Lewis Hamilton may have blitzed qualifying, but in the race at Spa there was nothing to separate him and title rival Sebastian Vettel, who ran nose to tail for most of the race. “He was waiting for me to make a mistake,” said Hamilton, “and I never did”. But crucially, neither did his Silver Arrows crew. Under pressure to keep their man in charge, Mercedes changed the Briton’s tyres in a race-best 2.35s – 0.15s quicker than Ferrari’s fastest change on Vettel’s car. In a tightly contested race, details like that matter.
The Silver Arrows pit crew were in top form again in Italy, with the team mirroring their one-two on track with another in the pit stop stakes. The upshot? Like Lewis Hamilton they've turned a (substantial) points deficit before the summer break into a points advantage, helped by the fact that long-time leaders and reigning champions Williams failed to register a top-ten time for just the second race this year. Haas were the other team to gain big ground in the standings, with the American team underlining their growing pit stop strength as they bagged two spots in the top ten for the second race in a row to move within 17 points of Force India for sixth.