Hamilton delivers Monza masterpieceposted in F102 | 09 | 2018

    LEWIS HAMILTON DELIVERED one of the drives of his career to win the Italian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver survived first-lap contact with Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel, then passed the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen late in the race to take his fifth win at Monza. The victory equalled the record of Michael Schumacher, and extended Hamilton’s championship lead to 30 points over Vettel. (Related: Alonso quits F1 for 2019)

    Starting third on the grid behind the two Ferraris, Hamilton darted passed second-placed Vettel around the outside into the second chicane on the opening lap. The contact caused by Vettel sliding wide as his car lost grip behind Raikkonen, pitched him into  180-degree spin.


    Forced to wait until the field had passed him, Vettel then pitted of a new front wing and tyres, rejoining in last place. The four-time champ them charged back through the field to finish fourth behind the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. A time penalty dropped Max Verstappen from the podium to fifth.

    At the start, pole sitter Raikkonen had maintained his lead, despite pressure from Vettel and a lock-up into the first corner. Hamilton then drafted the Ferraris and attacked Vettel around the outside at the Roggia chicane where the Ferrari made contact with the Mercedes.


    Vettel\s recovery from his early pitstop was aided by the safety car, deployed to recover Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso which had been parked on the right-hand side of the circuit seconds after the start. The Kiwi had been sandwiched in a pincer movement on the run to the first corner and his car had suffered a front-right breakage.

    On the restart on lap four, Hamilton and Raikkonen swapped places twice before the Finn pulled away to lead by two seconds before he pitted on lap 20 of the 53. Hamilton though elected to run another eight laps, extending his first stint.


    When he emerged from his pitstop, the gap to Raikkonen was five seconds, but the Ferrari was stuck behind the second Mercedes of Bottas, who had yet to pit. Hampered by his fellow countryman, Raikkonen then saw Hamilton close to within one second within three laps.

    Now on fresher rubber, and within DRS, it was only  matter of time before Hamilton capitalised on his car’s superior grip. Bottas led until lap 36 before pitting, releasing Raikkonen and Hamilton to duke it out for the win.


    On lap 45, Hamilton pounced. The Mercedes driver drew alongside the Ferrari as they approached the braking zone to the first right-left chicane, then nailed Raikkonen around the outside. Immediately the Finn tried to strike back on the run into the Roggia chicane, but Hamilton held his position.

    The Mercedes quickly broke clear as Raikkonen nursed a blister on his left-rear tyre. Such was the ‘critical’ condition of Raikkonen’s tyres — as Ferrari admitted — that the Finn eventually fell nine seconds behind the Mercedes.


    Behind the two leaders, Verstappen had looked on course for third before he received a five-second penalty after he was adjudged to have defended too aggressively as Bottas tried to overtake into the first chicane. Verstappen’s movement to the left almost pushed the Mercedes on to the grass.

    The penalty not only allowed Bottas to grab the final podium position, but also elevated Vettel to fourth, relegating Verstappen to fifth. His Red Bull team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, had earlier been forced to retire with a gearbox failure.


    In the ‘other race’, Romain Grosjean survived immense pressure from the Racing Point Force Indias to finish sixth, ahead of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez. Carlos Sainz Jr finished ninth for Renault, while Lance Stroll claimed only the second points finish of the year for Williams as he completed the top 10.


    F1 — Italian Grand Prix, Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy. Result:

    1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 53 laps, 1hr 16m 54.484s

    2. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +8.705s

    3. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +14.066s

    4. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari +16.151s

    5. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +18.208s*

    6. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team +56.320s

    7. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team +57.761s

    8. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team +58.678s

    9. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team +1m 18.140s

    10. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda +1 lap

    11. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team +1 lap

    12. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing +1 lap

    13. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing +1 lap

    14. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +1 lap

    15. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team +1 lap

    16. Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +1 lap

    17. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team +1 lap

    *Five-second time penalty


    Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 26 laps

    Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team 9 laps

    Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 0 lap

    Related: Ricciardo shocks F1 with switch to Renault

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    Jim McGill

    Photographs: Copyright Mercedes GP


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