Lewis Hamilton scored his 68th career victory – his sixth of the 2018 Formula One season and fifth at the Italian Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas finished the race in third position – his sixth podium of the 2018 season and 77th points finish in Formula One. Hamilton (256 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 33 points from Sebastian Vettel (226 points) with Valtteri (159 points) in P4.
That was one tough race, but a really enjoyable one – I’m very, very happy. The afternoon has shaken off to be one of the best. It’s so close between Ferrari and us, this race was really down to who makes the least mistakes and who looks after their tyres the best. Valtteri did a great job extending his stint which enabled me to close up to Kimi [Raikkonen]. It was a really great teamwork today, a great pit stop, great communication with the team.
It was an intense first lap, we all got off to similar starts. When we went into Turn 4, I was a bit surprised that Sebastian [Vettel] chose the inside and did not go for the outside. That was my opportunity and I had to make sure that I was far enough alongside him. We touched for a brief moment and my car was slightly damaged afterwards, but fortunately, I was able to continue and keep up with Kimi.
Wow… I’ll never forget this. We did this together. To the fans, you stood tall, loud and bright in amongst all of the negativity that surrounded us today. We rise together. To my team, I am forever grateful of your vision and passion. We never give up #StillWeRise @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/SZ19bCC6Kh
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 2, 2018
Once I had closed the gap to Kimi on my second stint, I could see that his tyres were blistering
So I started to take care of my tyres and made sure that I didn’t blister mine. When Valtteri then came in for his pit stop it was a bit harder to keep up with Kimi, but I knew that my tyres were in better shape. I had to push as hard as I could to close the gap, particularly through the Lesmos and Ascari.
But this track is really just incredible, it’s such a phenomenal circuit to drive with all it’s high-speed corners and the fact that you can follow through the corners and the chicanes make it one of the best tracks in the world. It’s always a real privilege to win in Italy. But we need to keep our heads down, work hard and make sure that we put up a good fight in Singapore.
It was a very successful day – both for me and for Lewis – and it feels good to be back on the podium. We knew the Ferraris were going to be quick, so we wanted to give 100 per cent and put them under pressure. We knew we had to work together as a team and that worked out very well for us. After what happened in the first lap with Sebastian, I knew that there was a good chance for me to get to the podium today. But it was still not an easy race.
I did a very long first stint, trying to keep Kimi behind me on old tyres. I managed to still extract decent lap times out of the tyres so that Kimi never really got close enough to be able to overtake. Ultimately, this strategy helped both Lewis’ and my race. After the long first stint I had the chance to take the fight to Max [Verstappen] on fresh rubber and ended up on the podium. It was a really good team effort and we managed to get more points than Ferrari even though we started behind them. But we know we have to keep pushing in order to be able to put them under pressure.
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) September 3, 2018