Hamil­ton de­liv­ers Monza vic­tory

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SPORT - PHILIP DUN­CAN SPORTS RE­PORTER ■ Email: yp.sport@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @york­shire­post

LEWIS HAMIL­TON cel­e­brated one of the finest vic­to­ries of his ca­reer af­ter he went be­hind en­emy lines to stun Fer­rari and take a ma­jor step to­wards se­cur­ing a fifth world cham­pi­onship.

The fa­nat­i­cal Tifosi sup­port­ers ar­rived in Monza for the Ital­ian Grand Prix ex­pect­ing to see Se­bas­tian Vet­tel con­vert a Fer­rari lock­out of the front row into a crush­ing win.

In­stead, they saw their No 1 cham­pi­onship con­tender fall out of the reck­on­ing af­ter just four corners fol­low­ing a clumsy open­ing-lap col­li­sion with his ri­val.

Then, they wit­nessed Hamil­ton de­liver a sen­sa­tional per­for­mance which cli­maxed in the Brit pass­ing Kimi Raikko­nen for his 68th ca­reer win. Vet­tel re­cov­ered from last to fourth.

Fer­rari had been quicker than Mercedes all week­end at the Tem­ple of Speed, yet it is Hamil­ton who de­parts the Ital­ian team’s home­land hav­ing ex­tended his cham­pi­onship lead over Vet­tel from 17 to 30 points with seven races to run.

“Given the sheer pres­sure that we are un­der, I will def­i­nitely con­sider this win to be right up there in my ca­reer,” said Hamil­ton, who was sub­jected to loud boos on the podium.

“There are a lot of Fer­rari fans out there, and you hear a lot of neg­a­tive sounds, but that only en­cour­ages and en­er­gises me.

“When I spot the Bri­tish flags amongst the Fer­rari red, that is my fuel, and I get my pos­i­tiv­ity and en­ergy from them. They are the mir­a­cle to­day.”

Vet­tel was at his com­mand­ing best seven days ago to win in Bel­gium, but his de­feat here is a ma­jor set­back in his cham­pi­onship quest and one from which he will strug­gle to re­cover.

On a fran­tic open­ing lap, Vet­tel cov­ered the in­side at the sec­ond chi­cane, but Hamil­ton moved to the racing line and was ahead go­ing into the cor­ner. Vet­tel did not want to con­cede the place, and in do­ing so, thud­ded into Hamil­ton’s Mercedes be­fore spi­ralling into a spin.

Vet­tel, who limped back to the pits for re­pairs, blamed Hamil­ton for fail­ing to leave him enough room as they tan­gled. “Silly”, was the Ger­man’s ver­dict.

The stew­ards took no ac­tion. In­deed, it marked Vet­tel’s fifth big er­ror of the sea­son, while Hamil­ton has largely failed to put a foot wrong. It is prov­ing the dif­fer­ence.

With Vet­tel out of con­tention, Hamil­ton could have been for­given for set­tling for sec­ond, but that is not in the Bri­ton’s psy­che.

On lap four, he briefly took the lead af­ter sail­ing past Raikko­nen on the main straight only for the 38-year-old Finn to bite back two corners later.

The gap be­tween Raikko­nen and Hamil­ton re­mained, in and around one sec­ond, be­fore the Fer­rari driver pulled in for new tyres on lap 20. Hamil­ton went on for a fur­ther eight laps be­fore stop­ping for new rub­ber.

He emerged six sec­onds down on the Fer­rari car, and that looked to be that. But a com­bi­na­tion of his blis­ter­ing pace, and Valt­teri Bot­tas in the sis­ter Mercedes, who, hav­ing yet to stop was back­ing Raikko­nen into Hamil­ton’s path, saw that lead evap­o­rate. Then, with only eight laps re­main­ing, Hamil­ton made his move. At 220mph, he drew along­side Raikko­nen on the main straight be­fore div­ing to the left and mas­ter­fully mak­ing his pass stick round the out­side of the Fer­rari car at the open­ing chi­cane.

“I didn’t want to walk away with here leav­ing some­thing on the ta­ble,” Hamil­ton said. “I love the wheel-to-wheel bat­tles, and it is the thing I love most about racing. That was one tough race, but re­ally fun and en­joy­able. This sea­son is shap­ing up to be­ing one of the best.”

I will def­i­nitely con­sider this win to be right up there in my ca­reer. Lewis Hamil­ton de­lighted af­ter yes­ter­day’s vic­tory in the Ital­ian Grand Prix.

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