2018: Round 14/21, ITALIAN GP, Monza


Faster but error-prone Ferraris outsmarted by Mercedes

1st    LEWIS HAMILTON      Mercedes

2nd   KIMI RAIKKONEN       Ferrari

3rd    VALTTERI BOTTAS     Mercedes

By locking out the Monza front row, the first Ferrari home victory in eight years looked a certainty. How did they lose? First, the wrong car took pole, No.5 towing No.7 to P1 much to Seb’s chagrin. This led to the Ferraris disputing turn 1 to give Hamilton the chance to pass Vettel around the outside into the Roggia chicane. Outsmarted, Seb unwisely refused to concede, No.5 spun around as the two contenders clashed. At the lap 4 SC restart, Hamilton briefly snatched the lead from Räikkönen but the Ferrari led the opening stint. To counter the looming undercut from the closely chasing Mercedes only 1s behind, Kimi pitted on lap 20 whereas Lewis hammered in a further eight laps. This forced Räikkönen to push hard on his fresh rubber to ensure Lewis didn’t pull a winning margin. In fact Kimi’s fast lappery put him 5.7s up the road when Lewis rejoined from his stop. But Bottas, now leading, came into play, holding Kimi back as Hamilton closed in for the coup de gras. It came on lap 45 when Hamilton on his fresher tyres passed Räikkönen, struggling with blistered rears caused by his earlier rapid pursuit. So a thrilling Monza ended with Hamilton from Räikkönen, then Bottas after Verstappen was penalised 5s for blocking his lap 43 passing attempt. The penalty also helped the recovering Vettel to finish P4, with Grosjean disqualified from an excellent P6 for a technical breach. Both Williams’ scored, Sirotkin his first-ever point.
In FP2, Marcus Ericsson survived a massive barrel-rolling smash when his DRS stuck open under braking from 200mph at Rettifilo. Raikkonen’s 163.785mph pole was the fastest F1 lap ever recorded, beating Montoya’s 2004 Monza record. Was Hamilton’s 68th career win his best yet? Many felt so. It certainly neutralised the shock of Ferrari’s dominant Spa, extending his point’s lead over Vettel to 30 with seven to go.

The Championship Chase
Hamilton 256, Vettel 226, Räikkönen 164, Bottas 159, Verstappen 130

Mercedes 415, Ferrari 390, Red Bull 248, Renault 86, Haas 76

Formula 1 All the Races