WORLD championship hopeful Lewis Hamilton has vowed to keep piling the pressure on title rival Nico Rosberg after cutting his team-mate’s lead with a dazzling victory at yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton suffered a nightmare start but relentlessly pursued Rosberg until the German made a mistake, then overtook him to move to within 22 points in the drivers’ standings with six races left.
It was the first grand prix since Rosberg heightened tensions with Hamilton by crashing into him in Belgium, and the Briton believes his foe is showing signs of cracking under the strain.
“I knew that was the best time to put pressure on him. I did it a couple of races ago and he doesn’t seem to like it, so I’ll try it a bit more,” said Hamilton, who ignored team advice to delay his attack.
“It’s advice, not ‘you have to do this’. They give me a bit of information and I decide how to use that. I felt I had the pace at the time so I felt I had to use it now.”
Felipe Massa was third in his first podium finish of the season, with Williams colleague Valtteri Bottas fourth, followed by the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and current champion Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton’s sixth win of the season – and a seventh Mercedes one-two of 2014 – looked in doubt when a technical fault hampered his start and saw him drop from pole to fourth.
“It’s a terrible feeling to lose the lead like that but Lewis was really quick the whole race,” Rosberg said. “He came like a rocket and I had to push and I made the mistake.”
1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 238
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 216
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 166
4. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 122
5. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 121
6. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 106
7. Jenson Button (McLaren) 72
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 70
9. Felipe Massa (Williams) 55
10. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 41