Hamilton equals Schumacher’s record with Italian Grand Prix win

Italy Grand Prix Marcus Ericsson crash

Sebastian Vettel was left surprised by the amount of damage his Ferrari SF71-H sustained in the clash with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap of the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton took advantage of a spin by Vettel who he went past on the second chicane and the Ferrari driver finished down in fourth, which leaves him a long way off the reigning champion.

The defending world champion produced a perfectly-judged race of raw aggression and astute tyre-management 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.

As Hamilton claimed the second apex and took the position from Vettel, the Ferrari driver was spun round and sustained damage to his front wing and the floor of his vehicle.

That effectively ended Vettel's chances of victory at Monza and allowed Hamilton to go on and extend his lead in the drivers' standings to 30 points thanks to a sixth triumph in 2018.

Vettel was at his commanding best seven days ago to win in Belgium, but he was on the back foot from the start here after his critical collision with Hamilton. "I left him space".

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That definitely took a lot of pressure off and just meant I could focus on Kimi for the whole race. I could see some sparks, but we sit so low we don't see so much but I felt that something was not right and it was pointless so I came in.

Valtteri Bottas was third in his Mercedes, ahead of Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who received a five-second penalty.

"I tried to obviously get out from there but I couldn't".

"For sure [I'm] down at the moment, mostly for the people".

"I think it (the car) was quick enough but unfortunately our rear tyres went", he said.

"I think it was 100% Sebastian's fault".

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The victor was also helped considerably by team mate Valtteri Bottas who led after Hamilton pitted and managed to hold up Raikkonen long enough for the other Mercedes to close the gap.

'Lewis didn't leave me any space and I had no choice but to run into him and make contact, ' said the German. Racing resumed on lap four as the stewards announced they were taking no action, declaring it a "racing incident".

"Hamilton gave him all the room".

"In future, the negativity is really a positive thing for me because I harness it and turn it from negative to positive", added the 33-year-old, who also paid tribute to his fans for holding firm.

"But then what can you do when you get spun around? They gave us a lot of support and we didn't delver for whatever reason".

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