(Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton will have to wait at least another weekend for his 90th Formula One win but the Mercedes man was thankful to emerge from Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix with his championship lead unchanged.
The six times world champion remains 47 points clear of his closest rival, now team mate Valtteri Bottas, on an afternoon at Monza that started out looking like a one-horse race and ended with Pierre Gasly winning for the first time.
“It wasn’t meant to be today,” said Hamilton after starting on pole, his 94th, and leading comfortably until a 10-second stop/go penalty for a safety car infringement.
“What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.
“There was a long pitstop, 26 seconds I had to catch up, but once I finally caught everybody I enjoyed that bit of a battle. On to the next one.”
Hamilton went from first to last and fought back to seventh, also taking a point for fastest lap, while his previous closest rival Max Verstappen retired his Red Bull and Bottas could finish only fifth after a poor start.
“We didn’t do a great job with the pitstop and honestly I didn’t see those (electronic warning) boards so I take responsibility for that,” said Hamilton, who pitted after the safety car had been deployed and with the pitlane closed.
The penalty left him 17th and last on track.
“That’s something I will learn from,” he said.
“But to get seventh and still get a fastest lap that’s still some good points considering I definitely didn’t think that was possible from 26 seconds behind the last car.
“I’ll definitely take it and grateful that Max didn’t score any points. So not a huge loss today,” added Hamilton, who had won five of seven races before Sunday and remains on course to beat Michael Schumacher’s record 91 victories.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis
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