Today, on Ferrari’s semi-hostile home turf, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won an easy race from pole position, finishing 4.4 seconds ahead of his Merc teammate Valtteri Bottas. This also gave Hamilton a three-point championship lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Monza’s giant red horde didn’t like that.
Hamilton certainly didn’t help matters much when he told podium interviewer Martin Brundle “Mercedes power is definitely better than Ferrari power, so it worked well this weekend.” Ouch. OUCH. Twist the knife, eh?
Sadly for all the Ferrari-loving tifosi who show up to Monza, the two Mercedes cars ran strong all day, so much so that Hamilton and Bottas turned down the power on their engines down a bit mid-race to save the wear and tear for future races.
Worse yet for Italy’s sea of rosso corsa, Vettel admitted that he had mechanical issues shortly after the start of the race that forced him to keep fiddling with the engine modes, verifying Hamilton’s podium smack talk as an inconvenient truth.
Given that, however, Vettel’s third place result is pretty dang impressive. Don’t feel too sad, Italians—you’ve got a keeper in the driver’s seat who’s luckily sticking around for the foreseeable future.
Perhaps even more impressive was Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo’s mega charge from a penalty-mandated 16th place start to fourth place. Everything behind Hamilton’s car was fantastic to watch for this race with multiple close scraps for position, including one delightfully insane last-lap battle for seventh between Williams teammates Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll:
Still, if Ricciardo’s beautifully executed pass on Kimi Räikkönen on lap 41—Ferrari’s beloved mumblecore Finn who I can’t help but to root for at his home race—didn’t remind you why F1 is a fun time, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.
Ricciardo expertly dove down the inside for a clean pass, locking up his right front tire but keeping it together for a clean but crazy close dive down the inside of Räikkönen’s Ferrari.
With three points separating the top two championship contenders, oh yes. This is the action we’ve missed for the last couple seasons. Regardless of the oppressive grid penalties, I can’t wait to see how the rest of this season plays out.