Italian GP: Hamilton defeats Raikkonen after Vettel clash

Mercedes F1 Boss Claims Ferrari Have The Fastest Car On The Grid

Mercedes F1 Boss Claims Ferrari Have The Fastest Car On The Grid

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes may have praised Ferrari's superb performance at the Belgian Grand Prix, but Sebastian Vettel knows there is still plenty of work to do to end the Silver Arrows' dominance.

Mercedes kept the championship leader out longer in the first stint than the Ferrari and dropped over five seconds adrift after finally pitting.

Vettel, 17 points behind Hamilton (231) after a commanding win in Belgium last Sunday, had previously triumphed at Monza with Toro Rosso and Red Bull and will fancy his chances of the hat-trick at the super-fast track outside Milan.

Hamilton: Every previous race in Sochi has ended with a Mercedes victory, with the Englishman taking wins in 2014 and 2015.

It could not have come at a better time for Hamilton, who is facing a fight against an apparently faster auto - at least in qualifying - and with Mercedes' bogey track Singapore next on the schedule.

As Hamilton swept around the outside of Vettel, there was light contact. The Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished second and third respectively previous year, and should be in with a shout of challenging for a spot on the podium next weekend.

"I enjoy coming to Monza", said Raikkonen. "it's a great circuit, a lot different from many others". "We will have some tracks that suit us, or that should suit us more".

"In future, negativity is only an inspiration for me".

"Big thank you for the team and also for Valtteri for helping me today". He only drew alongside the Ferrari as they approached the braking zone but nailed Raikkonen around the outside.

Ryan Thomas' girlfriend responds to Roxanne Pallett leaving CBB
Thomas, 34, said there was no "malice" in his actions, with some viewers arguing that the incident was only play-fighting. As well as her acting career, Pallett also co-hosts the Breakfast Show on York-based radio station Minster FM.

Mercedes than had to bring strategy into play.

Verstappen was hit with a five-second time penalty, then defended aggressively from Bottas when his rival recovered a four-second deficit, telling his team he did not care that he was costing himself time to Vettel.

Ferrari's concern was not to be beaten to a pit stop by Hamilton, as the Mercedes would then likely jump ahead. Hamilton continued in second.

"Now it's time to give them".

Other drivers: Valtteri Bottas claimed a maiden win in Russian Federation previous year, while Kimi Raikkonen has podiumed in the last two races.

Bottas led until lap 36 before pitting, releasing Raikkonen and Hamilton to duke it out for the win.

And yet, check out this headline, attributed to Lewis Hamilton, over an online story by the Reuters news agency: "We've got to improve to try and catch Ferrari".

At the restart, Hamilton got a lovely tow down the start finish straight and glided by Raikkonen to take the lead before the first chicane. "Yes!" he yelled over the team radio, only to be informed moments later that Raikkonen had taken the spoils.

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