2017 F1 Season Far from Snoozer of 2016

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Lewis Hamilton has won the Italian Grand Prix on Ferrari’s home ground and surged into the lead in the point standings as he turned he record setting 69th pole start into a victory in which he led from the start to the finish.

Previous leader Sebastian Vettel, despite finishing third, could not hold onto the narrow points lead he had going into the race. He was nearly 30 seconds behind.

Hamilton Mercedes teammate Valtteri came in second and it seemed like a repeat of last season, when Mercedes was so far beyond any of their rivals that it was almost laughable.

The most interesting racing of the Italian Grand Prix was taking place further back in the grid, where Perth native Daniel Ricciardo fought back from 16th on the grid to finish fourth. Near the end of the race, he was challenging Vettel for a place on the podium. Ricciardo had been pushed back in the grid for opting to change his gearbox ahead of the race. He had accepted additional penalties earlier for fitting new power unit components ahead of the race.

Last season, it was not a question of who, but by how much, as Hamilton was consistently among the top finishers in the races he did not win and then teammate Nico Rosberg had to do little other than to ensure that their rearview mirrors kept them apprised of who was behind them.

This season has been far more competitive. Hamilton’s win gave him a narrow three-point lead over Vettel. With seven races remaining in the 2017 F1 season, there is much to be decided.

Ironic that the Monza circuit where the Italian Grand Prix is held is deigned to play right into the hands of the powerful motors of Team Mercedes, where long straights give the advantage to the cars that can generate the most pace.