Lewis Hamilton’s 40th career victory in the Italian Grand Prix has been confirmed after stewards decided to take no further action over claims that his Mercedes car was running on tyres that infringed the regulations.
In a statement issued more than two hours after Sunday’s race, the stewards said that they had determined the pressure in the tyres concerned were at the minimum start pressure recommended by Pirelli – when they were fitted to the car.
This fact and the team’s adherence to safety procedures was sufficient evidence of Mercedes’ good intent to sway the decision in their favour.
It was claimed earlier in a report by the sport’s technical delegate Jo Bauer that the left rear tyres on the Mercedes cars of both defending double world champion Briton Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate German Nico Rosberg were ‘below the specified minimum tyre starting pressure’ when checked on the grid before the race.
This, said members of rival teams, was enough to represent a clear breach of the sport’s strict technical regulations and should have resulted in automatic exclusion.
But after more than two hours of deliberations, during which the stewards talked to the technical delegate and representatives of both Mercedes and Pirelli, they took into consideration that Mercedes’ tyre warming blankets had been disconnected from their power source and that their tyres were “significantly below” the maximum permitted tyre blanket temperature when measured on the grid.
In addition, said the statement, “the stewards are satisfied that the team followed the currently specified procedure supervised by the tyre manufacturer for the safe operation of the tyres”.
It ended by adding that the stewards recommended that the tyre manufacturer and the FIA hold further meetings to provide clear guidance to the teams on measurement protocols.
As nearest rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg retired with a blown engine with two laps to go, Hamilton took full advantage after leading from pole position to the chequered flag.
His points advantage, with seven ‘flyaway’ races remaining after the last European race of the season, makes him a clear favourite to defend his crown and claim his third world title.
The newly-blond defending two-time world champion came home 25 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari with former local hero Felipe Massa finishing third for Williams, repeating his podium of last year. Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull finished eighth.