September 11, (THEWILL) – Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team finished in the lead in Saturday’s sprint race at Monza ahead of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
However, the winner was Valtteri Bottas, not his rẹ erred teammate, Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Although he started in first place, Hamilton struggled at the start and dropped down to fourth place. He never truly regained his place and ultimately finished in fifth place, just behind Lando Norris, the McLaren driver.
Behind Bottas, championship leader Max Verstappen bettered his chances for Sunday by taking second. Daniel Ricciardo claimed third place, the first of the McLaren drivers to cross the finish line.
As THEWILL reported, Bottas is set to depart the Constructors Championship holders, Mercedes, at the end of the season to drive for Alfa Romeo in the seat to be vacated by Kimi Raikkonen. He will be replaced by George Russell.
Yet, in keeping with his promise when the news went public, he was focused on helping Mercedes finish strongly and he demonstrated that on Saturday afternoon as he held onto the lead in the sprint race, despite having to keep his focus with a first-lap safety car.
The need for a safety car came after Pierre Gasly suffered damage to his left wheel that saw him fly into the hoardings early on before trundling back towards the course.
Bottas’s leading finish will not be of much benefit to him on Sunday as the Finn will, unfortunately, start at the back of the grid as he is taking new power unit components ahead of Sunday’s race.