Feb 22, 2018 Last Updated 8:07 AM, Feb 22, 2018


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Italian Grand Prix: 'Lewis Hamilton Has The Momentum But He Is Not Unstoppable'

The Italian Grand Prix was Hamilton's sixth win of the season The Italian Grand Prix was Hamilton's sixth win of the season Image sourced at bbc.com
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It was a weekend of landmarks for Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix, but how significant some of them are remains to be seen.

Breaking the all-time record for pole positions was a magnificent achievement that further solidifies the Mercedes driver's standing as the fastest driver of his era and an all-time great. Like his 59th career win on Sunday, his 69th career pole position is hardly likely to be his last.

Taking the championship lead and becoming the first driver to achieve back-to-back wins in this intensely fought season may yet prove to be defining moments, too. But as the dust settles from Mercedes' dominant performance on rival Ferrari's home Monza track, it would be unwise to jump to too many conclusions.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has led the championship since beating Hamilton in the first race of the season in Australia back in March.

That win appeared to establish the Italian team as major contenders again for the first time in years and they solidified the impression convincingly over the first half of the season.

Hamilton shared the lead with Vettel after his victory in the second race in China. But the Ferrari's consistency and usability over a wide range of tracks, generally impeccable driving from Vettel, combined with some difficult weekends for Mercedes and their lead driver, gave Vettel a comfortable lead on a number of occasions.

Vettel led by 14 points after one of those difficult weekends - in Hungary, the last race before the mid-season break - but since returning from his summer holiday Hamilton has been on fire.

A brilliant pole lap in Belgium was followed by a close, race-long fight with Vettel, which Hamilton won thanks to some clever racing nous. An arguably even better pole in Monza - more than a second clear of anyone else in difficult wet conditions - was the foundation for an utterly dominant victory on Sunday.

Hamilton was booed on the podium, something he described as "inevitable" given he and team-mate Valtteri Bottas had stopped Vettel winning. "This energy is like nowhere else we ever really get to see, apart from maybe Silverstone, so I respect it, I appreciate it," he said. "I'm happy."


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