Monza, near Milan in Italy, always delivers a lot of history, and passion for Ferrari, but this year it also delivered a lot of rain. Especially on Saturday – with the deluge forcing qualifying to be delayed for over two hours.
But, even the sodden conditions couldn’t stop Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who stormed to his 69th pole position – eclipsing Michael Schumacher for the all-time record, which he set at the 2006 French Grand Prix.
Hamilton followed it up with a crushing win in the dry on Sunday, his fourth in five years at Monza, and 59th overall, the three-time World Champion cruising home to take the championship lead for the first time this year.
At the start, Hamilton got away well, while Williams’ Lance Stroll, starting from the front row, was passed by Force India’s Esteban Ocon into Turn 1 to take second – ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. The Silver Arrows driver got past for fourth place into the next lap, and rose to second by lap four.
It was another tough race for Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, who got a puncture and damage – following contact with Williams’ Felipe Massa on Lap 3, the Dutchman forced to pit for a new front wing.
Up front, Hamilton and Bottas traded fastest laps while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel passed Räikkönen – then Ocon for third, on Lap 8.
Räikkönen was the first of the main pack to pit on Lap 15, with Ocon doing the same a lap later to protect against the undercut.
On Lap 31, Vettel pitted - followed by Hamilton on the next lap to cover him - and then Bottas on Lap 33, retaining the status quo for the podium places.
Behind the top-three, Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo was on a charge, flat-out – having passed Räikkönen on Lap 41 with a supreme late-braking move into Turn 1. He pushed to close Vettel down for the podium, but just ran out of laps – even with a 1-second per lap advantage.
But it was Hamilton’s day, with the Brit on top form – becoming the first driver to take two-consecutive wins this season, even taunting the Italian crowd on the podium.
“Mercedes power is definitely better than Ferrari power, so it worked well this weekend,” he said as the crowd erupted.
As broadcast on 05/09/2017.