Hamilton has the momentum and the other things we learned from the Italian Grand Prix

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Momentum with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after Monza win.

Lewis Hamilton has moved to the summit of the Formula One championship for the first time this season following his victory at the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton is now three points clear of rival Sebastian Vettel after beating the Ferrari driver on the Italian team’s home turf at Monza.

Here, Press Association Sport looks back at the main talking points from Sunday’s race.

HAMILTON HAS THE MOMENTUM AFTER MONZA WIN

It had been 350 days since Hamilton last led the F1 standings, but following his second win in as many grands prix, and indeed his third from his last four, the Englishman has usurped Vettel at the summit with a crushing victory in Ferrari’s back yard.

Hamilton has been in scintillating form since the summer break, securing back-to-back pole positions – surpassing Michael Schumacher’s all-time record – and crucially securing back-to-back wins, too.

The slow, twisty nature of Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit may play into Ferrari’s hands, but the margin of Hamilton’s victory in Monza suggests Vettel will have his work cut out to stop him from marching towards a fourth world title.

WHEN WILL THE MISERY STOP FOR MCLAREN?

McLaren endured another miserable weekend here after both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne failed to make it to the end of the race. McLaren are desperate to split with their engine partner Honda and hope to be powered by Renault next year.

To make the deal work, the British team need Honda to stay in the sport and power Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso. Whether the Japanese manufacturer will want to do so remains to be seen.

McLaren expect their engine future to be resolved by Singapore, but whatever happens, expect Alonso to sign a new contract to stay with the British constructor.

PALMER “DOESN’T CARE” ABOUT ALONSO

Jolyon Palmer remains one of only two drivers yet to score a point this season, and the Englishman, 26, endured another disappointing weekend when he was forced to park his Renault with a mechanical issue.

Palmer was also hit with a five-second penalty from the stewards after he was adjudged to have skipped the chicane while duelling with Alonso.

The Spaniard said it was “karma” when he was informed that Palmer had retired.

But speaking after the race, the luckless Renault driver protested his innocence. “I was ahead coming in the corner and he [Alonso] braked super late and forced me off the track,” Palmer said.

“I’m sure it will be another talking point at the next race because Fernando is not very happy about it but I don’t care.”

RICCIARDO REMINDS HORNER OF MANSELL

Daniel Ricciardo won the fans’ award for Driver of the Day after he roared from 16th to fourth at the Temple of Speed. The Australian qualified third, but was bumped down the grid following penalties for engine and gearbox changes.

Yet he completed a remarkable comeback by soaring past Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages and finished only four seconds adrift of Vettel in third.

“He’s one of the best overtakers out there,” Ricciardo’s Red Bull boss Christian Horner said. “He has the ability to brake late and still make the apex. It was Nigel Mansell-esque.”

OCON IMPRESSES AGAIN

Esteban Ocon, the 20-year-old Frenchman competing in his first full F1 season, delivered another impressive performance at Monza.

Ocon was bumped up to third – following grid penalties for Max Verstappen and Ricciardo – and was second by turn one after he leapfrogged Lance Stroll at the start.

Ocon eventually finished sixth, but his stock continues to rise.

He is only three points shy of his experienced Force India team-mate Sergio Perez, and has finished in the top 10 at all but one of the races this year – a record which can only be bettered by Hamilton and Vettel.

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Lewis Hamilton feeling empowered after Italian Grand Prix win

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Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton hailed the feeling of leading the championship for the first time this year as “empowering” following his triumph at the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton became the first driver to win consecutive races this season after he followed up his victory in Belgium with a crushing display at the home of rival Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari team on Sunday.

The Englishman has moved three points ahead of Vettel, who finished third, with Valtteri Bottas splitting the title rivals at Monza.

Hamilton has won three of the last four grands prix – a run which started at July’s British Grand Prix – to move to the summit of the championship for the first time since this stage one year ago.

Hamilton lost his battle to Nico Rosberg last term, but on current form and with seven rounds remaining, it would now take a brave person to bet against the British driver marching to a fourth title.

“It’s an empowering feeling because it has been a constant search and battle for perfection which is what has been needed to overhaul the Ferraris as they have been exceptional all year long,” Hamilton said.

“I definitely feel like I have found more heart and passion within myself in the last three or four races. Silverstone was an empowering weekend and that has kind of sparked a forest fire in me and that is hopefully reflecting in my driving.

“While I feel like I always drive with my heart – my heart is really the engine, the power and the force behind what I do – my mind is like the rudder, and I feel like it has been steering me in the right direction.”

Twenty-four hours after Hamilton turned in a wet-weather masterclass to surpass Michael Schumacher’s all-time pole position record, the Mercedes driver held off the chasing pack on the long run down to turn one at Monza and from there never looked back.

The passionate Tifosi jeered Hamilton as he collected his winner’s trophy, but the Brit, who finished 36 seconds clear of Vettel, was not fazed by the boos from the record Italian crowd. He even claimed he drowned out their disdain by recalling the lyrics of a song he had written.

“I had a real nice song playing in my head so the boos kind of went over my head,” Hamilton, 32, added. “It was one of my own, so you won’t know it.

“It is to be expected in Italy and over the last 10 years it has been common to have the boos if a Ferrari driver is not on the top step of the podium.

“Inevitably you are going to be the enemy and the villain here if you are the one stopping the Ferraris. But some days I am happy to be the villain.

“I just tried to remain respectful. I admire their passion, and they feel like football fans here – the aggressive ones – but is all in the name of love for the red car.”

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Force India driver Esteban Ocon's performance at Italian GP proves he has all the qualities to become future F1 Champion

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20-year-old Ocon was impressive at Monza.

For the first time this season, Lewis Hamilton leads the World Championship, leapfrogging Sebastian Vettel to a three-point advantage following his sixth victory of the season at the Italian Grand Prix.

The resultant praise was deserving following on from a record 69th pole in treacherous conditions the preceding day, potentially paving the way for another world title depending on how Mercedes fare at the subsequent Ferrari-suited circuits.

For Hamilton, it would be a fourth world title but for Esteban Ocon, another notable star from Monza, the aspiration burns bright for a first World Championship win.

And the signs are that Ocon could well find himself alongside Hamilton as his teammate for the 2019 season should the stars align.

Ocon may not have earned the plaudits that Hamilton did as a rookie, partly because he does not have a race-winning car at his disposal as the Briton did during his debut campaign at McLaren.

But the 20-year-old has earned no shortage of praise simply because of the fact he has won points at every single race bar the Monaco Grand Prix.

Force India are quick and competitive this season although not in the same bracket as Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull for that matter, meaning the true chance to shine is when the field is levelled by the rain.

It was in exactly such conditions that Ocon shone to park his car third on the grid for Sunday’s race, the latest in a long line of facets that have him earmarked as a champion in the making, and then backing it up with sixth in the race.

Prior to this season, he had already done enough to leapfrog Pascal Wehrlein for a Force India drive, the German the favourite at one stage to join Hamilton at Mercedes.

Like Wehrlein, Ocon is on Mercedes’ driver development programme but is clearly in the No1 spot and, with every drive, Mercedes know that sooner or later they will have to make a decision on his long-term future.

He is tied into Force India for a second season but looks a reasonable bet to step up to the Mercedes team full-time in 2019 depending on how the Hamilton-Valtteri Bottas dynamic works.

Ocon has all the signs of a future champion. There are the drives in the junior ranks: first as a national then international star in karting, a European Formula 3 champion in 2014 – in which he beat a certain Max Verstappen to the title – and the GP3 crown the following year.

DTM followed in 2016 before Manor came calling for him to drive for the latter half of the season – and then Force India took what many thought was a chance, but how he has flourished.

After a troubled spell at McLaren, Sergio Perez’s stock had fallen but a series of podiums with Force India restored a reputation, in fact a career.

Ocon, to a certain extent, has undone that, causing the Mexican to pull off unnecessarily dangerous manoeuvres – most notably at the preceding race in Belgium – to fend off his young upstart of a teammate.

Had a terrific qualifying race: Ocon

Had a terrific qualifying race: Ocon.

It is the handling of his relationship with Perez that in some ways highlights his championship capabilities even now.

Not one clearly to suffer fools gladly, he accused his teammate of trying to “kill me”, in effect not afraid who he upset by saying how he had seen it in the moment. It was all very Hamilton-esque in the Briton’s infancy.

But in a calmer moment, he was able to show admirable maturity, adding: “We have lost points, we have lost money, we have lost parts of the car, it is enough.

“I am a professional driver and we are professional, Sergio and I. In the end, we are here because we are clever, I hope we will be intelligent enough to have respect and just move on.”

Such a comment hinted at another strength, that of being a team player. Ocon picked out his fifth place in Spain as his F1 career highlight, not because of the position so much but the celebrations with his mechanics on the pitwall as he crossed the line.

Then there is the intelligence, a race brain that defies his years and has left Force India, Mercedes and other suitors not so quietly impressed.

As for the team hierarchy, Force India chief executive Otmar Szafnauer said succinctly: “We knew he had the potential to do it. He has exceeded our expectation.”

Ocon’s expectations, though, are rather higher: “My target is to be world champion”. He’s started well in that quest.

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