Lewis Hamilton wins the 2017 Italian Grand Prix at Monza
PUBLISHED: 14:21 03 September 2017 | UPDATED: 19:37 03 September 2017
Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.
Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory in the 2017 Italian Grand Prix at Monza to take the lead in the Formula One World Drivers' Championship.
The 32-year-old Mercedes driver from Hertfordshire controlled the race in Ferrari’s backyard to claim the 59th F1 victory of his career.
It was his fourth win at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and sixth win of the 2017 season.
Valtteri Bottas completed a Silver Arrows 1-2 in second place with Sebastian Vettel holding on to third place ahead of fast-finishing Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Today’s victory in Italy following his win in Belgium lifted Hamilton top of the title standings for the first time this season with 238 points to Vettel’s 235. Bottas is third on 197 points.
Hamilton said: “This is obviously an incredibly exciting season; the last two races have been really strong for us as a team.
“The way things have come together in the second half of the season is exceptional.
“Today, the car felt fantastic, particularly on that first stint.
“As we had a bit of breathing room behind us, it was easier for us to extend the life of the tyres.”
Hamilton also praised his Silver Arrows colleague.
“Valtteri did a fantastic job to get through and get this one-two.
“It is amazing to have the first back-to-back wins in a long, long time and claim the lead in the championship.
“But the fight will continue, the Ferraris have been really quick this season, especially on the high-downforce tracks.
“It will continue to be really close between us, so it will be ‘beast mode’ all the way to the last chequered flag.”
After claiming his first Monza podium, Bottas said: “Starting fourth, finishing second – I’m quite happy with that.
“What I’m really happy about is the one-two for the team!
“From my side it was a good race, even though I lost one position at the beginning.
“Luckily, I got it back quite quickly and could then overtake the Williams and the Force India.
“After that the pace was great and I was really enjoying it – the car war so strong today.
“It was amazing to be on the podium. Monza is definitely one of the best – if not the best – podiums in Formula 1.
“It’s such a great atmosphere, so much noise, so many people – I wish everyone could experience it.
“Looking forward, we know that we still have a lot of work to do, the races ahead will be a close battle with Ferrari.”
Starting from pole position for a record 69th time, Hamilton made a clean getaway and entered the first corner in the lead.
Behind him, Force India’s Esteban Ocon initially climbed into second place on the opening lap and Valtteri Bottas lost a place to Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.
Following some wheel to wheel racing, Bottas swept around the outside of Raikkonen at Parabolica to reclaim the place lost.
With Hamilton pulling clear at the front, Bottas moved into second spot to make it a Silver Arrows one-two by lap five – and the Mercedes duo dominated the race until the finish.
By lap 10, Hamilton was 2.8s clear of Bottas, with Sebastian Vettel almost 10 second adrift.
The gap continued to grow with Hamilton stretching his lead over Vettel in third place to 11 seconds by lap 12.
The three-time F1 world champion from Stevenage set a scorching pace at the front, regularly clocking laps times under 1m 25s and by lap 22 he was 4.6s ahead of his Finnish team-mate Bottas, with Vetel 13.6s back in third.
Hamilton had extended his advantage over Vettel to 23 seconds by lap 30 as Mercedes dominated.
After Vettel pitted for new tyres, Hamilton boxed for fresh rubber on lap 32 to counter any possible undercut.
And by lap 36 Hamilton had slammed in the fastest lap of the race, running under 1m 24s, with Vettel now 28 seconds adrift.
Daniel Ricciardo superbly passed Raikkonen for fourth place but was unable to snatch a podium place after starting 16th.
However, the race belonged to Hamilton who made it back-to-back wins after also taking the chequered flag at Spa.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport with 435 points lead Ferrari (373 points) by 62 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Ashley Way, head of mechanical design, accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the team in the last race of the European season.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: “I’m absolutely delighted with a one-two finish here in Monza, at such an important and historic race.
“The main thing is we took 43 points for the Constructors’ Championship and 25 points for the drivers’ today.
“Lewis is now in the lead, but ultimately it’s the positions in Abu Dhabi that count.
“But every bit of momentum matters, and we’ve had a good seven days in that respect.”
Wolff hailed Hamilton’s commanding drive.
“Lewis delivered a perfect weekend – from the impressive pole position to a faultless race drive today.
“As for Valtteri, he bounced back from the disappointment of Spa in a great way; racing hard against Kimi, then picking off Stroll and Ocon, before pulling away from the field for a very strong second-place finish.
“We have made the most of our opportunity this weekend and it was important to do so because we know Singapore will be more like a case of damage limitation for us.
“We will approach the next race with healthy scepticism, leave no stone unturned and aim to deliver every bit of performance that we can.
“If the team delivers another perfect performance like this weekend, that will be a very good starting point.”
Mercedes technical director James Allison added: “This season has been an exhilarating rollercoaster ride and we have won races by the skin of our teeth, others where we have lost by similar margins.
“But this was the most comprehensive of our eight victories so far this season.
“It was a 1-2, flawlessly executed by the team, a dominant performance and delivered on the home turf of our main competitor; all that makes it a pretty memorable day.
“Aside from the emotion, though, these points count the same as any others and put us in the lead of the drivers’ table for the first time as well as building our lead in the constructors’ standings.
“We know that sterner challenges await us in the races to come, so we need to bank these points, move on and make sure that we don’t relinquish either championship lead from now to Abu Dhabi.”