Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Hamilton denies Ferrari home win

Published:Monday | September 3, 2018 | 12:19 AM
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland leads at the start and followed by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany during the Formula One Italy Grand Prix at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy yesterday.

MONZA, Italy (AP):

For Ferrari, the wait continues. For Lewis Hamilton, it was a dream of a race as he won the Italian Grand Prix after starting third on the grid to extend his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel following an opening-lap collision with the German driver that effectively ended his chances of victory yesterday.

Ferrari was hopeful of ending an eight-year wait for a win at its home track after taking the front two places on the grid at the Italian GP for the first time since 2000, but pole-sitter Raikkonen was overtaken by Hamilton eight laps from the end and the Mercedes driver held on, much to the disappointment of the passionate Italian tifosi fans.

"Today was so difficult. Whilst the negativity is never great, that's what powered me along. I actually accept it," Hamilton said after getting roundly booed on the podium.

Hamilton tied Michael Schumacher's record of five Italian GP victories and extended his overall lead to 30 points over Vettel, who had cut the British driver's advantage to 17 points following last weekend's victory in Belgium.

"Disappointed, but there was nothing I could do," said Raikkonen, who struggled with a tire problem in the final few laps.

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was third, ahead of Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who received a five-second penalty.

Hamilton put Vettel under pressure from the start, but Vettel pulled clear and was alongside Raikkonen into the first corner.

Hamilton had another go on the outside heading into the second chicane, inching ahead of Vettel when they made contact, causing Vettel to spin and lose part of his front wing.

The safety car was deployed, and Vettel was forced into the pits for a new wing, coming out 18th.

Both drivers complained on team radio, but an investigation decided that no further action was necessary.

"That was definitely a very, very key moment, getting past him was the immediate goal ... My race is not really with Kimi, it's with Sebastian. However, I do need to get past Kimi at the same time," Hamilton said.

"Getting past Sebastian at the beginning was clearly a massive turning point. That definitely took a lot of pressure off ... I could just focus on Kimi for the whole race. We had a couple of good battles."