Sir Lewis Hamilton had a very strong Italian Grand Prix, given the fact that he started the race at the ‘Temple of Speed’ in P19.
The seven-time World Champion found the going tough early on whilst driving with a heavy fuel load and cold tyres; however, as soon as his tyres were fully up to temperature the Mercedes driver began to make his way through the midfield.
The British driver opted for a long first stint on the Medium tyres, before a final stint on the Softs.
The strategy worked perfectly for Hamilton, who managed to work his way up to fifth by the end of the somewhat boring race.
The 37-year-old pulled off an excellent double overtake on Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris on his second lap on the Softs, where he drove around the outside of the pair on the exit of Turn 2.
Hamilton looked unlikely to finish any higher than sixth, but a late stop by Sergio Pérez elevated the Brit into the top five.
Hamilton may have come under pressure from the Mexican in the final few laps, had the race not ended behind the Safety Car.
2021 Italian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo continued the Monza curse, where the last three winners of the historic race have failed to finish the following year.
Ricciardo pulled off the circuit with just a handful of laps remaining between the two Lesmos; however, his car couldn’t be recovered quickly due to it being stuck in gear.
The race was therefore finished behind a Safety Car, to the anger and frustration of both the fans and the teams.
In the race director’s defence, the rules were followed exactly by the book.
What happened at Monza is exactly what should’ve happened at the 2021 season finale at Abu Dhabi, where Hamilton should’ve claimed an eighth World Championship.
As is well documented, race director at the time Michael Masi, failed to follow the rulebook, and insisted on a final lap of racing.
If the rules were followed as they should’ve been in Abu Dhabi, then the race should’ve finished behind the Safety Car as it was at Monza on Sunday.
Hamilton was asked by Sky how he felt about the last few laps at Monza, given how similar it was to the 2021 season finale that still hurts him so badly.
The Brit revealed that it brought “memories back” of his agonising defeat.
“That is the rules, how it should be, right?” Hamilton questioned.
“There’s only one time in the history of the sport that they haven’t done the rules like that today and that’s the one where it changed the result of the championship. But it is what it is.”
The debate has now begun as to whether a red flag should be used in this sort of situation going forward, to enable the track to be cleared safely and so that racing can finish under a green flag.