Lewis Hamilton Wins The Italian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton has won the Italian grand prix.
Following the longest circuit on the GP calendar last week, it was nice to have a more competitive race at Monza.
It was a record-breaking weekend, with Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen all breaking previous track records in qualifying, with the later starting the race in pole position.
There was a 60% chance of rain, and with the race being a typical one-stop, it really was all about the drivers, and their cars.
A Ferrari front row lock-out, at their home grand prix, but... how long did it stay like that?
Light’s out, and Raikkonen takes the lead, with Vettel and Hamilton fighting for second. Somehow, Vettel spins around and Hamilton makes it out of the tussle unharmed.
One lap in, and the safety car has been deployed. Vettel comes into the pits, as has Ricciardo and Hulkenberg. We also lost Hartley after he had major damage on the first corner of the first lap.
Stewards investigated the Hamilton Vettel clash, and decided that no further accident was required.
Lap 3, and the safety car comes back in, allowing the race to get underway again. Hamilton takes the lead from Raikkonen after an incredible slip stream, but this was soon taken back by Raikkonen. There really was nothing between the two cars, and they were going at it for a very long time.
Lap 5 and Raikkonen leads Hamilton, followed by Verstappen, Bottas and Grosjean. After the clash with Hamilton, Vettel sits in 16th place.
Lap 6, and DRS is enabled. Raikkonen is around a second faster than Hamilton.
Lap 9, and there is a huge battle between Vettel and Ricciardo down in 14th, and 15th. Unfortunately for Alonso, he had an engine failure and had to retire, once again.
Gasly and Riccardo were also scrapping in the midfield. The first 10 laps were very tumultuous, and with rain expected, it looked as though it would only get more exciting to watch.
At lap 16, Vettel had moved up into the top 10, with Perez in 8th being his next target. Hamilton has shortened the gap to around 0.6 seconds, and moving closer, and closer to the Ferrari.
Vettel moves past Perez, and into 8th on lap 18 of a 53-lap race.
Into lap 20, and the pit window is open for those on a 1-stop strategy for the race. First in was Hulkenberg, and this was soon echoed by Raikkonen, which then gave the lead to Hamilton.
Hamilton pushed on to try and put in some quick laps to give a 24-second gap between himself and Raikkonen. But... this was not the only thing keeping Hamilton out on the track. Ocon in 5th place reported signs of rain on lap 24.
Unfortunately for Ricciardo, it was not his day. He had been struggling all weekend, and retires from the race just before the halfway mark.
Lap 28 and Mercedes have yet to bring either car into the pits. As it stands, Bottas is ahead of Raikkonen and it looks like he is going to hold Raikkonen as much as possible. As this happens, Hamilton comes into pit, and comes out a good 5 seconds behind Raikkonen. Bottas leads the race.
Lap 32, and Hamilton picked up incredible speed, and was just 1 second behind Raikkonen with Bottas doing an incredible job defending, and giving Hamilton the time he needed to get closer to Raikkonen.
Lap 34 and with two tow’s from Raikkonen and Bottas, he was getting closer, and closer to the Ferrari. Lap 35, down the main straight and no overtakes.
Lap 37, and Bottas comes in after doing a great job for his team. He returns to the grid behind Verstappen, and ahead of Ocon.
Going into the final 10 laps of the race, Raikkonen still leads, but Hamilton less than half a second behind, with Verstappen being chased down by Bottas, which then turned into Verstappen colliding with Bottas, and facing a 5-second penalty because of it.
Lap 45 and Hamilton did it. He overtook Raikkonen with amazing pace, dedication and patience. After the overtake, Hamilton swiftly gained a 1.5 second lead over the Ferrari. A lap and a half later, and this lead doubles to over 3 seconds.
Final lap, and Hamilton extends his lead over Raikkonen to 8 seconds, with the Mercedes coming out on top in Monza.
Here is how the race finished.
#1: Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 25 points
#2: Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 18
#3: Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 15 points
#4: Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 12 points
#5: Max Verstappen - Red Bull/Renault - 10 points
#6: Romain Grosjean - Haas/Ferrari - 8 points
#7: Esteban Ocon - Force India/Mercedes - 6 points
#8: Sergio Perez - Force India/Mercedes - 4 points
#9: Carlos Sainz - Renault - 2 points
#10: Lance Stroll - Williams/Mercedes - 1 point
#11: Sergey Sirotkin - Williams/Mercedes - 0 points
#12: Charles Leclerc - Sauber/Ferrari - 0 points
#13: Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren/Renault - 0 points
#14: Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 0 points
#15: Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso/Honda - 0 points
#16: Marcus Ericsson - Sauber/Ferrari - 0 points
#17: Kevin Magnussen - Haas/Ferrari - 0 points
#18: Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault - DNF
#19: Fernando Alonso - McLaren/Renault - DNF
#20: Brendon Hartley - Toro Rosso/Honda - DNF
Let’s see what the next race has to offer, as we head to Singapore on the 16th September!