Getty Images

Italian Grand Prix: Hamilton takes championship lead as Monza mixes things up

Hamilton takes championship lead as Monza mixes things up

03/09/2017 at 17:38Updated 03/09/2017 at 21:34

Lewis Hamilton had a straightforward day on track at Monza as he took the lead in the drivers' championship from Sebastian Vettel.

WHERE THE RACE WAS WON

Essentially, this race was won in qualifying. There were so many grid penalties behind Lewis Hamilton in pole that the mixed-up, muddled pack had to shake itself out, leaving the leader to do his thing, win the race and take the lead in the championship standings. He made a few errors, ran wide a couple of times, but ultimately it didn't matter.

His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas came in second, protecting Hamilton from the threat of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, the man who started the day as championship leader.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo just missed out on a podium place; and after looking good in qualifying, Max Verstappen's race was hampered yet again by a problem with his car - this time a puncture after a coming-together with Felipe Massa on Lap 3 - and he ended up in tenth.

HAMILTON-WATCH

Four stars out of five. Not exactly a vintage Hamilton performance, but one more than good enough to justify the point as he finds form in this second half of the season. Once he'd got away clean and could start to pull away from the pack, he was comfortable till the end.

PIT RADIO EXCHANGE OF THE WEEKEND

Daniel Ricciardo, that cheeky chappie, did his best to be threatening as he spotted some potential for overtaking.

Shout-out too to Nico Hulkenberg, who didn't know he'd left his radio on, and it was left to his team to point it out to him.

MOVE OF THE RACE

Wheel to wheel round the Parabolica? It's brave and gutsy driving. Valtteri Bottas was majestic as he moved round the outside of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari.

BEST OVERTAKE

Ferrari were looking for a good race day after a very disappointing qualifying session in front of their home fans, and Sebastian Vettel gave them something to cheer early on when he cleverly used the slipstream to get past Force India's Esteban Ocon and into a podium position.

TACTICAL MASTERSTROKE

Is it a tactical masterstroke to build cars that stay in one piece? If so, Mercedes and Ferrari deserve all the credit. What with grid penalties and enforced retirements, the quartet of cars had a good day today without having to try too hard.

UNSUNG HERO

Ricciardo drove very well today, finishing fourth after starting 16th, and was asked to speak a few words of Italian as a nod to his ancestral homeland. He did his best.

FACEPALM OF THE WEEKEND

Renault's Jolyon Palmer's efforts at aggressive driving did nothing but rile Fernando Alonso, the man whose McLaren he was attempting to close down.

When the yellow car moved in front, the Spaniard immediately claimed that he had gone off the track - and demanded that he get the place back.

The powers-that-be intervened, giving Palmer a five-second penalty.

And then the fates intervened, forcing Palmer to retire from the race altogether.

Alonso - never a man known for his calm demeanour - muttered about "karma" on his radio.

STAR-SPOTTING

Not quite a celebrity spot, but the drivers' pleasure at seeing former - and future? - colleague Robert Kubica was nice to note.

0
0