Hamilton Leads Dominant Mercedes 1-2 at Monza

Lewis Hamilton took the lead in the Fornila One Drivers’ title standings ahead of Sebastian Vettel after he headed a Mercedes one-two at the Italian Grand Prix.

The Silver Arrows were utterly dominant at Monza with Hamilton beating third-placed Sebastian Vettel by more than 36 seconds. The Briton’s sixth win of the season puts him three points clear of Ferrari driver Vettel at the top of the Drivers’ standings after 13 races.

While Mercedes’ progress to the top two places in the race was largely processional after Bottas had risen to P2 in the opening laps, the race was enlivened by the performance of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who rose from 16th on the grid to claim fourth place at the flag.

Hamilton held his lead at the start, with Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon tucking in behind the polesitter. Their hold on the podium positions was shortlived, however, and after dropping back at the start, Bottas powered through and by lap three was up into second place behind his team-mate.

Further back Max Verstappen had made a superb start and by the end of lap one the Red Bull driver was up to eighth place from 13th on the grid. However, in attempting to get past Felipe Massa, there was contact and the Dutch driver sustained a front-right puncture and wing damage. He made his way to the pits for a new nosecone and fresh tyres and rejoined in last place.

Vettel too was pushing forward and after passing team-mate Kimi Räikkönen, the Ferrari driver managed to put himself into a podium spot by bypassing Ocon for P3 on lap eight.

Hamilton, though, was setting phenomenal pace and by lap 12 the Mercedes driver was 3.1s clear of team-mate Bottas and a full eight seconds ahead of championship leader Vettel.

By lap 28 Hamilton had more than doubled his advantage over his title rival, the gap now 18.0s. Behind the top three, however, it was Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo who was on charge.

The Australian had qualified third but engine-related penalties had dropped him to 16th place on the grid. After the start he was quickly on the attack, however, and over the course of the first 10 laps he steadily picked off his rivals to sit in ninth place.

He executed a superb move on Perez at the second chicane to claim another spot and then as drivers ahead pitted for fresh tyres, he rose to fourth place behind Vettel.

The German was the first of the podium-placed drivers to pit, at the e3nd of lap 31. He took on soft tyres and rejoined in fourth place. Hamilton made the same switch a lap later and he was followed by Bottas at the end of lap 33.

Ricciardo, though, continued to push on and on lap 35 he was 10.8s behind Bottas and 8.7s ahead of Vettel and 20 seconds clear of fifth-placed Räikkönen.

The Red Bull driver was the last of the frontrunners to pit and after a swift 2.2s stop for soft tyres he emerged 2.6s behind Räikkönen.

Armed with fresher tyres Ricciardo began to take chunks out of the Finn and on lap 41 he pounced, blasting past the Ferrari driver into the first chicane in a clinical overtaking move. He then set off after third-placed Vettel, lapping a second quicker than the German was who 11s ahead with 11 laps remaining.

Ricciardo’s pursuit of a podium place was the most diverting element of what, at the front, had become something of a procession. On lap 45, Hamilton was a comfortable 3.7s ahead of Bottas, while the Finn was a whopping 28.6s ahead of Vettel who was now struggling somewhat.

On lap 45 Ricciardo set the quickest time of the race to that point, a lap of 1:23.748. That was again a second quicker than Vettel on the same tour and the gap between the former Red Bull team-mate shrank to 8.7s.

With Mercedes secure in the top two positions, it was all about Ricciardo and Vettel in the closing stages and the Australian set a sequence of purple laps to closed to within five seconds of the German with four laps remaining.

With two laps remaining, though, Vettel responded and a personal best widened the gap to a comfortable 4.8s as he made sure that the threat from the Red Bull driver was nullified.

Ricciardo, though, had done enough to enliven a race utterly dominated by Mercedes and as Hamilton secured his 59th career win, 4.4s ahead of Bottas and some 36s ahead of Vettel, Ricciardo took a brave, battling and superbly executed fourth place.

Behind him, Räikkönen finished in P5. Ocon took sixth place ahead of Stroll, with neither youngster undoing the good work they had completed in qualifying and only the limitations of their machinery forcing them backwards.

Felipe Massa was eighth in the second Williams, while Perez was ninth for Force India. After his initial woes, Verstappen recovered to the final point on offer with tenths place, though the Dutch drivers was placed under investigation in the closing stages after appearing to force Kevin Magnussen off track as they battled for P10.

2017 Italian Grand Prix – Race 
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1:15’32.310
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 1:15’36.781 4.471
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 53 1:16’08.627 36.317
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 53 1:16’12.645 40.335
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 53 1:16’32.392 1:00.082
6 Esteban Ocon Force India 53 1:16’43.838 1:11.528
7 Lance Stroll Williams 53 1:16’46.466 1:14.156
8 Felipe Massa Williams 53 1:16’47.144 1:14.834
9 Sergio Pérez Force India 53 1:16’47.586 1:15.276
10 Max Verstappen Red Bull 52 1 Lap
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas 52 1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 52 1 Lap
13 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 52 1 Lap
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 52 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 52 1 Lap
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 51 2 Laps
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 50 3 Laps
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 49 4 Laps
2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 33 Retired
30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 29 Retired


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