Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes lead of the title race with Monza win
Hamilton booed on the podium after Vettel and Ferrari humbled on home turf; Ricciardo charges to fourth but team-mate Verstappen punctured and 10th
By Pete Gill at Monza
Last Updated: 30/09/17 9:02am
Lewis Hamilton has taken the lead of the F1 title race ahead of Sebastian Vettel with victory in the Italian GP.
It is the first time Hamilton, who crossed the line four seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and over half a minute clear of Vettel, has led the Drivers' Championship this season.
After the race, Hamilton was loudly booed on the podium by Ferrari's fans, the Tifosi.
"I love it here in Italy and I love the passion of the fans," Hamilton responded. "They're fantastic. I'm happy, we did a great job, the team did an exceptional job. We owe it all to them. Mercedes power is definitely better than Ferrari power."
Having lined-up fourth, Bottas effectively secured second in the opening five laps after overtaking both Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon.
Vettel was third after withstanding a late charge from Daniel Ricciardo. But in a stunning demonstration of their superiority, sparking suggestions of a turning point in the season, Ferrari were humbled by Mercedes in their home race with Vettel beaten by over half a minute.
Raikkonen was just fifth, beaten by Ricciardo despite the Red Bull starting a distant 16th. Ricciardo's move on Raikkonen to clinch the position was arguably the race's highlight as the Red Bull plunged past the Ferrari into the first chicane with fifteen laps remaining.
The Australian's team-mate Max Verstappen crossed the line in 10th after suffering a puncture during an early-race collision with Felipe Massa. He recovered to the final points position in the closing laps at the expense of Kevin Magnussen, with race stewards then not agreeing with the Dane's complaints that the Red Bull had forced him off the track.
Neither McLaren car finished the race on another desperately disappointing weekend for F1's fallen superpowers.
Off track, Sky Sports has learnt McLaren are poised to divorce Honda for 2018 with an announcements expected as early as next week.
It remains to be seen whether Honda will stay in the sport with Toro Rosso understood to have set a deadline of this week for a decision on whether they will swap Renault power for a supply of Honda engines next year.
Meanwhile, Esteban Ocon, having run second in the race's opening laps, held off the marauding Williams pair of Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa in the closing laps. Barely three seconds separated the Williams and Force India cars at the flag.
A turning point in the 2017 season?
Hamilton's victory, a week after his success in Belgium, completes the first set of back-to-back wins this year.
Having challenged Mercedes robustly at Spa, Ferrari's lack of pace this Sunday will be of concern to the team's hierarchy although they are expected to prosper at the next race in Singapore.
But for the first time in 2017, Hamilton has a lead to protect and all the momentum heading into the final seven races of the year is with Mercedes.
"You can't help but feel recently that Mercedes have just got the edge and have stolen a march," suggested Sky F1's Martin Brundle.
"Hamilton seems in a very happy place and he drives beautifully when he's in a happy place. The season is turning."
From fifth and sixth on the grid, a first victory home victory for Ferrari in seven years was always a long shot with both Mercedes cars starting ahead of them, but the scale of the Scuderia's defeat was still a big surprise.
Vettel told Hamilton before the podium "you weren't even pushing" and afterwards accepted Ferrari had simply been outperformed, although reckons the final 30-second gap was exacerbated by a damaged car.
"It was a difficult day," said Vettel. "My race was isolated. We simply didn't have the pace. For the last 20 laps l was struggling because l went off at Turn One and something broke on the car.
"Overall, you would say it is a bad day but l know the team is on the right way and we will only get stronger. There is a long way to go.
"They did the better job and deserved to win, no doubt about that."
Italian Grand Prix Race result
|1) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|2) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 4.4 seconds|
|3) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 36.3|
|4) Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+ 40.3|
|5) Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+ 60|
|6) Esteban Ocon||Force India||+ 71.5|
|7) Lance Stroll||Williams||+ 74.1|
|8) Felipe Massa||Williams||+ 74.8|
|9) Sergio Perez||Force India||+ 75.2|
|10) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 1 lap|
|11) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1 lap|
|12) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+ 1 lap|
|13) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+ 1 lap|
|14) Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||+ 1 lap|
|15) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1 lap|
|16) Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||+ 2 laps|
|Did not finish|