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Italian GP 2018


Race Notes - Hamilton wins Italian GP

Lewis Hamilton, Italian GP 2018
© RV Press

By Mark Karp

Lewis Hamilton fended off the Ferrari challenge to win the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in his Mercedes GP. Hamilton passing Raikkonen in his Ferrari on lap 45, to win. Raikkonen finished second, 8.7 seconds behind. Max Verstappen finished third on track, but incurred a 5-second penalty for making contact with Bottas.

Hamilton leads the championship now by 30 points over Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas finished third in the second Mercedes GP, 13.569s behind the winner.

Sebastian Vettel (16.669s), after making contact with Hamilton on lap 1, came back and finished fourth, followed by Verstappen in his Red Bull-Renault in fifth, Romain Grosjean (57.952s) in the Haas-Ferrari was sixth, Esteban Ocon (58.831s) in the Force India-Mercedes was seventh, his team mate Sergio Perez (59.781s) was eighth, Carlos Sainz (1m19.026s) in the Renault was ninth, and Lance Stroll (1 lap) in the Williams-Mercedes finished in tenth place.

Before the start, with cloudy skies and a few sprinkles, with a 60% chance of rain. Raikkonen sits on pole, ahead of Vettel in an all-Ferrari front row. The Mercrdes duo on the second row, Hamilton ahead of Bottas. Verstappen and Grosjean on row three. Sainz and Ocon on row four, and Gasly and Stroll rounding out the top ten. A one-stop strategy is expected. The top ten on supersoft tyres. Magnussen, Leclerc, Ericsson and Ricciardo on soft tyres.

At the appointed time the grid cleared and the field was off on the formation lap. the lights went off and the race began with Raikkonen and Vettel take the lead, at the second Vettel and Hamilton go side-by-side and Vettel spins. The safety car is out, Vettel limps around and pits and changes his front wing. Vettel switches to soft tyres. Hulkenberg pits for soft tyres, Ricciardo pits for supersoft tyres. Ericsson for supersoft tyres. Hartley pits for damage.

Raikkonen leads Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Grosjean, Sainz, Ocon, and Stroll.

At the start of lap 4 the safety car comes in, Hamilton takes the lead into the first chicane, but into the second chicane Raikkonen retakes the lead, ahead of Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Grosjean - Ricciaardo runs 16th, Vettel 17th.

On lap 6 Magnussen and Perez touch in Parabolica, but both continue.

On lap 7 Raikkonen sets fast lap at 1m24.548s.

On lap 8 Vettel passes Ricciardo for 14th, then passes Leclerc for 13th.

On lap 9 Hamilton sets fast lap ay 1m24.349s. Alonso retires in the pits.

At lap 10, Raikkonen leads Hamilton by 1.1s, followed by Verstappen (5.1s), Bottas (6.3s), Grosjean (12.9s), Sainz (14.7s), Ocon (15.7s), Stroll (18.1s), Sirotkin (19.2s) and Perez (20.3s) in tenth - Vettel in 11th, Ricciardo in 13th.

On lap 14 Ocon passes Sainz into the first chicane to take sixth place.

Vettel passes Sirotkin for tenth place. Vettel reports that his car is not balanced, and thinks he still has damage.

Vandoorne reports his right rear tyre is blistering.

On lap 16 Vettel passes Stroll for ninth place.

On lap 17 Vettel attempts to pass Perez, but can not make it stick.

On lap 18 Vettel passes Perez into the first corner to take eighth place.

Verstappen and Bottas battle for third, both locking up into the first chicane.

On lap 20 Vettel passes Sainz into the first corner to take seventh place.

Raikkonen, the race leader pits and switches to soft tyres, and rejoins in fourth.

At lap 20 Hamilton leads Verstappen, by 9.7s, followed by Bottas (10.7s), Raikkonen (22.5s), Grosjean (27.1s), Ocon (28.9s), Vettel (30.2s), Sainz (33.7s), Perez (34.9s) and Stroll (38.8s) in tenth place.

The Mercedes crew tell Hamilton “it is hammer time.”

On lap 21, Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m23.611s.

Raikkonen reports that some sprinkles are falling at the back of the track.

On lap 24 Vettel passes Ocon for fifth place.

Grosjean pits and switches to soft tyres. Ricciardo pulls off to the side of the track with another engine failure.

On lap 27 Verstappen pits from second place, switches to soft tyres and rejoins in sixth place.

On lap 28 Hamilton pits from the lead and switches to soft tyres, and rejoins behind Raikkonen in third.

Raikkonen sets fast lap at 1m23.515s.

Verstappen passes Ocon for fifth place. Vettel pits for a second time and switches to supersoft tyres, and he rejoins in tenth place.

At lap 30 Bottas leads Raikkonen by 1.03s, followed by Hamilton (3.5s), Verstappen (21.2s), Ocon (25.5s), Perez (29.6s), Sainz (35.2s), Stroll (41.1s) and Sirotkin (43.8s) in tenth place.

Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m22.491s.

On lap 32 Vettel passes Stroll for eighth place. Raikkonen is closing on Bottas in the lead - Hamilton is closing on Raikkonen. Raikkonen’s left-rear tyres seems to be blistering.

The top 3 covered by 1.5 seconds.

On lap 36 Bottas pits from the lead, switching to soft tyres, and rejoins behind Verstappen in fourth place.

Raikkonen retakes the lead, less than a second ahead of Hamilton. Raikkonen has rear tyre damage, while Hamilton has some signs that he locked up his left-front - but a fresher set of tyres.

On lap 38 Ocon pits from sixth, for soft tyres, and rejoins in ninth. The next lap Perez and Sainz both pit.

At lap 40 Raikkonen leads Hamilton by 1.0s, followed by Verstappen (18.4s), Bottas (19.7s), Vettel (33.7s), Grosjean (54.0s), Ocon (57.2s), Perez (63.1s), Sainz (75.6s) and Stroll (77.4s) in tenth place.

Bottas closes on Verstappen in third.

Hulkenberg pits from 11th for supersoft tyres, and rejoins in 16th.

Bottas and Verstappen run into the first chicane, Verstappen moves over and the two touch, Bottas has to take to the run-off, and loses ground.

On lap 45 Hamilton makes a run on Raikkonen, brakes down the outside of turn 1, the two go side-by-side, and Hamilton takes the lead.

Verstappen is handed a five-second penalty for contact with Bottas - he currently leads Bottas by a second.

The positions to the end remained the same to lap 53, Hamilton winning over Raikkonen and Bottas.