Commanding Monza Win Gives Hamilton Title Lead
Lewis Hamilton heads the 2017 drivers’ championship for the first time this season after he led Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas to a dominant 1-2 finish in Sunday’s Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken d’Italia 2017, humbling third-placed Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari on their home ground.
Daniel Ricciardo battled his way through from 16th on the grid to take fourth place for Red Bull, ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, while Esteban Ocon won a race-long tussle with the Williams of Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa to secure sixth for Force India.
Ocon’s team mate Sergio Perez was ninth and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who dropped to the back in an early clash with Massa, recovered to complete the top ten.
Hamilton dominated the race from the start, with Bottas riding shotgun from the third lap. The Finn made a poor start but redeemed himself by snatching back fourth place by passing Raikkonen’s Ferrari round the outside of the Parabolica at the end of the opening lap. Thereafter he made short work of fast-starting Ocon, who took second from front-row starter Stroll from the grid.
As the Mercedes ran away and hid, Vettel had no answer for Ferrari and as Hamilton led Bottas home by 4.4s, after a minor scare when he thought his car lost power on the 43rd lap, the former points leader finished 36.3s behind him.
Hamilton now has 228 points to Vettel’s 225, with Bottas still in touch on 197.
Red Bull had a strong race after engine penalties had pushed them down the grid. Riccardo started on the soft Pirelli tyres, ran until the 37th lap on them, then came on like gangbusters on supersofts in the final stint. The Australian cut an 11.5s deficit to Vettel to just 4.0s by the flag, though the German told his team he’d had a problem from the halfway mark.
Verstappen had a coming together with Massa on the third lap which sent him pitwards for a replacement front wheel and tyre, but like Ricciardo he set several fastest laps, and recovered beautifully to 10th.
Between them, Raikkonen took a very distant fifth, some way ahead of a fierce fight between Ocon’s Force India, Stroll’s Williams, and their respective team mates. Only 3.6s covered the quartet by the finish.
Kevin Magnussen was a disgruntled 11th for Haas, pushed out of 10th as he and Verstappen collided in the second chicane, and he had Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso less than a second behind him. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg likewise narrowly led Carlos Sainz’s sister car home for 13th. Romain Grosjean suffered front wing damage on the opening lap and trailed in 15th, ahead of final finisher Pascal Wehrlein who had a brush with Sauer team mate Marcus Ericsson.
Ericsson had to retire near the finish, as did a very unhappy Fernando Alonso, who had a clash with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer which earned the Briton a five-second penalty. Palmer did not finish either, while Stoffel Vandoorne’s quest for a point in the other McLaren also ended in the pit lane.