Rach F1’s Rachit Thukral dissects the Italian Grand Prix field, separating the top five drivers from the rest of the pack.
5. Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas managed to outqualify both Red Bulls on a day Williams teamate Felipe Massa failed to make it into Q3.
On Sunday, too, he seemed to have an upper hand over the Austrian team until Ricciardo came knocking on the door on a set of supersoft tyres.
Although, Bottas wasn’t too pleased with sixth place, it did allow Williams to reclaim a crucial fourth place in the constructors championship.
4. Lewis Hamilton
There are contrasting reports on Lewis Hamilton’s poor start - making it unclear as to whether it was a driver error or a technical issue that dropped him down from first to sixth place within 200 metres.
His recovery, however, was appreciable, if not spectacular. He quickly dispatched Daniel Ricciardo but spent a long time behind Valtteri Bottas, also hurting his tyres in the process.
A one-stop strategy allowed him to leapfrog both Ferraris, but catching Nico Rosberg was a task too big, following the gap the latter had built in the opening laps.
All in all, he limited the damage enough to retain the lead of the standings with seven rounds still remaining in the season.
3. Jenson Button
Jenson Button made a poor start on the grid, and later slipped down to last place after being hit by a rival car at the second chicane.
What followed was truly impressive, given the limitations of his car/engine. Button did a 23-lap stint on the soft tyres in the middle, allowing the Englishman to put on the supersoft in the end.
As expected, he was flying in the closing stages of the race, picking up teammate Fernando Alonso and finishing around 13 seconds off a points-paying position in 12th.
2. Nico Rosberg
At the start of the race, Nico Rosberg made a better getaway than slow-starting Lewis Hamilton, but came under serious pressure from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Rosberg managed to hold off Vettel in the opening sequence of corners before stretching his advantage to a second by the end of lap 1.
With Hamilton losing time in traffic while recovering positions, Rosberg cruised to the finish line, winning the race by 15 seconds.
Crucially, the victory swung momentum in favour of the German, who now stands only two points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.
1. Daniel Ricciardo
Williams had looked quicker than Red Bull all through practice, but Daniel Ricciardo brought down the deficit to just 0.001s in qualifying.
On race day, Ricciardo extended his first two stints marginally to be able to race the supersoft tyre towards the end. The gamble paid off, allowing him to close the gap to Valtteri Bottas.
The Australian then lunged up the inside of the Bottas at the first chicane in what was regarded as the move of the day. He managed to not only get ahead, but later built a six second gap over the Williams driver.
by Rachit Thukral