The Italian Grand Prix is one Lewis Hamilton knows well. Having won it four times, he was one shy of matching the record five times Michael Schumacher holds. Today, Hamilton can smile with pride after defying the odds and earning his fifth Italian Grand Prix championship.
Hamilton started in third position on the grid today and, with Ferrari hopeful for a win on home soil with both its drivers at the front of the grid, it watched as once again they were denied after Sebastian Vettel retired from the race during the first lap after a collision with Hamilton through the chicane. That saw Hamilton move into second, and Vettel falling to near the back of the pack.
Ferrari has failed to win the Italian Grand Prix in the last eight years. With Raikkonen in pole position and Vettel in second, they had high hopes, but by the eights lap, after watching their top driver Vettel dropping to the back, they watched as Hamilton passed Raikkonen – the rest, as they say, was history.
Italy is a tough crowd, and with Ferrari having such a loyal fan base, they were not happy with Hamilton winning on Sunday going as far as to boo as he made his way onto the podium. Commenting, Hamilton said,
“Today was so difficult. Whilst the negativity is never great, that’s what powered me along. I actually accept it.”
After winning in Belgium, Vettel had closed the gap to 17 points, but, Sunday’s win put Hamilton’s lead over to 30. In a season of going back and forth in the drivers’ championship, Vettel was disappointed. The same was true for Raikkonen, who struggled with his tires as the race neared an end and was unable to catch Hamilton finishing behind the British driver.
Wow… I’ll never forget this. We did this together. To the fans, you stood tall, loud and bright in amongst all of the negativity that surrounded us today. We rise together. To my team, I am forever grateful of your vision and passion. We never give up #StillWeRise @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/SZ19bCC6Kh
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 2, 2018
Max Verstappen finished third, Valtteri Bottas fourth and Vettel fifth. Lance Stroll, who is from Montreal, Canada earned his second top 10 result this season. Hamilton applied intense pressure on Vettel as soon as the light turned green but Vettel managed to hold his ground going into the first corner.
However, as the race approached the second chicane, Hamilton moved to the outside for another go at Vettel. The two cars came in contact with each other, and that saw Vettel spin out and lose part of his wing. Vettel entered the pits as the safety car entered the track and returned in 18th position. While the incident had both Hamilton and Vettel complaining, officials did not investigate further chalking it up to racing.
Hamilton, in speaking about that moment in the race said,
“That was definitely a very, very key moment, getting past him was the immediate goal … my race is not really with Kimi, it’s with Sebastian. However, I do need to get past Kimi at the same time. Getting past Sebastian at the beginning was clearly a massive turning point. That definitely took a lot of pressure off … I could just focus on Kimi for the whole race. We had a couple of good battles.”
After the Hamilton went on the charge passing Raikkonen only to give it up once on the straight. Vettel seemed as if on a mission to regain position charging through the pack from 18th to 10th by the fifteenth lap, however, any hopes of making the podium were lost after another unplanned pit stop.
After pitting on lap 20, Raikkonen, who was in the lead, re-entered in 4th, just behind Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen. Mercedes waited until the 28th lap before coming in for fresh tires. Re-entering third, Bottas was ahead of Raikkonen, and that gave Hamilton the time he needed to reduce the gap.
After Bottas pitted on lap 36, the battle was on. Raikkonen has a one and half second lead over Hamilton, but with tire issues, it was only two laps later that he saw Hamilton take the lead. The series now heads to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix. Punters looking to get in on F1 action will find generous sign-up bonuses at some of Canada’s preferred live betting sports sites. Register today and take advantage of the bonuses and F1 promotions.