Italian Grand Prix: Hamilton Steals Title March

Philip Boeckman

Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory at the 2017 Italian Grand Prix to take the lead in the Drivers Championship for the first time this season. Valterri Bottas, his Mercedes team mate, came home in second, whilst Sebastian Vettel took third place to complete a predictable podium.

A very wet qualifying session was postponed until the early evening and threw up a very jumbled grid. The only staple was Lewis Hamilton taking pole, over a second quicker than Lance Stroll in second. Taking advantage of absurd penalties and place demotions for engine and gearbox changes, Stroll became the youngest ever driver to qualify on the first row.

For all the criticisms Stroll has taken this year, chief among them being accusations that he is only in the sport due to his billionaire father's backing, he has proven most of his doubters wrong. A podium finish in Baku at the start of Summer has been trumped by this front-row success.

Stroll couldn't follow up the quali success with a podium, he was never going to compete with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, but a seventh place finish is respectable and puts him 12th in the standings, only 7 points behind his vastly more experienced team-mate, Felipe Massa.

Racing under the judgemental eye of Ferrari Chairman/CEO Sergio Marchionne, the Scuderia had a torrid weekend. Qualifying on the 3rd row in 5th and 6th, Vettel and Raikkonen struggled all weekend and the best they could manage was P3 and P5 respectively. Marchionne was livid, describing the team's performance as 'embarrassing' and calling for change. 

The Tifosi might not have liked it, but the Mercedes were dominant here and Hamilton was at his supreme best. He now has control of his title destiny, and the Mercedes team really have thrown down the gauntlet to Ferrari since the summer break.

Next up is the Singapore Grand Prix, a track where Vettel and Ferrari usually enjoy success. Mercedes are likely to struggle here and so the title race could swing back into Vettel's favour. With the season coming to a head soon, things are truly heating up.

 

Philip Boeckman

Huge fan of @F1 and Motor Racing in general. I blog about anything and everything from the world of Formula 1