Lewis Hamilton steals the show and other takeaways from Italian GP

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Lewis Hamilton stunned the Ferrari crowd with a remarkable victory at the Italian Grand Prix following a late move on Kimi Raikkonen, and an opening-lap collision with Sebastian Vettel.

Pole-sitter Raikkonen looked set to win his first race in more than five years, and Ferrari’s first at their homeland since 2010, but Hamilton executed a brilliant pass on the Finn with just eight laps remaining.

Vettel, who fell to last after his coming together with Hamilton, recovered to finish fourth, but the German is now 30 points behind his championship rival. Valtteri Bottas completed the podium places.

Here, we look at the key takeaways from Monza.

Exceptional Hamilton

The Englishman produced a majestic performance to clinch his sixth win of the season – and fifth at the Italian GP.

The Britons superb move to go around the outside of Raikkonen on lap 45 was effectively the moment that secured victory, and no doubt broke the thousands of Ferrari hearts at Monza.

It was another nail in the coffin, after Hamilton overtook Raikkonen’s Ferrari teammate Vettel on the first lap, and resulted in his title rival slipping down to 17th place.

With seven races remaining, Hamilton is only going to get stronger and it looks like his grip on a fifth title is slowly strengthening.

The 33-year-old extended his lead in the drivers standings to 30 points and needs to stay composed and minimise his errors behind the wheel for the remaining races. If he can do that then expect him to join Juan Manuel Fangio on five titles.

Pressure now on Vettel 

An eventful day for the German. Starting P2, he looked to have lost his composure when Hamilton took him on the outside on the first lap and then he oversteered in sheer panic, hitting Hamilton and spinning down to 18th.

Although he managed to finish a formidable fourth, it’s the first season that he has ever had this sort of pressure in the title race and he looks to be buckling under the intensity of it.

With the gap widening in standings, this looks to be a crucial moment in the title race, especially with Ferrari failing to capitalise on the frontrow advantage coming into Sunday’s race.

Brilliant Bottas

Although no driver will enjoy the tag, Bottas carried out a superb wing man job for Hamilton’s win.

Raikkonen was four seconds clear of Hamilton after the Briton’s pit stop, but after being held up by Bottas for five laps, the gap between Raikkonen and Hamilton was cut to less than a second, allowing the British driver to slip pass to take the lead on lap 45.

For his trouble the Finn finished fourth, but was promoted to a podium, after Max Verstappen refused to let him pass on lap 42.

A sixth podium of the season will surely add some gloss for his hard-working day at the office, but if things had gone his way with the car in previous races, he could be right at the sharp end of the championship alongside his teammate.

Red Bull unreliability

It was another disappointing day for Daniel Ricciardo, who retired on lap 25 after power-unit failure.

What will frustrate for the Red Bull team is that the failed engine was only installed into the Australian’s car earlier this week with the Singapore GP in mind – a track that has favoured them in the past.

The 29-year-old, who will join Renault next season, has retired in four out of the past six races, while his teammate Verstappen has retired three times.

For all the crticism about the relationship with Honda, the engine troubles continue to reduce their title chances. Remember, this was supposed to be the most exciting driver line up on the grid, but they are failing to deliver this season due to the engine issues.

Force India shine again

Another stunning result for Force India. Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez shone in Italy to finish seventh and eighth respectively – their fourth joint top-10 finish in the past five races.

The duo showed once again that they have the potential to threaten the bigger midfield teams, especially in the European races.

Their 10 points scooped means Force India are now eighth in the constructors’ championship – nine points ahead of Sauber and two behind Toro Rosso.

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Kimi Raikkonen takes Italian GP pole ahead of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel

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Kimi Raikkonen smashed Formula One’s all-time fastest lap record as he outpaced team-mate Sebastian Vettel to grab pole position Saturday for the Italian Grand Prix.

Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid with a blitz of speed that left defending champion and current leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes third, despite twice beating the record set at Monza by Colombian Juan-Pablo Montoya, in a Williams, in 2004.

Raikkonen’s record lap was clocked in one minute and 19.119 seconds at an average speed of 263.586 kph (163.785 mph). He was one-tenth of a second faster than both Vettel and Hamilton who set up a memorable three-way finale in a dramatic session, all of them setting records along the way.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth for Mercedes ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Romain Grosjean of Haas. Carlos Sainz was seventh on his birthday for Renault ahead of Esteban Ocon of Force India, Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso and Lance Stroll of Williams.

It was Ferrari’s first pole on home soil at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for Ferrari since 2010 and Raikkonen’s first pole in 12 years. At 38, he also became the oldest pole sitter since Nigel Mansell, aged, 41, took pole for the 1994 Australian Grand Prix.

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Lewis Hamilton ready for tight scrap in Italian GP qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton forecast a tight battle in qualifying after finishing third fastest for Mercedes behind the Ferraris in Friday’s second practice for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

The defending world champion, who leads Friday’s fastest man, Sebastian Vettel, by 17 points in the title race, said his team had much work to do in just a few areas.

“We woke up to torrential rain this morning, which meant it was a less busy first session than normal,” he said.

“We did a few laps, but after that it was like having a day in the office when you don’t have too much work to do – I was even snoozing in the car at one point!

“But we did plenty of laps this afternoon in the dry and we could see that, like in Spa, we had a small gap to Ferrari on both the short and the long runs.

“My laps felt pretty good, but Ferrari were a little bit quicker today. We’re all working flat out right now in every part of the team, and we have work to do tonight as well.

“But there are some areas where we can see deficits, so I hope we can make a little step for qualifying.

“It has been a big battle for a number of races now, and they have had a small advantage since the middle of the summer, but we are pushing as hard as we can to overcome that.

“Although we are on Ferrari’s home turf, we have some great support out there and it’s always a boost to see that in the grandstands.

“It will be a very close fight tomorrow and, like every race weekend, we will be giving it everything we’ve got.”

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