Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished the Italian Grand Prix in third and fifth places respectively. It wasn’t the best result for Scuderia Ferrari’s home race, but at least the team was able to get a driver to salute the tifosi from the podium, after the difficulties of yesterday. Seb is now three points behind the leader in the Drivers’ World Championship.
With qualifying run entirely in the wet, drivers had a free choice of dry tyre type for the start. Kimi and Seb lined up on fifth and sixth places on the grid shod with the Supersofts. It was an aggressive choice, actually adopted by all those at the front end, with the aim of immediately going on the attack. Raikkonen did just that, passing Bottas round the outside of the Curva Grande. The battle rumbled on to the First Chicane, where Valtteri took the place back. Then Seb successful passed his team-mate heading down to the first Lesmo to go fifth. On lap 5, it was Stroll’s turn to give best to the German who set about chasing Ocon in the Force India who, like the Canadian in the Williams had done surprisingly well in qualifying. Around this time, Kimi went straight on at the first chicane. At the start of lap 8, Sebastian made a determined move on Ocon to get into a podium position.
Kimi was suffering with an unstable rear end and on lap 16, he pitted to switch to the Soft tyres, rejoining in 11th place. Two laps later, Stroll covered the Ferrari’s strategy, but the Iceman was now out in front, also passing Vandoorne to go eighth. On lap 26, he pulled off a copybook move on Ocon, slipstreaming before outbraking him into the First Chicane. Seb meanwhile kept putting in the quick laps to free himself from traffic at the pit stop, which happened on lap 32. A perfect job from the mechanics saw him emerge in fourth place in clean air.
The race was not exactly a thriller, but there was a moment of excitement when Ricciardo, who was on a charge, finally pitted. Kimi stayed ahead and so the SF70Hs were third and fourth. However, the Red Bull was on the softer compound and it got ahead at the first braking point. In the final 10 laps, Sebastian also had to keep an eye on his former team-mate and responded with his best lap, upping the pace in the closing stages. He defended in determined fashion all the way to the flag and was clearly proud to stand on the podium, having achieved the minimum goal the team had set itself on the most difficult weekend of the year.
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