Italian GP: Race notes - Mercedes


Nico Rosberg today took his 21st career victory - his 1st at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza and 7th of the 2016 season so far. Lewis completed a 4th Silver Arrows 1-2 of the season in P2. Lewis Hamilton (250) leads the Drivers' Championship by 2 points from Nico Rosberg (148) in P2.

Nico Rosberg: It means so much to me to win here at Monza. The crowd were unbelievable over the entire weekend and especially during the podium ceremony. This win is incredibly special for me and standing up there and singing with thousands of people gave me goosebumps. The race went perfectly for me and after a good start I was able manage the gap between myself and the car behind. Our car has been amazing this weekend and I extend a massive thank you to the whole team. I'm looking forward to Singapore, which was our weakest race last year. Hopefully we've learnt lessons from 2015 and we'll come back even stronger!

Lewis Hamilton: It's tough to take when you lose a race because of such a poor start. From there it was just about managing the tyres during the first stint and I was delighted to get back up to second after the first stop. I kept pushing as hard as I could and came within 15 seconds of Nico when we crossed the line. I'm happy with my performance this weekend but after such an incredible qualifying day yesterday it was disappointing to be unable to capitalise. I'm sure we'll work on what happened at the start between now and Singapore.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: First of all, a pretty perfect afternoon for the team in terms of the end result, with a 1-2 finish in front of an amazing Monza crowd this afternoon. The decisive moment was clearly the start: as Lewis dropped back to P6, Nico was able to take the lead and that set the pattern for their races. Nico did everything he needed to in just the right way: he managed the pace, kept the tyres in great shape and delivered a perfect one-stop race. As for Lewis, it was a balancing act for him as soon as he went into recovery mode: he needed to make the stint lengths in order to stay on the one-stop strategy but also fight his way back through. He judged it to perfection and limited the damage in terms of the points situation. As for the start, we obviously changed the rules this year in order to make the process more manual and more variable, and we are seeing that play out. When you start from the front row, poor starts are more visible and good ones not so obvious, so we need to be careful jumping to conclusions. Lewis said on the radio that it was his fault but he also followed all his procedures in a good way - it's simply not an easy thing to get right and there are a lot of different factors at play. But there is no blame game: we will come together, analyse everything, learn our lessons and keep on improving so we don't find ourselves losing places off the line. But looking at the big picture, we have a perfectly balanced championship battle, with two points between Nico and Lewis after 14 races. The pendulum will keep swinging back and forth to the end of the season, I am sure; it will give us some more grey hairs but I think it will be a great fight for the fans to watch.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): Congratulations to Nico on his first win here at the Italian Grand Prix. It's an incredible experience to win here, at one of the most iconic venues on the Formula 1 calendar, and the crowd always comes out in force. It was a very controlled drive from Nico as it was difficult to manage the one-stop strategy and make the two tyre sets hold out for the necessary number of laps. For Lewis, the start was clearly a bad one as he went from 1st to 6th before the first corner and that made it extremely difficult for him to compete for the win. He completed a perfect recovery drive to get back to 2nd though and, with his fighting spirit, he didn't give up on the win until it was clearly impossible. Clearly we need to analyse what happened to Lewis at the start and do better next time. After such a great qualifying lap yesterday we all share Lewis' disappointment that he lost position. It's fantastic to get the 1-2 here today and it's been a sensational performance all weekend from the drivers, race team and the team back at Brackley and Brixworth.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Monza, here.

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Published: 04/09/2016
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