Put Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes-Benz Formula One car and he goes into another dimension, not the Twilight Zone, but the Total Domination Zone. Hamilton entered that zone at the start of the Italian Grand Prix and did not return until he had completely dominated the race in which he was never challenged. In doing so Hamilton now takes the lead in the race for the Formula One drivers, title took his 59th career victory and earned his fourth win at Monza and sixth win of the 2017 season.
"This is obviously an incredibly exciting season; the last two races have been really strong for us as a team." said Hamilton "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 tires. 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 checkered flag."
Following Hamilton across the line and making it the third one-two Mercedes sweep of the season was Valtteri Bottas who started the race from the fourth starting spot but quickly worked his way up to be Hamilton's wingman and finish on the second step of the podium.
"Starting fourth, finishing second – I’m quite happy with that." said Bottas "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."
Finishing third much to the delight of the mostly Italian crowd was Sebastian Vettel who finished 36 seconds behind Hamilton.
“Today we were not as quick as the Mercedes, but considering where we started from, we got the best result in the race." Vettel said "It was not ideal, but we are working very hard on what we want to achieve. The next tracks should be ok for us. We know we have to work on ourselves and where. I was happy at being back here with all our supporters, I got a lot of adrenalin from being on that podium. Of course, I wanted to win, but I am confident we are on the right way. It was not a great day for us, but at the same time it was brilliant to feel all the passion. Leading the Championship is not important as much as winning the Championship, it’s where you are at the last race that counts. It is clear where we want to go, what we want to achieve.”
At lights out to start the race Hamilton got off the line cleanly sweeping across the track to block and avoid any problems with front row partner and rookie Lance Stroll. The Williams's driver making his first start from the front row did an outstanding job getting away cleanly and avoiding any problems. Rookie Esteban Ocon also starting up front for the first time tucked in behind Stroll and Hamilton. Bottas then powered through and by lap three was up into second place behind his Hamilton
Max Verstappen's nightmare season continued. After a superb start he quickly moved up to eighth place from 13th on the grid. However, on lap three while attempting to pass Felipe Massa there was contact resulting in a front-right puncture and wing damage on Verstappen's car. He made his way to the pits for a new nosecone and fresh tires and rejoined in last place.
"On lap three I had a touch with Massa and punctured my tire so my race was really over." said Verstappen "I had to pit for tires. and change the front wing which meant swapping to a two-stop strategy. I tried to catch up and the car was working pretty well, so we cannot complain about that. At least we finished the race and at the end of the day I think it wasn’t too bad to end up back in a point-scoring position after what happened at the start.”
During the late stages of the race the only real excitement was provided by Daniel Ricciardo who started 16th but had worked his way up to fourth place. As laps began to disappear Ricciardo closed on Vettel in a run on the final podium spot. As Ricciardo closed Vettel answered with a couple of late race quick laps answering Ricciardo's challenge.
“I’m very, very happy about the result and loved it out there today." said Ricciardo "It was good fun. Two of my favorite races this year have been starting from the back. Silverstone and this one. Some good overtakes in the race kept me excited and I had some real pace in the end. I could see Seb and the thought of a podium was tempting me, so I was obviously trying to catch him right up to the end. The boys did the quickest pit stop and I also got the fastest lap so that’s very cool. You can almost call it a perfect day. We couldn’t have done much more from where we started. Of course I wanted to be up there on the podium as it looked unreal, but I believe it will come next year. Today has been a really good boost for everyone and we’re looking ahead to Singapore.”
2017 Italian Grand Prix – Race
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1:15'32.310
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 1:15'36.781 4.471
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 53 1:16'08.627 36.317
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 53 1:16'12.645 40.335
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 53 1:16'32.392 1:00.082
6 Esteban Ocon Force India 53 1:16'43.838 1:11.528
7 Lance Stroll Williams 53 1:16'46.466 1:14.156
8 Felipe Massa Williams 53 1:16'47.144 1:14.834
9 Sergio Pérez Force India 53 1:16'47.586 1:15.276
10 Max Verstappen Red Bull 52 1 Lap
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas 52 1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 52 1 Lap
13 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 52 1 Lap
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 52 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 52 1 Lap
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 51 2 Laps
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 50 3 Laps
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 49 4 Laps
2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 33 Retired
30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 29 Retired
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