Lewis Hamilton Wins Italian F1 Grand Prix After Thrilling Kimi Raikkonen Battle

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2018

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 2, 2018 in Monza, Italy.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
Charles Coates/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton produced a brilliant drive to win the Formula One Italian Grand Prix on Sunday at Monza.

Hamilton tangled with title rival Sebastian Vettel early on, pushing the latter to the back of the race. Later on, the Mercedes man was then able to get past Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and extend his lead in the drivers' championship.

Max Verstappen was third on the road, but a time penalty for him meant Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas would eventually be on the last step of the podium. Vettel, meanwhile, eventually came home in fourth.

Here's the final race result:

Things couldn't have gone much worse for Vettel off the start. The German became embroiled in a battle for second with Hamilton in the opening stages, but contact between the two drivers saw the Ferrari man facing the wrong way and eventually down in last.

As noted by F1 journalist Philip Duncan, Vettel wasn't too impressed by the driving of his world-title rival:

A crash further back meant the deployment of the safety car, but when the action got underway again, it was breathless.

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Hamilton found a fine tow from Raikkonen and moved ahead of the Finn into the lead. However, the Ferrari driver kept his composure expertly and positioned himself well to get back to the front of the race, much to the delight of the Italian crowd.

F1 reporter Luke Smith praised the duo at the end of a thrilling spell of racing:

The race did begin to settle down, although Vettel was quickly moving through the field and back up into the points positions.

Of the two drivers battling for the race victory, it was Raikkonen who came into the pits first, with Hamilton following. That left the Ferrari man behind Mercedes man Valtteri Bottas on the road, and Bottas drove at a slower pace, allowing Hamilton to make up more ground on Raikkonen.

These images show just how tight things were between the three men at the front of the race:

Meanwhile, Pablo Elizalde commented on how important team-mates are in the sport:

In the end, the ploy worked brilliantly for Mercedes, as the hard work being done by Raikkonen meant that his tyres were worn down by the end of the race. By the time Bottas pitted, Hamilton was all over the back of the Finn and was able to get past him with seven laps remaining.

Despite putting his team-mate first at Monza, Bottas' race wasn't totally ruined, as he emerged from the pits and into a battle with Verstappen for third. The latter was deemed to have crossed a line during the tussle, though, as he was issued with a five-second penalty for pushing the Mercedes off the road.

Needless to say, the Dutchman was not happy with the decision:

This win for Hamilton feels significant in the race for the title, as the Mercedes man extended his advantage to 30 points over Vettel.

To overhaul both Ferraris and do so at Monza, where there is fervent backing for the Italian team, would've made this race extra special for the Englishman.

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