MONZA, Italy -- Lewis Hamilton was surprised to see Sebastian Vettel open the door for him to pass around the outside of Turn 4 on the opening lap of the Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton turned in a decisive move on his championship rival at the Roggia chicane, moving to the outside while Vettel sized up teammate and race leader Kimi Raikkonen on the inside. Hamilton hit the brakes later, moved around the outside to snatch second position -- albeit after contact which led to Vettel spinning around and dropping to the back of the field.
The championship leader -- who now holds a 30-point gap over Vettel -- said he saw his opportunity and went for it.
"It was intense," Hamilton said. "I think we all got off to similar starts and then I got a bit of wheelspin, and then went into Turn 1, I was surprised that Sebastian went to the left but then we got into Turn 1 and I think there was a small touch between us all and then powering down to [turn] four, again, a bit surprised Sebastian chose the inside and not go through the outside of Kimi --- that was my opportunity.
"I stuck it down the outside and had to make sure I was far enough alongside and I had an experience a few years ago where I was on the inside back in 2012 or something like that and it didn't come off very well, but I thought there was enough space between us and I think ultimately, I am guessing he may be locked up, I don't know, we touched it was a brief moment. It just damaged the car a little bit but I was able to continue and the rear was moving around a little bit more so it made it a little bit more difficult, but not impossible."
The move turned out to be devisive, allowing Hamilton to attack Raikkonen for the lead of the race. Hamilton was quick to credit both his Mercedes team and teammate Valtteri Bottas, who held up Raikkonen's progress at a key part of the race.
That helped Hamilton reel in the Finn and pass with eight laps remaining.
"Today was down to the least mistakes, ultimately and looking after the tyres. Valtteri did a great job in extending his stint which enabled me to close up to the back of them together so great team work today, a great pit stop, great communication with the guys and ultimately I was in pretty good form today so definitely I am very very happy with it.
"I wouldn't say it was really a miracle today I think and before the race as you can see out there, there's a lot of Ferrari fans obviously and there's a lot of that negative sound that you hear, that just encourages me, it energises me and also particularly when go around there's quite a lot of British fans around. That's my fuel and the positivity I get from them. I would say they're the miracle today for me and the energy I got from them."