Lewis Hamilton pulls major upset in Ferrari’s backyard to extend championship lead in Monza
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News September 2, 2018 Updated: 1:34 PM PT
MONZA, Italy — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, in a surprising victory, beat Ferrari on their home soil and extends his championship lead ahead of Sebastian Vettel at Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
A mixture of brilliant driving and strategy saw Hamilton take his 68th career victory and tying Formula One legend Michael Schumacher for most wins at Monza.
“I just want to say a huge thank you to these guys and everyone back home, because without their support, without their continued efforts this wouldn’t be possible today, their continued belief. Also, here there was a lot of negativity, as there is when you’re against an opposing team, and I could see so many British flags out there, they know who they are. I was pointing them out and they inspired me so much for this race and that’s what I was driving for. In future, the negativity is really a positive thing for me because I harness it and turn it from negative to positive,” Hamilton said ignoring the boos from the thousands of Ferrari fans at attendance.
Kimi Raikkonen finished second after Hamilton chased down the Finnish driver after their final round of pit stops.
Raikkonen found himself in a silver arrow sandwich when the team opted to leave Valtteri Bottas out to cover Raikkonen. From there it was a matter of patience and driving mastery from Hamilton as Raikkonen’s tires began to fade.
Well within DRS range on lap 45, Hamilton went to the outside of Raikkonen in Turn 1 and held the inside coming out ahead of the Ferrari at Turn 2. Raikkonen would go on to take a milestone 100th podium in second.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third after having a scrap with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who was handed a five second time penalty after colliding with Bottas at Turn 1. Verstappen’s penalty would just add to Red Bull’s difficult day after losing Daniel Ricciardo early on in the race.
Verstappen’s penalty also elevated fifth place Sebastian Vettel to fourth after the German driver was forced claw his way up the field after he suffered a spin from making contact with Lewis Hamilton during the first lap of the race.
Vettel now finds himself 30 points behind Hamilton making the biggest deficit in the championship so far.
Following Verstappen’s move to fifth, Haas’ Romain Grosjean finished sixth but was disqualified after a protest was made by Renault against Grosjean. Grosjean’s car was found in breach of Article 3.7.1.d of the 2018 FIA Technical Regulations.
Grosjean’s disqualification reshuffled the grid moving Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez to sixth and seventh. Renault’s Carlos Sainz was moved to eighth along with Williams driver Lance Stroll to ninth. This moved Stroll’s teammate Sergey Sirotkin into tenth giving the Russian driver his first points finish of his career.
Charles Leclerc finished 11th for Sauber with Stoffel Vandoorne in 12th who’s fate remains unknown at McLaren. Teammate Fernando Alonso was forced to retire from what may very well be his final Italian Grand Prix after encountering a suspected electrical issue.
Nico Hulkenberg finished 13th for Renault follow by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in 14th. Gasly’s teammate Brendon Hartley was forced to retire after receiving heavy damage from his contact with Marcus Ericsson and Stoffel Vandoorne at the start of the race. Ericsson went on to finish 15th with Grojean’s Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen rounding out the final place on the grid in 16th.