MONZA, Italy – Lewis Hamilton rocketed into the Formula One championship lead with a dominant victory in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Hamilton dominated the race from the start, holding off a first corner challenge from Lance Stroll of Williams before promptly pulling away from the field. He was chased nearly the entire way by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who made it to second by the third lap and stayed there for the rest of the race.
“It’s obviously an incredibly exciting season and the last two races have been incredibly strong for us as a team,” said Hamilton. “I’m not really sure why the pace of the Ferraris was not close as it usually is, particularly as it was in practice, but today the car felt fantastic, particularly in that first stint. I guess because we had a bit of breathing space behind us initially it was easier to extend the life of the tire. I suppose if in the past we would have had a Ferrari behind we would have been pushed more to the limit.
“I know it’s not easy for the Italian fans to accept but I think ultimately we did the better job this weekend, collectively, as a team. But it’s still close and there’s still a long, long way to go. We’re going to another track next that the Ferrari should be quite quick at, with the extra downforce they generally are able to add on, so the fight will continue.”
Behind the Mercedes duo, Sebastian Vettel overcame a poor qualifying effort to complete the podium at Ferrari’s home race. It wasn’t enough, however, for Vettel to retain the point lead as Hamilton moved to the top of the heap by three points over Vettel. Bottas is also in contention, sitting only 28 points behind Hamilton.
Daniel Ricciardo qualified third, but had was hit with grid penalties after his Red Bull team installed several new engine components. Ricciardo marched through the field, finishing fourth behind Vettel.
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth for Ferrari, followed closely by the impressive Esteban Ocon for Force India. Ocon started from the second row and ran with the front group most of the day before finishing sixth.
Stroll ended the day in seventh after starting second to Hamilton, followed his his Williams teammate Felipe Massa. Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India, with Max Verstappen overcoming an early flat tire to finish 10th.