It could have been the "perfect weekend" as Lewis Hamilton has described after winning back-to-back Formula One races, except that he has to wait for more than three hours before his latest victory at the 2015 Italian Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday becomes official.
Formula 1 stewards' inquiry into Hamilton's tire pressure delayed the official announcement of his seventh win of the season. Hamilton's left rear tire pressure was found to be 0.3 psi below the minimum of 19.5 before the race. But stewards have determined that the tire pressure was correct when it was fitted.
"I wasn't aware of it," Hamilton said, adding that 0.3 psi "is not really a huge amount on one tire." Sole tire supplier Pirelli agreed. "We are totally sure no one is cheating," Pirelli spokesman Roberto Boccafogli said.
Hamilton's victory in the Belgian grand prix gave him the lead in the championship by 28 points followed by fellow Mercedez driver Nico Rosberg. Romain Grossjean of Lotus finished third place but currently stands at ninth place overall with 38 points.
The victory at the Italian Grand Prix solidifies Hamilton's lead in the Formula One championship to a commanding 53 points.
In the post-race interview, Mercedes-Benz' head of motorsport, Toto Wolff said the team was also surprised of the inconsistent tire pressure. "To be honest we don't know why we had such a discrepancy. And in the end it can be very performance costly if you have one tyre that has a different pressure than the others. And why did we tell Lewis to push? That was when we got the information that there was an investigation into tyre pressures. We didn't understand what was going on, but we thought that there could be possible penalties and in order to gain a little bit of a margin we asked him [Hamilton] to push."
Wolff insisted they did not violate any rules and that they followed the Pirelli procedures with the tire blankets.
He went on to say, We followed the procedure which was established with Pirelli: have the tyres in the blanket and check the pressures with Pirelli. So there is always a Pirelli guy with us, and the pressure was well above the minimum - because safety is important for us! We put those tyres on the car and for whatever reason - maybe one of the tyres cooled down - a different pressure was found on one of the tyres. A very tiny discrepancy! I have no idea what happened then - whether it was not working or if it was detached. The question is all about the procedure: When do you measure?"
A report by The Australian provided some hints why there was so much fuss about the discrepancy in one of Hamilton's tires. The report cited conspiracy theorists who claimed that Ferrari was guaranteed a victory on their home turf at Monza from the powers that be himself, "aka, Bernie Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, otherwise known as the Supreme Ruler."
"Except that Sebastian Vettel, who would have inherited victory, wanted no part of it and demanded that the result stand, and Maurizio Arrivabene, the Ferrari team principal, trashed any suggestion that they would appeal should Mercedes be exonerated," the report added.