F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Italian GP, takes Championship lead from Sebestian Vettel – Lewis Hamilton and Vallteri Bottas finished first and second to make it a one-two for Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton (AFP)
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Gran Prix at Monza on Sunday to take the lead in the Formula One drivers championship. Hamilton surpassed Ferrari’s Sebestian Vettel who finished third. Hamilton now has 238 points in the driver standings while Vettel is on 235. Hamilton was trailing Vettel by 7 points before the start of the race.
Hamilton’s teammate Vallteri Bottas finished second to give Mercedes a satisfying one-two victory.
Vettel was followed by Red Bull’s Danile Ricciardo and teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Both Force India drivers were among points with Esteban Ocon finishing sixth while Sergio Perez finished ninth. Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa of William were 7th and 8th with Max Verstappen of Red Bull finishing at number 10.
he triple champion, who started the last race of the European season from a record 69th career pole position, led the race all the way at Ferrari’s home track.
“I love it here in Italy and I love the passion of the fans,” Hamilton declared on the podium jutting out over a sea of red-shirted Ferrari fans, with plenty of boos coming his way amid the cheers.
“We did a great job, the team did an exceptional job this weekend,” he added. “Mercedes power is definitely better than Ferrari power.”
Vettel, who had led the standings since he won the Australian season-opener in March, finished 36.3 seconds behind the winner. Bottas was 4.4 adrift of Hamilton.
“It was a difficult day, a difficult start,” said Vettel. “My race was fairly isolated, we tried to keep as close as possible but we simply didn’t have the pace.
“You could say it’s a bad day but I know the team is on the right way… so I am in a very positive mood despite the numbers.”
Hamilton is now three points clear of the German, with seven races remaining. Mercedes are 62 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings.
The first driver to win two races in a row this season, with Monza following on from Belgium a week ago, Hamilton now leads Vettel 6-4 on victories in 2017. He has 238 points to Vettel’s 235.
Hamilton pulled away cleanly from his historic pole, and fourth in a row at Monza, and was never challenged as he drove to the chequered flag with the minimum of fuss.
It was his third Italian Grand Prix win in four years and 59th career victory — only Michael Schumacher, whose pole record he beat, can boast more — and few have been more straightforward.
Force India’s French rookie Esteban Ocon, chasing his first podium finish, grabbed second place off the line from 18-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll in the Williams but then faded and finished sixth.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen moved up to fourth initially, to cheers from the crowd, while compatriot Bottas dropped to fifth before swiftly regaining the place.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen clashed with Brazilian Felipe Massa’s Williams in an incident that forced the Dutch teenager to pit with a puncture.
Vettel meanwhile had started sixth but began to move up through the field, cheered every time by the throng of ‘tifosi’ on the 70th anniversary of founder Enzo Ferrari’s first car, before settling into the loneliness of third place.
Hamilton meanwhile was relentless, pulling away from the four times champion at a rate of almost a second and lapping half the field.
Result from the Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo di Monza:
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
2. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari
6. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India
7. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams-Mercedes
8. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India
10. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull
(With Agency Imputs)