Lewis Hamilton delivered one of his greatest races on Sunday when he ruined Ferrari’s homecoming party as he stormed to a record-equalling fifth Monza victory at the Italian Grand Prix.
The defending world champion produced a perfectly-judged race of raw aggression in his Mercedes to finish 8.7 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who had claimed pole position in a Ferrari front row with the fastest lap in Formula One history.
It was the Briton’s 68th career victory and sixth this year as he stretches his championship lead from 17 points to 30 ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth in the second Ferrari after spinning on the opening lap following a clash with his Mercedes rival as he passed him at the second chicane.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas came home third ahead of Vettel with Max Verstappen taking fifth place in the classified result, after finishing third on the track, following a time penalty for a late brush with Bottas.
The Briton’s fifth win in Italy brought him level with seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in the record books, but his triumph was unpopular with the massed Italian fans.
“I want to give it up to Ferrari who put up a great challenge and gave us a great fight,” said Hamilton.
“I want to thank the guys here and everyone back home – without their belief it wouldn’t have been possible.
“There’s been a lot of negativity, but there were a lot of British flags out there today. They know who they are. In future, I only want to turn a negative to a positive. Thanks to Valtteri too! We never give up.”