Saturday 24 March 2018

Hamilton on fast track to third title after stewards let-off

Lewis Hamilton proving to be unstoppable
Lewis Hamilton proving to be unstoppable

Daniel Johnson At Monza

Nothing can stop Lewis Hamilton. Stewards' investigations, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel: none of them seems able to derail the Englishman's remorseless pursuit of a third world championship - and greatness.

Hamilton survived an almighty scare here, his seventh victory of the season only confirmed two-and-a-half hours after taking the chequered flag due to suspicions that Mercedes were running illegal tyre pressures.

And if his afternoon in Monza could not get any better, Rosberg, his principal challenger for the drivers' title, saw his engine blow up two laps from the end, gifting Hamilton a 53-point lead.

Even if he would not say so, Hamilton (30) surely could hardly have believed his luck.

It is a deficit practically no one other than the man himself believes Rosberg will eliminate, barring some sort of divine intervention.

Even the gods dare not disrupt Hamilton at the moment, a man walking on air, walking on water, and most pertinently walking all over the opposition.


However, Hamilton was almost disqualified for a rule which had until now not existed. He could have been guilty of a crime only invented just before the race but the whole farrago had the sport in a frenzy for a few hours.

Only in Formula One can the determination of the race result be more interesting than the race itself.

For the first time anyone can remember, the FIA decided to measure tyre pressures on the grid. Teams must not run below a minimum, both for safety reasons - the blowouts from Spa-Francorchamps were fresh in the mind - and so as not to gain a competitive advantage.

In the stewards' readings, both Hamilton's and Rosberg's cars were found to be below the limit.

Fifteen minutes from the end of an otherwise soporific Italian GP, dominated by Hamilton from start to finish, Mercedes were informed that they might be in breach. Fearing a time penalty, the team told a bewildered Hamilton to extend his massive lead further still. He obliged, but it still gave him a fright.

With the result in doubt, many in the paddock believed it was a cut and dry, but at 17:48, the stewards delivered their verdict.

The FIA found that the tyre pressures were legal when the cars left the garage, but due to the tyre blankets being off while they sat on the grid, the temperatures fell, and the pressures did with it.

It makes you wonder why they bothered measuring them five minutes before the start in the first place.

Fortune and sense went Hamilton's way.(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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