Lewis scored his 68th career victory today – his sixth of the 2018 Formula One season and fifth at the Italian Grand Prix
Hamilton’s fifth win at Monza also equalled the record of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
Kimi Raikkonen’s second place was not enough to make up for the disappointment in a race that could have delivered so much more for Scuderia Ferrari. The team was put on the back foot after a first lap collision left Vettel with a damaged car. That left Raikkonen to fight on alone, but excessive blistering on the Monza pole man’s rear tyres meant in the end he had to give best to the winner, while his team-mate fought back well from the back of the pack
Kimi was struggling with his tyres and on lap 45, he had to give best at the first turn and concentrated on getting to the finish. Seb tried to close the gap to Verstappen, who would be given a 5 second penalty for his clash with Bottas. He managed it despite having a damaged car, while Kimi finally crossed the line in second place.
Bottas couldn’t find a way past, but he inherited the final podium position courtesy of Verstappen’s penalty. Vettel completed a strong recovery drive to take fourth ahead of Romain Grosjean in the Haas, who took his fourth successive points finish.
The Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished seventh and eighth, while Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Williams’ Lance Stroll completed the top 10. Along with the luckless Hartley, the other retirements were Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo, who both lost power from the respective McLaren and Red Bull machines.
The duel for the champioship continues…..
That was one tough race, but a really enjoyable one – I’m very, very happy. This afternoon has shaken off to be one of the best. It’s so close between Ferrari and us, this race was really down to who makes the least mistakes and who looks after their tyres the best. Valtteri did a great job extending his stint which enabled me to close up to Kimi. It was really great team work today, a great pit stop, great communication with the team. It was an intense first lap, we all got off to similar starts. When we went into Turn 4, I was a bit surprised that Sebastian chose the inside and did not go for the outside. That was my opportunity and I had to make sure that I was far enough alongside him. We touched for a brief moment and my car was slightly damaged afterwards, but fortunately I was able to continue and keep up with Kimi. Once I had closed the gap to Kimi on my second stint, I could see that his tyres were blistering, so I started to take care of my tyres and made sure that I didn’t blister mine. When Valtteri then came in for his pit stop it was a bit harder to keep up with Kimi, but I knew that my tyres were in better shape. I had to push as hard as I could to close the gap, particularly through the Lesmos and Ascari. But this track is really just incredible, it’s such a phenomenal circuit to drive with all it’s high-speed corners and the fact that you can follow through the corners and the chicanes make it one of the best tracks in the world. It’s always a real privilege to win in Italy. But we need to keep our heads down, work hard and make sure that we put up a good fight in Singapore.
Kimi Raikkonen: Our car was really good today. The first set of tires was ok, while the second one didn’t last as long as we had expected. There wasn’t much we could do, we had to push all the time and there was no single moment in which we could take it easy and look after the tires. For sure we wanted a better result, but this is what we’ve got; we did our best but it was not enough. It’s easy to say what we should have done in an ideal world, but we did what we thought was right and I think there was nothing wrong. Second position is not ideal, but we take it; I think that we were lucky to finish the race, on the rear left tyre there was no rubber left. In the next races it’s going to be close pretty much everywhere. We keep doing our best and hopefully it will be enough for when we come to the last race.”
It was a very successful day – both for me and for Lewis – and it feels good to be back on the podium. We knew the Ferraris were going to be quick today, so we wanted to give 100 per cent and put them under pressure. We knew we had to work together as a team today and that worked out very well for us. After what happened in the first lap with Sebastian, I knew that there was a good chance for me to get to the podium today. But it was still not an easy race; I did a very long first stint, trying to keep Kimi behind me on old tyres. I managed to still extract decent lap times out of the tyres so that Kimi never really got close enough to be able to overtake. Ultimately, this strategy helped both Lewis’ and my race. After the long first stint I had the chance to take the fight to Max on fresh rubber and ended up on the podium. It was a really good team effort today and we managed to get more points than Ferrari even though we started behind them. But we know we have to keep pushing in order to be able to put them under pressure.