Hamilton gets surprise win in F1 Italian GP, extends lead over Vettel

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Monza (Italy), Sep 2 (IANS) British driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes earned a surprise victory on Sunday at the Formula One Italian Grand Prix, while his main title rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari came fourth.

Starting from the third spot, Hamilton leapfrogged Vettel and then spent the race chasing Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who had started from pole, finally overtaking him with eight laps to go, reports Efe.

“I want to give it up to Ferrari, who put up a great challenge and gave us a great fight. I want to thank the guys here and everyone back home; without their belief it wouldn’t have been possible,” Hamilton said.

Sunday’s win was the defending champion’s sixth this year, widening his lead to 30 points ahead of Vettel in the 2018 Driver Standings.

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Raikkonen finished second, 8.705 seconds behind Hamilton, while Mercedes’ other driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland completed the podium.

“I think we were quick enough, but our rear tires went and it was a losing battle from that point,” Raikkonen said.

Sunday’s race got off to a bad start for Vettel after he and Hamilton made contact in Lap 1, causing the German to spin out.

Raikkonen pitted from the lead in lap 20, while Hamilton pushed his tires further and pitted in lap 28, rejoining behind his teammate Bottas in first and Raikkonen in second.

Bottas had to pit in lap 36, giving Raikkonen the lead, but Hamilton continued to move closer until finally overtaking on lap 45.

This was Hamilton’s fifth win at the Monza circuit, and the Briton is angling for a fifth world title.

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Spain’s Fernando Alonso (McLaren), meanwhile, had to quit the race in the 10th lap with an engine issue.

This was the fifth time Alonso, a two-time world champion, has been forced to withdraw from a race this year and the second in a row.

–IANS

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