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F1 2017: Italian Gp Review – Hamilton Dominates At Monza

If you thought that you were somehow transported back to 2016, or even 2015, during this weekend’s Italian grand prix you’d have been forgiven. The level of domination that Mercedes and their drivers delivered to win the latest round of the 2017 season was simply staggering.

By the end of 53 laps of the Italian grand prix there was half a minute, and a Bottas shaped Mercedes, between Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Not only that, but Hamilton’s dominant win also secured him the lead in the driver’s championship for the first time in 2017.

As the rain played havoc with Saturday qualifying it was, again, Hamilton who delivered a spectacular lap for pole. With 69 to his name he now holds the record for the most pole position in the history of the sport. Such was the farcical penalty count at this weekend’s grand prix that despite qualifying in the top three both Red Bull drivers dropped effectively to the back of the grid. It promoted Williams’ Lance Stroll to the front row and into the history books as the youngest ever front row starter. Similarly, another up-and-comer in the form of Esteban Ocon lined up his Force India in third. Meanwhile, after a miserable session, the best Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen, was fifth and teammate Vettel sixth.

With the younger drivers right at the sharp end there was trepidation in air ahead of the start. However, they were very well behaved, if not a bit too cautious, and got through the start unscathed. It allowed Hamilton the perfect buffer to get away in the lead of the race from which he never looked back.

While Bottas made relatively short work of Stroll and Ocon it was clear that he was maintaining position behind Hamilton who now appears to have the backing from Mercedes for the championship. While Vettel got into third relatively quickly there was nothing he could do about the pace of the Mercedes. On home turf Ferrari would’ve undoubtedly been disappointed with their performance but they wouldn’t have been overly surprised by it.

M132570The low downforce configuration of Monza and the fact that 79% of the lap is spent at full throttle is Mercedes territory through-and-through. When they consider the weekend’s events Ferrari and Vettel will likely come to the conclusion that it could’ve been worse. Late in the race Daniel Ricciardo, on an alternate strategy, mounted a charge on third and fell only a few seconds short of snatching it from Vettel. Verstappen’s pace too suggested that he could’ve been a factor were it not for a puncture incurred in a first corner clash with the Williams of Felipe Massa. As it stands Hamilton takes a three-point lead to the Singapore grand prix where Ferrari is expected to lead the way.

As Hamilton, Bottas, and Vettel completed the top three with a charging Ricciardo in fourth Kimi Raikkonen trundled home in fifth. In sixth was Esteban Ocon, followed closely by Stroll in seventh and Williams teammate Felipe Massa in eight. Sergio Perez was ninth in the other Force India while Max Verstappen recovered to tenth, albeit a lap down. The anguish continued for McLaren with a double retirement who are expected to announce a 2018 deal with Renault within the coming days which will likely be followed by a confirmation that Fernando Alonso will be remaining with the team.

The Italian grand prix marks the final European race of the season. Formula 1 next heads East to Singapore’s Marina Bay Street circuit where Ferrari is expected to dominate.

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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