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Hamilton takes championship lead with 2017 Italian GP win


The 2017 Formula 1 season just took a new turn. Lewis Hamilton has taken the lead in the championship following a dominant performance in the Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton holds a slim two point lead over his closest rival for the title, Sebastian Vettel.

From the start, Hamilton scampered away from the field as Lance Stroll was quickly gobbled up by the cars of Esteban Ocon and Kimi Raikkonen. The rookie lost second to Ocon but held off Raikkonen who then had to fend off Valtteri Bottas. Bottas and Raikkonen would touch wheels throughout the first two laps as both tried to get into the podium spots. Massa meanwhile clipped the rear wing of Perez, causing the latter to lose a chunk of his wing.

Bottas then did a daring move on the outside of the final corner. With a quicker exit speed, the Mercedes-AMG driver passed the Ferrari to reclaim fourth. Bottas then set his sights on third place and breezed past Stroll on the main straight. Hamilton on the other hand kept pulling away from Ocon, opening up a significant lead. It would be yet an unlucky race for Max Verstappen after clashing with Felipe Massa on the first chicane. Verstappen would suffer a puncture but was able to nurse the wounded Red Bull back into the pits.

As Hamilton continued pulling away from the pack, Vettel was making strides through the field. After a chaotic start, Vettel kept his Ferrari clean as he plucked off Stroll, team mate Raikkonen and Ocon. The Ferrari driver was able to get to third just before the first cycle of pit stops. Fernando Alonso and Joylon Palmer nearly tangled yet again with Palmer forced to take the run off area. The two would later retire from unrelated mechanical problems. Also making significant progress was Daniel Ricciardo. Despite starting at the back of the field following penalties, the Australian driver was comfortably in the top ten past the halfway point. He was soon becoming a threat to the fourth and fifth place runners.

Back in front, Hamilton was virtually unchallenged while Bottas barged his way past the Ferraris for second place. Further back in third was Vettel but was secured in his position. The three would finish the race in that order. Ricciardo meanwhile was able to dive on Raikkonen to finish fourth with the latter taking fifth. Sixth went to Ocon while the Williams cars of Stroll and Massa took home seventh and eighth respectively. Perez was able to cling on to ninth despite body damage and bouncing back from the puncture was Verstappen, who finished tenth.  

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