It sure looked like Lewis Hamilton had won his third Monza, and added a 6th victory for 2015. But wait! Race stewards are conducting an investigation! Is the race not over?
UPDATE: Stewards let Hamilton keep title, tire pressure no big deal…
Not so fast with the trophy, Lewis, the race stewards would like to discuss tire pressure with you and your mates.
It sounds like Formula 1 might be facing its own Deflategate just like the NFL’s Tom Brady went through. Until recently overturned by a judge, Brady was to be suspended the first four games of this coming season for his complicity in having the air pressure in the footballs reduced for ease of passing.
Coincidentally… the UK Telegraph reports “Illegal tyre pressure is thought to be the reason behind Hamilton’s investigation. Mercedes say they’ve been summoned by race stewards to find out more.”
UPDATE at 9:00 am US Pacific: Race stewards conclude they’re ok with tire pressure difference, and Hamilton wins and gets all those points for winning.
There’s more intrigue to this race. Guess whose engine flamed out on lap 51? That of Nico Rosberg. The very same Nico Rosberg who complained about the engine in qualifying and drew a sharp rebuke from Mercedes headman Niki Lauda. Lauda responded that the problem was with Nico’s slow driving method at Monza rather than a deficiency in the engine.
Rosberg engine in fumes after he had to leave the track on 51st lap.
… and then the engine explodes during the race. Both Mercedes racers had been fitted with a new updated engine during qualifying. But Nico’s developed contamination issue, and he had to return to the earlier version… which apparently gave him the willies.
Toward the end of the race, the Mercedes team had been urging a confused Hamilton to pour it on in anticipation of a time penalty due to the errant tire pressure. Hamilton had been expecting to cruise the final laps because of his own reliability concerns about the upgraded engine they had left installed in his car.
Without confiding in him as to why, Mercedes were trying to get Hamilton to build a lead of more than 25 seconds in case of a penalty for the tire pressure, which was 0.3psi lower than the minimum amount specified by Pirelli on safety grounds. Sho’ nuff, he crossed the finish line exactly 25 seconds ahead of 2nd place Sebastian Vettel.