MONZA, Italy, Sep 3 – Lewis Hamilton heaped praise on Mercedes after he and Valtteri Bottas outclassed Ferrari on their 70th anniversary at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 32-year-old Briton, who is seeking his fourth world title, moved three points clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the title race after Mercedes delivered a stunning one-two to wreck the home fans’ celebrations.
Vettel finished third, more than 30 seconds adrift of the Silver Arrows, in front of a 93,000 crowd packed into the classic Autodromo Nazionale circuit at Monza.
“Today, it was all about teamwork,” said Hamilton, who shrugged aside boos from the ‘tifosi’ during a spectacular podium ceremony.
“It was about the team pulling together and maximising the car. It was fantastic… It really was a dream to drive.
“It’s obviously such an incredibly exciting season. The last two races have been incredibly strong for us as a team. We have gone from strength to strength.
“I’m not really sure why the pace of the Ferrari was not closer to us, as it usually is, but the car felt fantastic today, particularly in the first stint.
“Ultimately, we did the better job this weekend. I guess, because we had a bit of breathing space, it was easier for us to extend the life of the tyre – perhaps, if we had a Ferrari behind us, we would have been pushed.”
Hamilton took over as leader of the championship for the first time this year with his lights-to-flag victory, his sixth this year, his fourth at Monza and the 59th of his career.
“And, you know, I love Italy and I look forward to coming back here next year and to the rest of this season… It’s still close and there’s a long way to go,” he added.
“Now, we go to a track – Singapore – where Ferrari should be quick, with the down-force, but the fight will continue.
“Sebastian has been leading for a long time so, for me to be ahead now, with all the ups and downs, it is a great, great feeling.”
Having won in Belgium last Sunday, Hamilton also became the first driver to score back-to-back victories this year.
It was Mercedes’ third one-two this season and the team’s 39th overall.
Hamilton now has 238 points ahead of Vettel on 235, with Bottas 38 points further adrift, while in the constructors’ championship Mercedes lead with 435 to Ferrari’s 373.
“You know, I love it here in Italy and I love the passion of the fans, particularly the Ferrari fans – they are fantastic,” said Hamilton, despite much booing of his success, while he stood on the podium.
“I am so happy and the team did a great job – Mercedes power is definitely better than Ferrari power.”
Bottas also praised Mercedes’ teamwork, saying: “The car was so strong – it was amazing how quick we were and it was a pure joy to drive. A perfect result! No drama.”
Vettel said: “It was entertaining, quite good fun… We just didn’t have the pace of the leading two drivers, but going around seeing these people gives us a lot of hope. We have a strong car and will have a strong end to the season.”