ITALIAN GP – Hamilton extends his lead at the top of championship, despite clashing with Vettel

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead at the top of the championship after an incredible action-packed Italian Grand Prix. The four times champion took the lead from third on the grid after passing Sebastian Vettel for second into the Ascari Chicane on the opening lap of the race.

The two four times champion fought into the chicane, with Hamilton going around the outside when they made contact. The incident saw the German drop to the back and then needing to fight his way back to the front.

Vettel’s car appeared to slide into Hamilton, who took the outside line and then turned in at the same time. The Ferrari then slid into the Mercedes, sending Vettel into a spin and damaged his front wing, dropping him to the back.

Hamilton said “I want to give it up to Ferrari who put up a great challenge and gave us a great fight. I want to think the guys here and everyone back home; without their belief, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

“There’s been a lot of negativity but there were a lot of British flags out there today. They know who they are. In future, I only want to turn to a negative to a positive. Thanks to Valtteri too. We never give up.”

Speaking about the incident, Vettel said “I think you have more angles than I have but I tried to pass Kimi and he opened the brakes and I didn’t have a gap. Lewis saw the gap round the outside but he didn’t leave me any space.”

“Then I was the one who spun around, which was ironic. It wasn’t too peachy but I recovered and got a lot of points. It doesn’t help when you lose points but it’s not the end of the world. We will all still wake up tomorrow morning.”

Hamilton made the better progress through the pack with the help of his Mercedes team who tricked Ferrari into bringing Raikkonen in early, with the Englishman staying out that brought him ahead of the Ferrari. Raikkonen aided Hamilton’s charge after damaging his tyres and being caught in the dirty air of the Mercedes.

Following a brief safety car, caused by Brendon Hartley who crashed his Toro Rosso into the first chicane, Hamilton made the key move into the second chicane and then remained behind the Ferrari of Raikkonen.

Raikkonen was then forced to make an early stop on lap twenty, when Hamilton stopped eight laps later he re-joined ahead of the Finn. In a bid to catch Hamilton he tried another stop, before getting caught between both of the Mercedes.

Vettel meanwhile, had made his way through the field before passing Max Verstappen for fourth, while he got the move done he was unable to open a five-second gap to retain the position. That moved Bottas into third and Vettel into fourth.

Verstappen was awarded the penalty for an over-aggressive defence into the chicane with Bottas. The Dutchman cut the Finn off as they went into the braking zone, causing a collision with the Mercedes.

Verstappen told Sky Sports, “Maybe they accepted the penalty because early on I went a bit wide against Valtteri. But it’s not fair. The car is working really well. The car was good on the tyres despite the lack of top speed.”

Haas’s Romain Grosjean held off both the Force India’s to take sixth, in a weekend where he has consistently performed well on track. Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished seventh and eighth, much-needed points for Force India as they try to make up ground in the championship.

Haas were placed under investigation after Renault rasied concerns about “a small detail on the leading edge of the floor” on Grosjean’s car. Both teams were summoned to see the stewards, while the FIA’s technical delegate examined Grosjean’s car in parc ferme.

After a lengthy investigation, a statement said ‘the reference plane of car number 08 is found not to be in compliance’ with neither the regulations nor a subsequent technical directive issued in July, which teams had to comply with by Monza.

Both teams were summoned to see the stewards, while the FIA’s technical delegate examined Grosjean’s car in parc ferme. The stewards decided that Grosjean should be disqualified from the race, meaning Renault move into fourth place in the constructors.

Lance Stroll scored Williams’s first points since Baku in April with tenth place, behind the Renault of Carlos  Sainz. While Haas’s disqualification moves Sergey Siroktin into the points, the first of his F1 career.

Despite the team fitting a new power unit and taking penalties, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo retired from the race with an engine failure. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso joined the Australian in retirement with an unknown problem.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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