Hamilton takes advantage of Pirelli durability at Monza
Lewis Hamilton recorded McLaren’s third consecutive win this year at the Italian Grand Prix, adopting a one-stop strategy to claim victory from Sauber’s Sergio Perez, who started from 12th on the grid, and used a different one-stop strategy to dazzling effect. Pirelli’s P Zero Silver hard tyre and P Zero White medium were the compounds available at Monza, and the two hardest tyres in the Formula One range showed good performance and durability. Hamilton ran 30 laps on the hard tyre at the end of the race, while the speed of the medium tyre – which Perez used for his 24-lap final stint – enabled him to lap more than two seconds faster than his closest rivals at one point.
The race started in dry and warm conditions, with 39 degrees of track temperature and 27 degrees ambient: slightly hotter than it had been on Friday and Saturday. The top 10 on the grid all qualified on the medium tyre, with the highest-placed driver to start on the hard tyre being Perez from 12th. Jerome d’Ambrosio (Lotus), Pastor Maldonado (Williams), and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) – who had to start from last on the grid – were the only other drivers to start the 53-lap race on the Silver hard tyre.
By lap 18 Perez was up to sixth and by lap 25 he took the lead, before stopping to change to the medium tyre on lap 29. He passed Alonso for second place on lap 46 to repeat his best-ever career result from Malaysia: the last race when the hard and medium P Zero tyres were nominated, at the start of the year.
Hamilton, who won by four seconds, stopped once on lap 23, moving from the medium to the hard tyre and handing the lead to Perez – retaking it once the Sauber driver had made his pit stop. Ferrari also made a one-stop strategy work effectively, with Fernando Alonso completing a long 33-lap final stint on the hard tyre and eventually taking third place, having started from 10th on the grid.
The highest-placed driver to use a two-stop strategy was Michael Schumacher, who finished sixth, ahead of his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg on the same strategy: an opening stint on the medium compound followed by two stints on the hard compound. Rosberg also set the fastest lap of the race on the hard tyre.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “We witnessed performance and durability from both the P Zero tyres today: performance from the explosive drive by Sergio Perez and Sauber on the medium compound, and durability from the long runs we saw on the hard tyre from all the frontrunners, with the top five stopping only once on the fastest circuit of the year.
Going into the race, the teams had to be quite flexible in their approach in order to decide between a one-stop and a two-stop strategy. Although tyre degradation is low in Monza there are some places like Parabolica that put a lot of energy through the front tyres in particular. Once more McLaren did an excellent job but we also saw very good tyre management from Ferrari – with Alonso making up eight places – and Perez, who demonstrated once more Sauber’s ability to get the very best out of their tyres. And we’d like to thank all the Italian fans here, whose passion and enthusiasm has made this race unique. We really appreciate the support and welcome we have been given and we all feel proud to call this our home Grand Prix.”