Ram­pant Hamil­ton leads Bot­tas to a Mercedes one-two vic­tory at Monza

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports | International -

Lewis Hamil­ton won the Ital­ian Grand Prix to move top of the world cham­pi­onship stand­ings for the first time this sea­son.

The Bri­tish driver had an un­event­ful af­ter­noon, start­ing from pole and hold­ing the lead through­out. Most of the time he had his Mercedes team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas, who came home sec­ond, act­ing as his rear-gun­ner to hold off any pos­si­ble threat from Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

The truth is that the Fer­raris were no match for the Mercedes. So Hamil­ton now holds a three-point lead over Vet­tel, who fin­ished third, go­ing into the next race, in Sin­ga­pore, in a fort­night’s time. It is the first time Hamil­ton has led the drivers’ ta­ble since af­ter last year’s Ital­ian Grand Prix.

Hamil­ton’s vic­tory, his sixth of the sea­son, was richly de­served, pri­mar­ily for his blis­ter­ing pole lap on Satur­day, when he was 1.1sec quicker than the rest of the field in the wet. That ranks among one of his most ex­tra­or­di­nary per­for­mances, and justly lifted him ahead of Michael Schu­macher as the driver with the great­est num­ber of poles ever – 69.

Hamil­ton’s mas­tery in the rain made it easy in the sun on Sun­day at a Monza track that rocked with its typ­i­cal ex­u­ber­ance. The stands were full of Tifosi in red t-shirts and ban­ners ex­press­ing undy­ing love for the scar­let tra­di­tion of Fer­rari in their 70th year of ex­is­tence.

But they had next to no chance of get­ting to see what they craved, be­cause the Fer­raris were strangely slow in qual­i­fy­ing and started fifth and sixth be­hind not only the two Mercedes but also the Force In­dias of Este­ban Ocon and, even more sur­pris­ingly, the Wil­liams of 18-year-old Cana­dian Lance Stroll. Ocon fin­ished sixth and Stroll sev­enth.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo drove a su­perb race to fin­ish fourth, carv­ing his way up the field. But for grid penal­ties in­curred for an en­gine change, the Red Bulls would have started sec­ond and third. In­stead Max Ver­stap­pen be­gan from 13th place and Ric­cia­rdo 16th.

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