Race: Hamilton claims title lead with Monza win


Lewis Hamilton didn’t have a single challenger as he raced to the victory at the Italian GP, the first back-to-back winner of 2017, and the new championship leader.

Starting from pole position ahead of Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon, it was a race set-up for Hamilton and Mercedes to dominate – and dominate they did.

It took the Brackley squad less than four full laps to run 1-2 as Valtteri Bottas first overtook Stroll and then Ocon, two Mercedes’ customers. Hamilton was leading by 3.3s at the time.

With Bottas all the time acting as his rear guard, Hamilton raced unchallenged to the victory making him the first back-to-back winner of this season. And, more importantly, the new championship leader. He also passed the 3000 laps led mark.

Bottas was second ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who could do nothing to save the day at Ferrari’s home grand prix.

The Scuderia had a trying afternoon as Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had to battle Bottas off the line – a fight they lost – and then make their way around first Stroll and then Ocon, neither of whom would roll over.

It took Vettel eight laps to reach the provisional podium at which time he was almost ten seconds behind Hamilton. Despite his best efforts his gradually lost more time, taking the chequered flag over half a minute behind the British racer.

Daniel Ricciardo, starting P16 and on the soft Pirellis, put in an impressive drive to recover to fourth place. He dive-bombed Raikkonen down the inside at the first corner and then set about hunting down Vettel. He ran out of laps.

Raikkonen was a lacklustre fifth on a day where he spent much of his time complaining about the rear end of his SF70H. Ocon was sixth ahead of Stroll, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez.

Although Max Verstappen did complete the grand prix, he was down in 10th place. He was running eighth when he tangled with the Williams of Massa, leaving him with a front right puncture. The Dutchman was forced to pit and fell to the very back of the field, recovering to score one point.

Fernando Alonso and Jolyon Palmer clashed for the second time in as many Sundays with the Spaniard feeling that Palmer had cut the chicane at Turn Four and demanded the position back. He complained that Palmer was “killing our race” with the Renault driver handed a five-second penalty for leaving the track.

Alonso retired on lap 52 while Palmer parked it on lap 31 with a “problem with the car.” Stoffel Vandoorne was also out of the grand prix, an engine issue curtailing his running on lap 33 while Marcus Ericsson’s day also ended early.

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.32.310
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 4.471
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 36.317
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull40.335
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 60.082
6 Esteban Ocon Force India 71.528
7 Lance Stroll Williams 74.156
8 Felipe Massa Williams 74.834
9 Sergio Perez Force India 75.276
10 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1 LAP
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1 LAP
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1 LAP
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 LAP
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1 LAP
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1 LAP
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 2 LAPS
Did not finish
Alonso McLaren
Ericsson Sauber
Vandoorne McLaren
Palmer Renault