Italian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton wins frantic race at Monza as Mercedes outsmart Ferrari on their home turf

Reigning world champion seized the lead with eight laps remaining after clashing with Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap

Philip Duncan
Monza
Sunday 02 September 2018 16:27
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Lewis Hamilton stunned the Ferrari crowd with a remarkable victory at the Italian Grand Prix following a late move on Kimi Raikkonen and an opening-lap collision with Sebastian Vettel.

Pole-sitter Raikkonen looked set to win his first race in more than five years - and Ferrari's first in their homeland since 2010 - but Hamilton executed a brilliant pass on the Finn with just eight laps remaining.

Vettel, who fell to last after his coming together with Hamilton, recovered to finish fourth, but the German is now 30 points behind his championship rival. Valtteri Bottas completed the podium places.

Vettel was at his commanding best seven days ago to win in Belgium, but he was on the back foot from the start here after his critical collision with Hamilton.

Raikkonen roared off his marks on the long gallop down to the opening bend at Monza to keep both Vettel and Hamilton at bay. Hamilton, however, took advantage of a slipstream off Vettel's Ferrari before lining up a move on his championship rival at turn four.

Vettel covered the inside, but Hamilton moved to his right to take the racing line, and he was ahead of the Ferrari car as they took the corner.

Vettel did not want to give up the space, and the right-hand side of his car made contact with Hamilton's Mercedes. It sent the German into a spin as Hamilton marched on in second.

Vettel complained on the radio: "That was silly, where did he want to go?"

He limped back to the garage for repairs before Hamilton's long-term rival Nico Rosberg pointed the finger at Vettel.

The safety car was needed after the first-lap carnage (Reuters)

"I think it was 100 per cent Sebastian's fault," Rosberg said on Sky Sports commentary.

"Hamilton gave him all the room. He's not going to become world champion if he keeps doing these things."

Moments later, Hamilton was in the lead after passing Raikkonen on lap four, only for the 38-year-old to bite back two corners later.

Raikkonen pitted a lot earlier than Hamilton

The gap between Raikkonen and Hamilton remained at one second as Vettel fought his way back from last. By lap 11, Vettel was up into the points, and he would get as high as fourth before he would stop for a second time.

Back at the front, and it was Raikkonen who stopped for new tyres first. Hamilton went on for eight further laps before he came in for new rubber, and emerged well down on the Ferrari car.

Hamilton had much fresher tyres towards the end of the race (Reuters)

But Hamilton's team-mate Bottas, who had yet to stop, played his role in backing Raikkonen up, and allowing Hamilton to close.

Bottas eventually stopped for tyres to release Raikkonen. That looked to be that, but Hamilton never gave up, and on lap 45 he won the race.

At 220 miles per hour, the Briton drew alongside Raikkonen on the main straight before moving to the outside of the opening chicane and masterfully making his pass stick.

Hamilton eventually passed Raikkonen through turns one and two

Raikkonen had nothing left in the tank as Hamilton went on to claim one of the finest victories of his career, and one that moves him ever closer to a fifth title.

"Firstly, I want to give it up to Ferrari, who put up a great challenge," a breathless Hamilton said.

"Secondly I want to say a huge thank you to the guys back home at the Mercedes factory.

Hamilton now leads the world championship by 30 points over Vettel (Reuters)

"There was a lot of negativity, and that is natural when you are up against an opposing team but I could see the British flags around the track, and they inspired me and that is who I was driving for.

"In future, negativity is only an inspiration for me. We never give up. "

Final Positions after Race (53 Laps):

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1hr 16mins 54.484secs

2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:17:03.189

3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:17:08.550

4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:17:10.635

5 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:17:12.692

6 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:17:50.804

7 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India 1:17:52.245

8 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:17:53.162

9 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault 1:18:12.624

10 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams at 1 Lap

11 Sergey Sirotkin (Rus) Williams at 1 Lap

12 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 Lap

13 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren at 1 Lap

14 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault at 1 Lap

15 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 Lap

16 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 Lap

17 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 at 1 Lap

Not Classified:

18 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 23 Laps completed

19 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 9 Laps completed

20 Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso 0 Laps completed

More follows…

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