Italian Grand Prix | Comfortable victory for Hamilton at Ferrari’s home

Lewis Hamilton converts record pole to victory at the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton clinches the championship lead for the first time in 2017, after converting his storming pole lap on a stormy Saturday into 25-points in Ferrari’s backyard. 

Mercedes’ Hamilton covered front row debutant Lance Stroll off the line to retain the lead of the Italian Grand Prix in the only moment the Briton was challenged across 53-laps of Grand Prix racing.

Taking to the inside of Turn 1, and opening the door for Esteban Ocon to snatch second place from the youngest front row starter in F1 history.

The good work of Ocon and Stroll, though, was short lived as Valtteri Bottas demoted the duo to capture a Mercedes one-two. Strolling off into the distance with their engines turned down at Monza, the Temple of Speed.

Sebastian Vettel had sat comfortably in third for a majority of the race. Cruising around Ferrari’s home track unchallenged, until a late charge by Daniel Ricciardo put pressure at the German’s door.

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Daniel Ricciardo negotiates the Ascari Chicane during the Italian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

At the start of the race, Ferrari saw strong starts from both of their drivers. Taking the fight to Bottas in the early laps, with Raikkonen slotting into fourth under braking at the chicane. Only to lose out soon after when Valtteri lunged down the inside of the Prancing Horse at Parabolica.

Eventually, Ricciardo’s late charge that saw the Australian post the fastest lap of the race failed to result in a fight with Vettel as his tyres began to fade. Coming home in fourth place, and ahead of Raikkonen, after 12 places from where be begun.

Jumping the race long fight between Stroll and Ocon through the pits, as Red Bull switched Ricciardo’s tyres in 2.2 seconds. Allowing Daniel to attack Kimi as quick as the swap, with a dive from far back at the first chicane.

Prior to his change onto the supersoft tyres, Ricciardo’s charging drive saw the Red Bull pilot pull of another brave move at the second chicane. Switching lines as the braking zone approached to demote Sergio Perez.

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Daniel Ricciardo stresses his Pirelli tyres as he tackles the Autodromo di Monza during the 2017 Italian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

Sergio’s mid-race change of tyres brought the Mexican into his own fight, too. Joining the scrap between Stroll and Ocon after the qualifying stars attempted to cover Kimi Raikkonen, as the Finn contemplated rear end damage as he struggled with oversteer.

Force India’s Ocon and Williams’ Stroll’s fight for position would go on into the closing stages of the race when Felipe Massa latched onto his team-mate’s gearbox. Putting the teenage Canadian under pressure and forcing a lock up into Turn 1 as he lapped a crawling Sauber.

Lance Stroll would manage to fend off the threat of his experienced team-mate. With a final lap scrap bringing Sergio Perez closer to the pair, only to come home four-tenths behind.

Max Verstappen had yet another race to forget, but for this time reaching the chequered flag.

Verstappen had launched off the line better than any other driver on the F1 grid. Picking up five-places on the run to the first corner.

Unfortunately for the Dutchman, a move by Felipe Massa at the first corner on Lap 3 would prove the pivotal moment of the Red Bull driver’s race. With the Brazilian’s dart down the inside forcing Verstappen wide, puncturing his front right tyre as Max looked to stay close to the exit kerb in an every closing window.

Massa was investigated for the collision but no further action was taken. While Verstappen’s race was compromised and he struggled at first to catch the rear of the field with Hamilton approaching a lap ahead.

Verstappen went on to finish the Italian Grand Prix in 10th place. Moving ahead of Kevin Magnussen for the final point paying position, much to the Haas drivers’ frustration having felt Verstappen forced him wide and off track.

“That was crazy guys,” bemoaned Magnussen. Adding: “If that is allowed, that’s crazy serious, it can’t be allowed.”

First to retire in the Italian Grand Prix was Jolyon Palmer. Much to the pleasure of Fernando Alonso, who vented his frustration at the Briton only receiving a five-second time penalty for cutting the second chicane in order to retain position on him.

Fernando, however, may regret his choice of words as he described Palmer’s retirement as “karma”. Only to later retire himself to make the race a double did not finish for McLaren, having earlier lost Vandoorne when the Belgian reported a loss of power after 34 laps.

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Double orange, double trouble. Alonso chases Vandoorne during the Italian Grand Prix. Photo credit: McLaren.

Qualifying on Saturday saw drivers battle the elements after a two and a half hour delay to proceedings left the Autodromo di Monza washed out.

But with challenging conditions, the creme of the crop rose to the top. With Lewis Hamilton blitzing his final flyer to top the session by 1.5-seconds. Clinching a record 69th pole position, ahead of the Red Bull pair as Ferrari’s pilots struggled on home turf.

However, believing the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix would be their better chance at points, Red Bull went into qualifying with 20 and 25 place penalties for both of their drivers having taken fresh power unit elements.

Verstappen, second in qualifying, and Ricciardo, third, were not alone either in going backwards before the race began. With seven further drivers picking up penalties as the race approached.

Altogether, the nine drivers carrying penalties meant just four drivers lined up on the grid in the slot they qualified for. With pole sitter, Hamilton, joined by Sainz (15th), Palmer (17th) and Grosjean (20th) in remaining in their achieved positions.

On the other hand, the sizeable grid penalties meant some drivers moved up the grid. With Kevin Magnussen, knocked out in Q1, actually starting inside the top 10. While Sergio Perez moved up from 11th to 10th, despite taking a five-place penalty for a gearbox change.

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Sliding with spray in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Haas F1 Team.

Pos Driver Chassis Engine Time Points
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 1:15’32.310 25
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 4.471 18
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 36.317 15
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG 40.335 12
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 60.082 10
6 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 71.528 8
7 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 74.156 6
8 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 74.834 4
9 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 75.276 2
10 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG 1 lap 1
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1 lap
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 1 lap
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault 1 lap
14 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso Renault 1 lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1 lap
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 2 laps
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda DNF
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari DNF
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda DNF
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault DNF

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