Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton overcame the odds on Sunday to take out the 2018 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.
Ferrari was the dominant force at qualifying on Saturday, with Kimi Räikkönen securing pole with a blistering 1:19.119. This was a new record for the fastest lap in F1 history, based on Räikkönen’s average speed of 163.78 mph.
His teammate Sebastian Vettel joined him on the front row of Autodromo Nazionale Monza, leading everyone to predict a win for Ferrari at its home race.
Hamilton wasn’t having it, though. After the start, the Mercedes driver was right on the tail of Vettel who was trailing his teammate. But on the second chicane of Lap 1, Hamilton made a bold move on the outside of Vettel who in an attempt to maintain position drove into the side of his Mercedes rival. While Hamilton was lucky to continue relatively unscathed, Vettel spun and fell to the back of the grid. The stewards decided that neither driver was significantly to blame for the incident.
“At the beginning I tried to overtake Kimi in Turn 1 and 4, but I couldn’t. He opened the brakes, which he had the right to do, so I moved aside and opened a gap to Lewis,” Vettel said in a post-race interview. “Then I had room left and no chance anymore. So, when I touched Lewis, I span around and that was unfortunate, as my car got quite some damage.”
After a safety car period, the race finally resumed on Lap 4. At this point, Hamilton managed to get the jump on Räikkönen but at the first braking zone but the Ferrari man fought back immediately to reclaim the lead. He then began to build a lead, showing the prowess of the Ferrari power unit. Meanwhile, Vettel, at the back of the field, was executing a brilliant fight up the order.
After a pit stop, Räikkönen was still in the lead but was blocked by Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas who was on an extended first stint. Bottas then pitted. This finally gave Räikkönen a clear path but his tires were in trouble after trailing the Mercedes man.
Hamilton would until about eight laps to go before putting in a challenge and passing Räikkönen. The Mercedes driver then built up a gap to finish the race in first place some 8.7 seconds ahead of his Ferrari rival. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen would cross the line third but ceded the position to Bottas because of a penalty.
The Red Bull driver was given a 5.0-second penalty after moving across the track and coming into contact with Bottas in attempt to block the Mercedes driver. Because of the penalty, Vettel was also able to claim fourth with Verstappen having to settle for fifth.
Meanwhile, Haas’ Romain Grosjean who finished sixth had his position disqualified. Renault lodged a protest over the legality of the floor on Haas’ car, which didn’t meet a new regulation introduced in July concerning radius of the leading corners of the floor’s reference plane. Haas couldn’t get a new part in place because of the summer break and thought it could use the old part because of some miscommunication with the FIA.
Hamilton currently leads the 2018 Drivers’ Championship with 256 points, ahead of Vettel with 226 points and Räikkönen with 164 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 415 points followed by Ferrari with 390 points and Red Bull with 248 points. The next race on the calendar is the Singapore Grand Prix in a fortnight.
Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton at the 2018 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix