Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has won the Italian Grand Prix for a fifth time, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record and extending his lead in the championship to 30 points, using a strategic masterstroke to pass Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for the lead eight laps from home, after contact from a botched pass by rival Sebastian Vettel on Lap 1 dropped the German out of contention.
The Brit had to work for his 68th career win, and after Vettel dropped to the back of the field - Hamilton used his Mercedes’ teammate Valtteri Bottas to slow Raikkonen into his path, after he was unable to get by at the sole pit stop; while younger tyres helped him to get past with a brilliant move around the outside into Turn 1 on Lap 45.
Naturally, Hamilton was ecstatic to get a win on Ferrari’s home turf.
“I could see so many British flags out there, and they inspired me so much for this race and that’s what I was driving for,” Hamilton said. “Big thanks to Valtteri for helping us.”
Raikkonen came home more than 8-seconds adrift, his tyres finished. Bottas closed out the podium, after Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was handed a 5-second time penalty for a clash with the Finn - pushing him wide in the braking zone into Turn 1, and ultimately off the track.
With Monza signalling the end of the European season, there’s now two weeks until the Formula 1 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix - held on the streets of Marina Bay from September 14-16.
|5||33||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||53||+18.208s||10|
Here’s how the FORMULA 1 2018 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX played-out lap-by-lap:
It’s a thrilling prospect, the 2018 Italian Grand Prix at Monza - with Ferrari locking out the front row for the 61st time in history, the first time at Monza since 2000, and the third time this season. Kimi Raikkonen on pole for the first time since Monaco 2017, his first at Monza in 12 years (2006, when he was driving for McLaren) - and he did it with the fastest lap in F1 history, his 1:19.119 set at an average of 263.588 km/h (163.785 mph). It made 38-year-old Raikkonen the oldest polesitter, his 18th pole overall, since Nigel Mansell at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix who was 41.
Vettel starts second, after towing Raikkonen to pole, and knows it’s a race he must win to close the 17-point gap to title rival Hamilton - with the Brit starting third, on the clean side of the grid. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas sits behind Hamilton for an all-Mercedes second row, with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in fifth but a mega start or attrition needed for him to come into the front fight. Haas’ Romain Grosjean completes the third row, starting sixth, though knows he needs to continue his run of strong races for a chance at keeping his drive for 2019.
The Mercedes-powered Williams cars are in strong spots, with Lance Stroll starting 10th, Sergey Sirotkin 12th. But with a raft of strong drivers coming from behind they’ll have it all to do to improve from there. Racing Point Force India’s Sergio Perez starts in 14th, with the Mexican out of Q1 for only the second time in three years - after the team miscalculated time improvements from an evolving track.
At the back of the grid is Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, who is not only penalised 10 places for causing a multi-car collision at the previous race in Belgium, but has taken an entirely new set of power unit elements – including a Spec B, rather than the newer Spec C engine. Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has taken the C-spec, though, taking a raft of penalties. He will start 19th. His teammate Verstappen also has the C-spec, but it is within his allocation. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson starts from 18th, after a huge crash in FP2 - when his DRS failed open, forcing him into a barrel roll, with a peak of 25G. He has been penalised 10 places, with the Swede taking on a new internal combustion engine (ICE).
We’re expecting a one-stop race, with the majority starting on the supersofts and switching to the softs around lap 20-30. That’s the pit window, with variations possible within that. The race has been won from pole position 10 times in the last 13 years, and 14 of the last 19. With seven of the last eight races in F1 won by the polsitter. So Raikkonen is in a good place, but he’s not the title chaser so we are likely to see Ferrari try and engineer a way to get Vettel ahead for the championship if he can’t get ahead at the start. Lots to look forward to in terms of strategy, and team orders. It’s a low chance of rain, with ambient temperature at 21 degrees Celsius, track temperature 28.
The top-10 are starting on used supersofts, as per their fastest lap in Q2. The balance of the field is also on new supersofts, with just Magnussen (P11), Leclerc (P15), Ericsson (P18) and Ricciardo (P19) on the yellow softs.
Raikkonen gets a good start and covers off Vettel. He leads, with Vettel second, Hamilton overtakes Kimi into the Roggia chicane and Vettel spins after the pair touch, with the Ferrari’s front wing endplate sheared off. Safety car has been deployed for the first time at Monza since 2011. This is disastrous for Vettel’s world championship campaign.
We’re still under the safety car. Vettel pits, as does Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Ericsson. Hartley out of the race, stopped on the side of the track. Vettel could get a penalty for an unsafe release, into the path of Ericsson’s Sauber. Vettel and Hamilton contact is now under investigation by the stewards. Vettel dropping to the rear of the field. Hartley’s suspension destroyed by Vandoorne passing him at the start.
Still under safety car. Order is Raikkonen, Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, grosjean, Sainz, Ocon, Stroll, Sirotkin, Alonso, Gasly, Magnussen, Perez, Leclerc, Vandoorne, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Vettel and Ericsson.
Hamilton is making a move on Raikkonen, takes the lead into Turn 1. Sainz goes wide after Grosjean pushes him into Turn 1. Raikkonen is trying again and passes Hamilton into the Roggia chicane for the lead again. This is incredible!
Raikkonen leads Hamilton by 0.5sec, as the Finn sets the fastest lap, a 1:25.439. Vettel down in P17. Ricciardo passes Vandoorne for P15 into the Roggia chicane, Vettel passing him as well. No further action for Vettel and Hamilton at start.
Raikkonen sets another fastest lap, a 1:24.871, he’s a few tenths faster than Hamilton - who is 0.9sec adrift.
Hamilton betters his fastest lap, a 1:24.827 - so the Brit responding immediately. Alonso retains 10th, with Perez fighting him hard into Turn 1. So it’s Raikkonen, Hamilton and Verstappen in the top-three.
Raikkonen sets another fastest lap, a 1:24.538 - 1-second ahead of Hamilton now. Bottas in P4 is chasing down Verstappen, 1.1 sec the difference. Ricciardo in P14 is racing Gasly, with a touch at the Roggia chicane.
Vettel is racing Ricciardo, and he gets past for P14 down the pit straight. Raikkonen leads Hamilton, just 0.9 seconds the gap now. Vettel passes Leclerc for P13 before the Lesmo 1.
Now Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:24.349. He’s slightly closed the gap to Raikkonen to just 0.8 sec. Vettel has passed Gasly for P11. Alonso is stopping, and going very slowly. Engine off. He looks to be set to retire.
Raikkonen leads Hamilton, Verstappen in P3 is 4.3 seconds adrift. Hulkengerg passes Leclerc for P14 down the pit straight. Gasly and Ricciardo are racing hard, having touched for the second time into Turn 1. The pair fighting over more than just 12th place.
Raikkonen is just 0.7 sec ahead of Hamilton, the pair lapping within a tenth of each other. Perez in P10 is racing Sirotkin, just half a second between them. Ricciardo has passed Gasly for P12 into Turn 1, without issue this time.
Raikkonen is staying strong out front, with Hamilton on his tail. Vettel is in P11, 2.6 seconds behind Sirotkin. Ocon in P7 is 0.5 seconds adrift of Sainz.
Ocon passes Sainz for P6 into turn 1 using DRS. Raikkonen still just 1-second ahead of Hamilton. Hulkenberg in P14 is less than a second behind Gasly. Vettel passes Sirotkin at Ascari, though still complains of damage on his car.
Raikkonen just a tenth faster than Hamilton on that last lap, 1.3 seconds the gap at the front. The pair are the only ones in the 1:24s.
Vettel chasing down Stroll, and gets past for P9 into Turn 1. Perez ahead will be his next prey.
Top-five covered by 19-seconds. Vettel passes Perez for P8 into turn 1, but goes too deep - he’s back in P9. Raikkonen leads Hamilton by 0.9 seconds, so within DRS range.
Vettel is staying close to eighth-placed Perez. He takes P8 into turn 1 and is past. Both cars suffering damage, Perez from earlier contact with Magnussen into the Curva Grande.
Hamilton says his tyres are still good, and he looks very close to Raikkonen on this lap. Bottas tries to make a move on Verstappen at Turn 1, forcing the Dutchman wide - but he rejoins ahead.
Hamilton looks much closer on this lap, 0.6 sec the gap. This will get closer and closer. Bottas in P4 is all over Verstappen now. Vettel passes Sainz for P7 down the pit straight. Ocon is ahead, 3.7 seconds up the road. Hamilton is really edging closer to Raikkonen.
Raikkonen pits from the lead, it’s onto the softs - 2.2 second stop, so a quick one. Mercedes was out in the pit lane, so they bluffed. Hamilton now leads, it’s Hammer time to make the fresh air work.
Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:23.611 - and he does not pit, as Mercedes returns to the garage with tyres. Staying out, staying out - you have pace, Mercedes tells Hamilton. Raikkonen told to push, so this lap is critical to the race lead.
Hamilton stays out. Bottas trying to get past Verstappen for P2. Both Hamilton and Raikkonen doing 1:23.9s. So both are giving their all in the chance to stay ahead.
Hamilton staying out again, but Raikkonen says rain on circuit - as the Finn in P4 does the fastest lap, a 1:23.535. Vettel passes Ocon for P5 into turn 1. Ricciardo has engine problems, a blown engine - and he pulls off after Roggia chicane. It’s yellow flags.
Raikkonen is 20-seconds behind Hamilton, so looks like he will have the time in hand to lead after Hamilton pits. Hamilton leads Verstappen by 13.2 seconds. But a pit stop could drop him back to P5, ahead of Vettel. Are we going to see a safety car?
All the issues have clouded whether Mercedes should pit. Raikkonen has done enough on new softs, but if we get a safety car Hamilton will take the lead.
Verstappen pits from P2, releasing Bottas. He goes onto the softs, and exits in P6. So the order is Hamilton, Bottas, Raikkonen, Vettel and Ocon closes out the top-five. Both Mercedes are yet to stop, with Bottas able to run interference against Raikkonen behind.
Bottas told to keep Kimi behind him. Hamilton’s right front is blistering.
Hamilton pits from the lead. He’s onto the softs, 2.4 seconds - as Raikkonen does the fastest lap, a 1:23.515. Hamilton exits behind Raikkonen, quite a way back - in P3. Verstappen passes Ocon for P5 down the pit straight. Bottas becomes a crucial rear gunner, the Finn leading the race, 1.2 seconds ahead of Raikkonen.
Bottas leads Raikkonne by 1-second. As Vettel pits, he’s onto the supersofts. 2.9 second stop, so rather slow. Vettel exits in P10. He’s made the move as softs were going off. Raikkonen will have DRS on next lap, with Bottas trying to slow him down.
Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:22.497. He’s 3.4 seconds behind Raikkonen - and needs his teammate to hold up the Finn to get close.
Bottas manages to keep Raikkonen behind him for another lap, the Finn setting a personal best lap as the pair head into Turn 1. Hamilton is now just 2-seconds behind Raikkonen. Vettel passes Stroll for P8 into Turn 1. Sainz is 5.3 seconds ahead.
Bottas keeps Raikkonen behind him yet again into Turn 1 - excellent interference by the Finn. Hamilton is now 0.7 seconds behind Kimi, who has blistered his left rear.
Hamilton is so close to Raikkonen now, the Brit in P3 and within DRS range - locks up into Turn 1. Raikkonen is in a Silver Arrows sandwich. Vettel is chasing down Sainz, and he’s past for P7.
The leading trio approach Vandoorne at Turn 1, so there’s traffic to deal with now. This is an amazing battle. Mercedes versus Ferrari at Monza, just what the sport needs. Gasly and Leclerc pit.
Bottas retains P1 into Turn 1, ahead of Raikkonen and Hamilton. 1.8 seconds covering the top-three.
Bottas pits from P1, releasing Raikkonen and Hamilton - he’s onto the softs, 2.4 second stop and retains P4 on exit. Raikkonen told to keep his tyres alive, under pressure from Mercedes to take his first win since Australia 2013.
Raikkonen leads Hamilton by 0.7 seconds. Vettel is now chasing down Perez for P6. Hamilton has DRS to assist.
Raikkonen 0.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Vettel in P5, having passed Ocon down on the way to Ascari. Hamilton looking much closer to Raikkonen on this lap.
Hamilton very close to Raikkonen into Turn 1, but cannot pass. Bottas in P4 is catching Verstappen, 1.5 seconds the gap there.
Raikkonen leads Hamilton, the gap now just 0.5 seconds. But the Finn’s tyres look in far worse condition, and 8-laps older.
Raikkonen retains the lead, while Bottas comes from a long way back to try and pass Verstappen for P3 into Turn 1 - but can’t make it stick. The leaders are passing traffic.
Hamilton got a tow from Sirotkin, getting him closer to Raikkonen. Bottas has gone wide at Turn 1. He’s dropped way back from Verstappen, after the Dutchman pushes him wide in the braking zone.
10 laps to go - and Hamilton is much closer to Raikkonen on this lap into Turn 1.
Hamilton takes the lead around the outside of Raikkonen into Turn 1, barging his way through. Amazing! Hard but fair racing from both F1 World Champions.
Verstappen has taken a 5-second time penalty for causing a collision with Bottas, who is 1.9 seconds behind. Hamilton is now 2.7 seconds ahead of Raikkonen.
Hamilton is stretching his legs, 3.3 seconds ahead of Raikkonen. Bottas in P4 is chasing down Verstappen, 1-second the gap. The leaders have lapped up to P10.
Hamilton now 4.4 seconds ahead of Raikkonen. Bottas all over the back of Verstappen now. Vettel is in P5, 7-seconds behind Bottas.
Hamilton now 5.4 seconds ahead of Raikkonen. Bottas tries to pass Verstappen into the Roggia chicane, but can’t make it stick. “I know I’m losing time to Vettel, but I really don’t care,” says Verstappen.
Hamilton just extending out front, 6.5 seconds lead over Raikkonen.
Verstappen keeps Bottas behind, with the Dutchman now taking it all personally - the pair doing fairly similar times, 1:23.7s.
Raikkonen told vibration on tyres are critical (especially left rear), Sirotkin unlapping himself at Turn 1.
Lap 53 - FINAL LAP:
Vettel has taken fourth. Hamilton takes his 68th Grand Prix win, his fifth at Monza - equalling Michael Schumacher’s record.
|5||33||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||53||+18.208s||10|
|7||31||Force India Mercedes||53||+57.761s||6|
|8||11||Force India Mercedes||53||+58.678s||4|
|10||18||Williams Mercedes||52||+1 lap||1|
|11||35||Williams Mercedes||52||+1 lap||0|
|12||16||Sauber Ferrari||52||+1 lap||0|
|13||2||McLaren Renault||52||+1 lap||0|
|15||10||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||52||+1 lap||0|
|16||9||Sauber Ferrari||52||+1 lap||0|
|17||20||Haas Ferrari||52||+1 lap||0|
|NC||3||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||23||DNF||0|
|NC||28||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||0||DNF||0|