The Italian Grand Prix is the home race for F1’s most glamorous, iconic and celebrated constructor – Ferrari. Despite not winning it since 2010, people in thousands come visit Monza, the temple of speed, cheering for Ferrari proudly showcasing their fandom. However, the Italian Grand Prix of 2018 had a certain Lewis Hamilton gathering more interest than Ferrari.
2018 was a pretty close season, at least before the summer break. Silverstone was a particular low moment for Lewis Hamilton considering it was his home race and trailed Vettel by a point. Vettel ended up winning the race and in the end he passed off a few comments on the radio which did not do well with Lewis Hamilton or his fans.
Grazie Grazie!” Vettel said on the radio.
“Oh oh oh we did it at THEIR home.”
“We are leaving with the British flag to hang at Maranello. We’ve won here at their home.”
Lewis Hamilton, having already had a spin with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, did not take these comments well. Mercedes were fuming post race, accusing Ferrari of “cheating” and hinting that they were intentionally sabotaging Mercedes’ races. Later, Hamilton pointed fingers at the German for his comments.
Hamilton said: “I heard something was said, but I see that as an act of weakness. It doesn’t affect me whatsoever. Good for him.”
One week later, Vettel made a blunder and right at the ending, plunged his car into the barriers while being in the lead, handing it to Lewis Hamilton. However, Hamilton knew redemption will come later, not here. Then came the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.
Ferrari had a rare front row lockout with Kimi Raikkonen on top, followed by the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas respectively. Hamilton had a 17 point advantage to Vettel heading into the race.
At the start, the front runners went off well, but Lewis Hamilton was able to gain an advantage over Vettel. Vettel panicked, took over the curb and as a result spun, going from second on the grid to 18th. It was almost game over for him. The remaining Ferrari, Hamilton was able to overtake him on track owing to perfectly timed risk and strategy from his team. Raikkonen came second, Bottas third and Vettel fourth.
Mercedes were “overly-gracious” post race. They asked their drivers to form a perfect formation all the way for their Italian colleagues. Perfection. Gracious. Respect.
Ferrari and Vettel bottled, panicked and made a mess of a situation. They were blasted by the tifosi and Italian media alike. Hamilton, who was constantly booed by the Italian fans, showcased why he is, what he is. He will be hoping to repeat the same in the 2019 Italian Grand Prix.