and ran straight on at the first chicane.
It was Hamilton’s second win at Monza and his sixth victory of 2014, recharging his momentum for the final six races of the season.
Rosberg was disappointed, but diplomatic.
“Well done guys on a deserved one-two,” he said on the team radio.
“It’s a good result for the team. Sorry to the guys on my side of the garage. It’s a shame.”