After the excitement of qualifying, the Italian Grand Prix promised much as many anticipated a thrilling fight between the two AMG Mercedes team mates for victory. After the Belgian GP debacle between the two, many were hoping they would be able to race fairly this time around to the finish. The bright sunshine and passionately full crowd showed why the Italian Grand Prix is always a highlight of the F1 calendar, with Monza providing an historic challenge to the current racers. From the start it was second man Nico Rosberg who shot into an early lead, as an unidentified launch software problem meant Lewis Hamilton bogged down from pole, and dropped to 4th by the first corner behind Rosberg, McLaren's fast starting rookie Kevin Magnussen and the Williams of Felipe Massa. Hamilton made light work of first Magnussen and then Massa at Turn 1 as he moved up to 2nd by lap 7, and soon began closing the lead Rosberg had quickly built up. The pressure seemed to be showing from Rosberg, as he made a mistake early on and straight lined the first corner, losing several seconds to Hamilton. The man on the move early on was Valtteri Bottas in the Williams as he recovered from a very poor start to recover from 9th to 4th by lap 21. It was around this time of the race that 5th man Sebastien Vettel started the pit sequence when he pitted early on for the only time on lap 19. The intention was to gain track position using the undercut with fresh hard tyres, although this would leave him venerable in the closing stages with more worn tyres. From here those around him were forced to respond in the ensuing laps, with the end result being a train of cars behind Vettel encompassing the two McLaren's of Magnussen and Jenson Button, local favourite Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari and the Sahara-Force India of Sergio Perez. Felipe Massa was the first of the top 4 to pit on lap 23, safely re-joining 5th, as leader Rosberg pitted on lap 25, conceding the lead briefly to title rival Hamilton. Hamilton's lead only lasted a lap before he also pitted and gave back the lead to Rosberg. The charging Bottas also pitted around this time, although his strategy was compromised as he re-joined right in the middle of the developing battle for 5th. Back at the front Hamilton was going against the team's suggestion to wait until the final laps before attacking and began rapidly closing the gap to Rosberg. Once again the pressure seemed to be getting to Rosberg as once again he straight lined the first chicane on lap 29, although this time the consequences were much worse for him as he watched Hamilton breeze past him and into a lead of several seconds. From here the gap quickly spiked from several seconds to 4.4 seconds as Hamilton solidified his lead, meanwhile behind them two separate battles were developing in the lower top 10 as Bottas began seriously challenging Magnussen for 6th and right behind them Magnussen's team mate Button was also challenging Perez for 8th. After a close move that very nearly worked for Bottas into Turn 1 on lap 33, he finally made a move on Magnussen stick into Turn 1 on lap 37 for 5th. A lap later things got even worse for Magnussen as it was announced by the stewards that he was to receive a 5 second time penalty for his over-zealous defending of 5th. This would prove a costly penalty as it was likely to drop him from 6th to 10th, such was the closeness of his rivals. Jenson Button was now seriously challenging previous team mate Sergio Perez for 7th, indeed on lap 39 they spent almost half a lap side by side constantly switching positions. It was a breathtaking battle that showed the very best of both drivers skills in a refreshingly fair fight for position where no contact was made. Valtteri Bottas charge up the field was complete on lap 40 as he made an easy DRS assisted pass on reigning champion Sebastien Vettel for 4th going into Turn 1. From here a miraculous charge up to team mate Felipe Massa was needed to steal the final podium spot. The dominance of the two AMG Mercedes was on display in the final laps as both Hamilton and Rosberg cruised home 18 seconds clear of the fellow Mercedes powered Williams of Massa in 3rd. Some intra-team excitement was created in the final laps at Red Bull as the breakout star of 2014 Daniel Ricciardo used much fresher tyres to easily pass team mate Vettel at Turn 1 for 5th, providing a possible snapshot of the contrasting fortunes of both drivers so far this season also. Just as Scuderia Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat joined the train of cars fighting for 7th, it almost all went wrong for him as he suffered severe brake fade going into Turn 1, of which he used all his natural talent to avoid Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari, although he was able to cruise home in 11th. At the front Lewis Hamilton came home comfortably for his second Italian GP win from team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg in 2nd. Felipe Massa was a popular 3rd, his first podium since the 2013 Spanish GP. Valtteri Bottas came home a disappointed 4th although this only shows the rapid progress the team have made compared to last year. Daniel Ricciardo led home team mate Sebastien Vettel in 5th and 6th, whilst Sergio Perez held on valiantly to 7th from the experienced McLaren racer Jenson Button in 8th. 9th was not the result the expectant tifosi were after yet this was all Kimi Raikkonen could muster for them on a bad day for the team, whilst the 5 second time penalty demoted promising McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen from 7th to the final points paying position in 10th. Whilst the fans were denied the on track wheel to wheel combat between the two AMG Mercedes drivers, perhaps this shouldn't be a surprise considering the previous Belgian GP. With the gap between Rosberg and Hamilton being reduced to 22 points the title fight has moved up a notch for intensity as the F1 circus leaves Europe for the bright lights of Singapore and their night time Grand Prix in two weeks. What were your thoughts on the Italian GP and what do you expect from the Singapore GP in two weeks time?