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.
“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. 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.
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.
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. 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. “
Updated constructor standings – Mercedes extend their lead
1. Mercedes – 415
2. Ferrari – 390
3. Red Bull – 248
5. Renault – 84
6. McLaren – 52
7. Toro Rosso – 30
8. Force India – 28
9. Sauber – 19
10. Williams – 5
Vettel reacts to his fourth place and the first lap incident with Hamilton
I think you have more angles than I have to look at. I didn’t really have a gap and didn’t want to try something silly. Lewis saw around the side and I think he didn’t leave me any space and I didn’t have any chance but to make contact. Unfortunately I was the one that spun around. We still got a lot of points, it could be a lot worse.
Well it doesn’t help when you lose points but it’s not the end of the world. I think we still wake up tomorrow morning.
Down, for sure. I think their [the fans’] support has been incredible. Unfortunately we didn’t deliver but what can you do? It could have been a good race but it wasn’t. I’m not too worried. If we have the pace then the points sound a lot but it doesn’t take a long time to get them down.
Vettel has been fragile under pressure this year
And that showed today. He didn’t leave Hamilton enough room and understeered into him in the second chicane. He spun and then his race was basically won. There is a lot to analyse today.
Ferrari have had the quickest car in the German, Hungarian, Belgian and Italian grands prix, the last four. They have won a total of one in that period.
The tifosi still out in force
Who wouldn’t want to see Rosberg, Lazenby and Hill on the podium? The real podium of the day.
And here is footage of the move that won Hamilton the race
Hamilton was superb today. Every weekend he has gotten more out of his Mercedes than he should have.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reacts
I think that’s what makes motor racing so special. The Sundays can be very different to what you expect after Saturday qualifying.
[On using Bottas to back Raikkonen into Hamilton]
It was also the best strategy for Valtteri to create a gap to beat Verstappen. Beautiful, risky pass also [when Hamilton took the lead]. Kimi was super fair it was racing between two champions.
We’ll wait to hear from Sebastian Vettel on that first lap clash
He ended up in fourth after that incident. No driver was apportioned blame in it. Here is what the FIA said about it.
Hamilton speaks to Felipe Massa on the podium
We’ve got a great crowd here. Negativity is never great. That’s what has powered me along. I accept the challenge that they send. I love being here in Italy, I love the food, the track is incredible. To win here is such an honour in front of such a big crowd.
Updated driver standings
1. Hamilton – 356
2. Vettel – 226
3. Raikkonen – 164
4. Bottas – 159
5. Verstappen – 130
6. Ricciardo – 118
Vettel on the team radio after the race
“Okay guys. The car was pretty compromised from lap one I would say. It didn’t feel right, the balance. I think you saw what happened there, I think we had the pace. Thanks to everyone.”
General jeering as Hamilton bounces out onto the podium
Not sure he will be bothered by it any more. He’s big enough and old enough.
Not much chat in the cool down room
There are some people chanting unkind things in the distance, I think. About Lewis Hamilton. I could be wrong. Some big boos about to happen on the podium…
Bottas seems content, if not delighted with that podium
I was really trying to do everything I can do get onto the podium. It was hard racing. Not quite as fair as I was hoping for but he got a penalty and I got a podium. I think as a team we take this result. We got more points than Ferrari in their home. We take it but hopefully we can be better next time.
I think it was quick enough unfortunately our rear tyres went and it was a losing battle. I tried but it was impossible in the end unfortunately. I mean, for sure we tried, but the rear tyres gave up before the race ended. We keep fighting.
Firstly I want to give it up to Ferrari who put up such a great challenge today. I want to say a huge thank you to these guys back home. Without their efforts this wouldn’t be possible. I could see so many British flags out there and they inspired me so much. Big thank you to the team and to Valtteri for helping us as well. We never give up.
Hamilton is naturally delighted as he screams on top of his car in parc ferme
Ferrari had such an awful day today.
Hamilton now leads drivers’ championship by 30 points
Huge at this stage, you have to say. With seven races to go that is big.
“Disappointing but nothing I could do,” Raikkonen says.
The rest of the points scorers:
“Formation all the way home, just so we can show our Italian colleagues,” Bottas is told on the radio. Banter.
LEWIS HAMILTON WINS THE 2018 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
How did this happen? Well, we know how. This has been a superb drive from Hamilton! What a turnaround. What a turnaround. Mercedes shouldn’t have won here but they had such a superb Sunday.
5. Verstappen* – after five second time penalty
“Get in there Lewis! You are the man! You knocked that out of the park today, mate.” Pete Bonnington, his race engineer is a happy man.
“I can hear how happy you guys are. Thank you so much for all the hard work guys.”
FINAL LAP – Hamilton leads by 8s and is easing to a superb victory
Bottas still not past Verstappen but Vettel within five seconds of the Dutchman so Verstappen a net fifth.
Bottas doesn’t need to get past him to be fair. Vettel in effect fourth.
Raikkonen looks fine on his tyres now…
Raikkonen is really struggling with his tyres and vibrations and is unlapped by Sirotkin. He relaps him in the next chicane, though. He’s told to stay off the kerbs. Are tyres critical for the Finn?
He hasn’t managed his tyres that well today, really.
Well, well, well – Verstappen now has a buffer to Vettel
Just about…it’s going to be so tight at the chequered flag.
Lap 50 of 53 – Hamilton leads by 6.8s, cruising to victory
The top 10:
Sirotkin 11th, Leclerc 12th.
Lap 49 of 53 – Verstappen and Bottas close again
Verstappen does not want to give this place up and he is in great risk of losing fourth as well. But it’s too late, really. Every lap he fights with Bottas he loses time.
“I know I’m losing time to Vettel but I really don’t care,” the Dutchman says on the radio.
The moment Verstappen and Bottas touched
Vettel now within seven seconds of Verstappen and that should be fourth for Vettel instead of fifth.
Lap 47 of 53 – Hamilton leads by 4.1s from Raikkonen
Another great turnaround for Mercedes and an awful afternoon for Ferrari. It was Vettel’s error, though.
Verstappen is informed of his five second penalty.
“For what?! I gave him space. They’re doing a great job at killing racing, honestly.”
Lap 46 of 53 – Five second time penalty for Verstappen for that incident
That would move him behind Bottas. Vettel is only 11 seconds behind Verstappen…
HAMILTON TAKES THE LEAD
He’s much closer into the first chicane and he makes it stick!
Hamilton was bold there and Raikkonen had little chance to defend on the inside at the first apex and around the outside at the second. Clean, nice driving there. Toto Wolff is pleased. Very pleased.
Lap 44 of 53 – Hamilton even closer to Raikkonen
Raikkonen really struggling with his tyres from the lead. Stroll up into P10 now, 2.6s down from Sainz. Grosjean running well in sixth, Ocon seventh and Perez P8.
Lap 43 of 53 – Bottas misses the first chicane and has to take the escape road
And that drops him back even further.
What happened there?! Verstappen hit him under braking. He moved way to the left in the braking zone and shunted him into a spin. That should be a penalty.
Fifth. 13s down the road from Bottas.It’s so vital for Ferrari that Raikkonen wins this race. It’s a seven point difference in the championship.
Lap 41 of 53 – Raikkonen leads Hamilton by 0.6s
Again Hamilton is close under braking into turn one but it is still not enough.
Bottas really close to Verstappen but well defending from the Dutchman. Should be Bottas’s podium, though.
Lap 40 of 53 – Raikkonen leads by a second over Hamilton
Bottas closes in on Verstappen. Hamilton a little further back going into turn one again but his tyres look fresher.
Can Raikkonen hold on for a sensational victory here?
Lap 39 of 53 – Raikkonen leads by 0.7s
How are the tyres looking? Not great. Hamilton now much closer than he was on the last lap.
He’ll have DRS again but can get the tow? Not quite. Ferrari power seems too much. Hamilton closes up under braking, though but it’s not enough. Hamilton needs patience here.
His tyres are eight laps newer.
“This race will be won and lost with tyres,”
Is what Mercedes tell Hamilton. He is told not to kill his tyres as Raikkonen has. Hamilton also appears to have some blistered tyres. Raikkonen is told he has some vibrations from his.
What on earth is going to happen here?! Who knows?
16 laps to go…
Lap 36 of 53 – Bottas leads Raikkonen by 0.8s
Hamilton further back by a similar margin. Vettel in seventh currently. Big blisters on Kimi Raikkonen’s rear left. Big.
Bottas pits and Raikkonen retakes the lead!
Hamilton on much fresher tyres, remember
That should be crucial. He’s hammering it right now though but doesn’t seem to be closing up now. He’s told to keep the tyres in good nick. He was pushing it before.
Lap 34 of 53 – Hamilton within DRS range of Raikkonen now
This race is going from bad to worse for Ferrari. Raikkonen doesn’t have the pace to get past Bottas.
Vandoorne is ahead of them all going into the parabolica. He’ll get out of the way on the straight…
Onto the straight…who will be ahead?!
Raikkonen gets close to Bottas but Hamilton is a little further back from them. Vandoorne still hasn’t let them past, but does so through curva grande on the next lap. As you were at the top.
Lap 33 of 53 – Hamilton now within a second of Raikkonen!
This is so close. So close. Raikkonen has blistered his left rear here.
This is Hamilton’s race now. But what will he risk for victory?
It’s tight at the top…
Hamilton now within two seconds of Raikkonen. Bottas doing a good job here. But for how much longer?
STILL Raikkonen does not pass!
The first lap incident between Vettel and Hamilton
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Not sure this strategy is going to work out for Magnussen
He is 30s behind Vandoorne at the moment and last on the road.
Lap 30 of 53 – Vettel stops for a second time!
Onto the supersofts for the last 23 laps. A 2.9s stop. He comes out in 10th, behind Sirotkin and ahead of Grosjean…
Raikkonen now within DRS range of Bottas and Hamilton within four seconds of Raikkonen which the Briton describes as “a big gap”.
Lap 28 of 53 – Hamilton pits!
He locks up on the pit exit and goes onto new soft tyres. 2.4s. Not superquick but decent.
Bottas and then Raikkonen go through as Hamilton emerges. Bottas will be the blocker for Hamilton and Mercedes. Hamilton 5.6s behind Raikkonen at the moment. Raikkonen 1.5 behind race leader Bottas, who has yet to stop.
Lap 27 of 53 – looks like Bottas will have a role to play here
Hamilton stays out. Raikkonen will emerge a few seconds ahead here but will have used and worn tyres towards the end of the race. Bottas told to keep Kimi behind him. He’ll have to drive the widest car on the grid very soon. Raikkonen 2.3s behind him.
The top 10 – Hamilton yet to stop
Verstappen pits and comes out in sixth, between the Force Indias.
Lap 25 of 53 – just before half race distance
Hamilton stays out. Raikkonen now 20s. Are Mercedes hoping for a VSC or SC? They haven’t removed Ricciardo’s car yet. Oh wait, yes, they have…
Daniel Ricciardo retires!
His Renault engine goes up in smoke. Yellow flags out there.
VSC? No, I don’t think so.
Raikkonen should have enough time to retake the lead when Hamilton pits here.
That was a brand new engine as well…
Lap 23 of 53 – Hamilton stays out
And loses 0.4s to Raikkonen, who sets the fastest lap. Some showers, Ocon says. In six and seven. Is this why Mercedes are keeping Hamilton out?
Vettel takes Ocon for fifth!
Lap 22 of 53 – Hamilton continues…
He’s going well. Raikkonen does not really take any time out of him on his first full lap on fresh tyres. Hamilton has the pace. One more lap for Hamilton.
Raikkonen says it’s raining a bit at the back of the circuit…
Lap 21 of 53 – Hamilton sets the fastest lap
His last lap was his fastest. It’s tense. It’s tight. The team come out and look to pit…but they don’t.
Raikkonen sets the fastest sector time in S2 and S3. Is this going to disadvantage Hamilton here?
Lap 20 of 53 – Vettel takes Sainz into the first chicane
He’s now into seventh. 29s from the leader. Close when he passed but never in danger of colliding. Bit of a doubt as to whether he will make it to the end of the race on these tyres.
He slides into his box, puts on the soft tyres and comes out in fourth. Just ahead of Grosjean. What’s Hamilton going to do now?
“It’s Hammer time, Lewis”, Hamilton is told. It certainly is.
Lap 19 of 53 – Bottas tries a move on Verstappen into turn one
And the Dutchman misses the chicane and keeps the place. Hmmm. Bottas wasn’t actually ahead so that seems all fair. To some extent anywyay.
Lap 17 of 53 – Vettel tries a move on Perez
And falls short, running deep into turn one after initially passing. Bit of a mess of that one, Seb.
Raikkonen now approaching the backmarkers (Magnussen) which means Hamilton will be doing so soon as well.
Lap 16 of 53 – Vettel breezes past Stroll on the straight
He’s into ninth. Perez ahead for the German. He’s 26s off the lead but only seven or so from fifth and 18 from Bottas in fourth…
Strategists at Mercedes scratching their heads now.
Lap 15 of 53 – Raikkonen leads by a second from Hamilton
We have lost two drivers so far, Fernando Alonso and Brendon Hartley. Some decent fights across the field now but plenty of eyes are on the front two and the man in 10th, Vettel.
Lap 14 of 53 – Ocon passes Sainz for sixth
Grosjean next up the road. Vettel gets into the points now. He’s 25 seconds off the lead now. Sirotkin now 11th.
Vettel has some damage and says the balance is a bit off.
Lap 13 of 53 – Ricciardo passes Gasly
Seemingly after an order from the big bosses. Some damage to the front wing of Daniel Ricciardo’s car. Not huge, though.
Verstappen holds off Bottas for now. Bottas could come into play here for Vettel. Magnussen switched to mediums in his stop and will run to the end of the race on those tyres. He hopes.
Lap 11 of 53 – Raikkonen responds
And takes three tenths out of Hamilton. Bottas closing in on Verstappen in third. Nico Hulkenerg gets a slipstream past Leclerc. Ricciardo and Gasly get close again into the first chicane.
Was there more contact? Yes? A hefty clunk as Daniel was late on the brakes into the first chicane.
Lap 9 of 53 – Hamilton sets the fastest lap
And gets within a second of Raikkonen. Will Kimi’s tyres be a problem towards the end of the first stint?
Alonso trundles into the pits from the points and looks like he’s about to retire. Vettel now up to 11th.
Lap 8 of 53 – Ricciardo and Vettel get close!
Vettel powers past Ricciardo on the straight and debris flies off Ricciardo’s car, who had just had a tap with Gasly.
Breathless stuff as Vettel moves past Leclerc after the Sauber has a heavy lock-up.
Lap 7 of 53 – Raikkonen leads by 1.2s from Hamilton
Vettel has so much work to do here. This is a disaster for him. All his hopes rely on Raikkonen holding off Hamilton now.
Lap 6 of 53 – Raikkonen leads
Vettel now in 16th, just behind Hulkenberg. Will he stop again? He changed onto soft tyres when he changed his front wing. That could be so big for the championship.
Vettel now past Nico Hulkenberg.
When Hamilton tool the lead…momentarily…
NO FURTHER ACTION ON THE VETTEL AND HAMILTON INCIDENT.
Not sure Ferrari will be happy with that but it did seem a racing incident.
Lap 4 of 53 – Hamilton tries to get a tow again
But he’s too far behind. No DRS yet. Hamilton within a second though of Raikkonen though. Verstappen third, Bottas fourth, Grosjean fifth, Sainz sixth. Both Williams into the points as well. And Alonso.
Lap 3 of 53
Raikkonen also flatspotted his tyres at the start. Safety car in this lap and Hamilton looks keen at the restart!
Hamilton is right behind him into and out of the parabolica! Surely Hamilton will take the lead here! He goes to the outside and takes the lead!
HAMILTON LEADS THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX!
But Raikkonen gets a tow into the second chicane and goes around the outside into it! Wow.
Lap 2 of 53
“I got hit by Sebastian,” Hamilton says. His team say they cannot see any damage.
The incident between Vettel and Hamilton is under investigation. They touched into the first chicane as well.
Hamilton had a huge tow going into the second chicane and tried to drive around the outside and squeezed Vettel, who then spun. Should Vettel have backed out of that one? Hmmmm.
Front wing damage for Vettel
And he pits. He blames Hamilton on the radio.
Was Vettel released safety from his stop and wing change there? Brendon Hartley is out, by the way.
THE 2018 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX IS GO!
Great start by Raikkonen who covers Vettel. Raikkonen locks up into turn one but keeps the lead! Hamilton is very close to Vettel now and Hamilton goes into the second chicane side by side AND THEY TOUCH!
Hamilton was on the outside and clipped Vettel there. Vettel spins and is down in 18th! He loses some bodywork.
SAFETY CAR OUT…
Two minutes to go until the formation lap gets underway
53 laps around the Temple of Speed. Nothing on the radar weather wise apart from a few light spots. That’s what both Mercedes drivers are told, anyway.
Top 10 all starting on used supersofts. Magnussen on fresh softs in 11th, as is Leclerc in 15th and Ricciardo in 19th and Ericsson in 18th. Everyone else on fresh supersofts.
Yesterday’s pole lap was the quickest ever lap in F1 history
At a shade over 163mph.
Today’s race could be the quickest ever as well. It’ll probably last about 75 minutes. That’s around the length of a straight-to-DVD film of the early noughties or most episodes of Ken Burns’s excellent Vietnam war documentary series. Let’s hope it’s more like the latter, eh?
15 minutes to go until lights out
What did Hamilton think of his qualifying yesterday? And his chances today?
I don’t think I could have gone any quicker. I’m sure you can always look at the data and see there’s a little bit more but of course I’m pushing the car as hard as I can and I’m really happy with the performance, really, this weekend. We just need that little bit more.
Will it be damage limitation for him today?
Sergio Aguero on the grid
Speaking to Martin Brundle about his chances and Hamilton’s chances. Not too much insight there but he’s not an F1 pundit, he’s a football player.
The run to the first turn will be crucial
It’s a fairly long drag and anything could happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some contact at some point. Will Ferrari try some kind of team orders at some point if Kimi stays in front? Mercedes have dominated at Monza since 2014, taking four wins and three 1-2s since then.
Can Bottas – who was well off the pace of his team-mate – get in amongst it as well? Ferrari have traditionally been the quicker starters this season. The pressure is on for everyone.
More of this from Daniel Ricciardo today?
He’ll need it. He’s starting from 19th.
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Just under 30 minutes to go
So here’s the grid.
A few drivers down the back there with various penalties.
The midfield battle will again be one to watch
In Q1 there was very little to choose between Kevin Magnussen in ninth and Stoffel Vandoorne in 20th. In fact, just three tenths of a second. Sergio Perez missed out on Q2 by 0.001 seconds also. Pierre Gasly did excellently to get his Toro Rosso into the top 10 and seems to be driving with the confidence of a man who knows he’ll be in one of the top teams next season: Red Bull.
The Tifosi – a reason why the Italian GP is simply fantastic
Can their team give them something to cheer about? Their first win at Monza since 2010 perhaps?
‘Unhappy’ Sebastian Vettel fails to clarify disgruntled radio message
Sebastian Vettel failed to clarify an unhappy radio message after qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Kimi Raikkonen took pole at the very end of the session, displacing Vettel from top spot. Vettel was initially elated after he crossed the line, shouting “yes!” on the team radio.
He was then immediately informed that he was only in second position and that Raikkonen had taken pole. Vettel responded with “we speak after” to his team.
In other, non F1-related news…
F2 driver, championship leader and Mercedes reserve driver George Russell took victory in the F2 sprint race at Monza this morning. With it he extends his lead over fellow Briton and McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris. Want to know a bit more about these two potential F1 stars? Click that thing below. They may both end up in F1 next year.
There is a little rain in the air today, though we aren’t expecting a downpour. But we shall see. A little sprinkling mid-way through the race could make things interesting, for sure. Or perhaps a few minutes before!
Marcus Ericsson turns 28 today
Grattis!He might consider himself lucky to be racing after a horrible crash in Friday practice. He walked away unharmed from this, remarkably.
He’s been racing well in the last few weeks but will start from 18th after replacing numerous parts on his car after the smash.
- Mercedes – 375
- Ferrari – 360
- Red Bull – 238
- Renault – 82
- Haas – 76
- McLaren – 52
- Toro Rosso – 30
- Sauber – 19
- Force India - 18
- Williams – 4
Driver standings – top six
- Hamilton – 231
- Vettel – 214
- Raikkonen – 146
- Bottas – 144
- Verstappen – 120
- Ricciardo – 118
Magnussen and Alonso spar on their hot laps…
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It didn’t work out well for either driver, there, as they were both eliminated from Q2. They both had a few unkind words to say about each other after the incident as well. Magnussen said he cannot wait for the Spaniard to retire. Alonso did remarkably well to get his McLaren into P13, though, I have to say.
Williams make it into Q3 for the first time in 2018
The situation at Williams has been rather dire for the entirety of the season. Last in the constructors’ championship with awful pace and only four points, it is a far cry from their excellent to decent results from 2014-2017. Both cars made it into Q2 for only the second time this season and for the first time since Baku.
Better than that, though, is that Lance Stroll took a Williams through to Q3 for the first time this season! He will start in tenth. It was here last year that he lined up on the front row. He obviously likes it at Monza. With Sirotkin starting just outside the points as well there is a fair chance of some points for the struggling British team.
A dramatic end to a thrilling qualifying session yesterday
If you missed it then watch the dying moments here. I think I had my breath held for the last 20 seconds or so.
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Good afternoon one and all!
Welcome to our live updates for the 2018 Italian Grand Prix from the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, a little way north-east of Milan. We’ll be here for the next few hours with all the build-up, live updates, reaction and analysis from the race.
Yesterday was one of the best qualifying sessions of the year, possibly in even recent years, as we had three drivers within a hundred or so metres of each other all going for pole at the same time, right at the death of the session.
One by one they went faster than before until Kimi Raikkonen found the speed and consistency for his first pole position of the season and indeed his first since Monaco in 2017. His wife was in tears in the Ferrari garage and, to be honest, it was the pole position many long-time F1 fans would have wanted to see, especially after the Finn’s near misses earlier in the season.
Lewis Hamilton gave it everything in his Mercedes – and was on provisional pole for a matter of moments – before Sebastian Vettel first and then Raikkonen bettered his time. There was a little confusion in the Ferrari camp soon after as Vettel thought he had secured pole. “Yes!” he said to his team on the radio. His race engineer quickly interrupted to tell him his team-mate was on pole. “We speak after,” the German replied. He later refused to clarify exactly what he was unhappy about.
Still, it was a front row lockout for Ferrari – but not really in the order they wanted – with Hamilton behind them both. And the team have proven that they, just about, have the quickest car at the moment, being quickest on raw pace for the last four races running. Mercedes have a little catching up to do.
Hamilton, though, sits 17 points ahead in the championship. A Vettel-led Ferrari 1-2 would reduce his lead – if he finished third – to just seven points with seven races remaining. But that is far from a foregone conclusion. The long run to the first corner will be crucial and Vettel has no buffer between himself and Hamilton. They could go into the first chicane in any order.
Neither of them will want to take a big risk but on cold brakes and cold tyres at high speed it could be carnage at the front or further down. It often is.
We’re about an hour and 20 away until lights out. I can’t wait.
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Lewis Hamilton takes sensational Italian GP victory after first lap collision with Sebastian Vettel have 5994 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at September 2, 2018. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.