Hamilton wins the ItalianGP ahead of Raikkonen and Bottas consolidating his lead in the standings. This is the Briton’s fifth victory in Monza.
Raikkonen, who held the pole followed by team-mate Vettel, alternated the lead with Hamilton through most of the race. Vettel was sent to 17th position after colliding with Hamilton on the first lap. The German driver then managed a remarkable comeback to fourth after pitting during the safety car. Despite his feat, Vettel loses ground to title rival Hamilton, who widens his distance to 30 points in the classification.
The vanishing of a home victory dream
Raikkonen and Vettel held onto their first and second positions right up to the first chicane. Hamilton was then close enough to start his attack. He overtook Vettel on the outside but didn’t leave sufficient room and both drivers touched slightly. Vettel was sent spinning and with damage to his nose while the Briton came out unscratched and in second position.
The title holder and the Ferrari number two then battled very closely till the end, showing matching power and technical skill and leaving the victory in the hands of timing and strategy. Raikkonen was sent to pits on lap 20 but Hamilton was left out for an extra eight laps. When he emerged he was over 5 seconds behind the Finn. Raikkonen however, could not use this advantage to break-away because Bottas, who hadn’t pit yet, was at the lead and blocking the way.
When Bottas was finally called to boxes his team-mate was already shadowing Raikkonen and on fresher tyres. Hamilton was then able to pass him with ease and escape to victory at just eight laps left from the finish line:
“For sure I think we had the speed [to win] but then the tyre went and there was nothing left in the end on the left rear,” – Raikkonen declared after the race- “It is hard to take” (…) “It was a losing battle since that point, but I tried, it was impossible in the end, unfortunately.»
Verstappen got fifth position after being issued a 5-second penalty for an unfair defence manoeuvre that resulted in a collision with Bottas. Esteban Ocón and Sergio Pérez didn’t disappoint the newly formed Racing Point Force India, coming in sixth and seventh position respectively. Carlos Sainz’ Renault was eight and both the Williams, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin completed the top 10.
By T.C. | Photo: TheGuardian