Hamilton ‘surprised’ by Mercedes closeness to Ferrari at F1 Monza

Formula 1

Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton says it was “surprising” to see Mercedes run Ferrari close during Friday practice at the Italian Grand Prix.

Ferrari has enjoyed a straightline performance advantage over Mercedes throughout 2019 and showcased it by dominating qualifying at Spa, before Hamilton then closed on race-winner Charles Leclerc on Sunday.

Monza was expected to put a greater emphasis on Ferrari’s straightline performance but Hamilton ended up just 0.068s slower than Leclerc at the end of Friday’s rain-disrupted second practice.

“[It’s] not a massive amount different to how it was in the last race,” Hamilton said. “Obviously, they [Ferrari] are quite quick in a straight line.

“We’re quite strong, I think, on race pace, but actually perhaps a little bit closer potentially on single-lap pace. So looks like we may have a fight.

“It definitely is surprising – but honestly I just didn’t know what to expect this weekend, apart from them being quick on the straight, which they are.

“But there are enough corners in which we’re able to gain it back, they’re not really that quick through the corners, so it kind of balances out.

“I still think it’s going to be a really hard race, but we are on a similar level [with Ferrari], which is quite nice.”

Valtteri Bottas ended the day in fourth place overall, three tenths slower than Hamilton, but felt his day had been more positive than his fastest lap had suggested.

“I didn’t have a really good tow on my quickest lap, otherwise [it] felt good,” he said.

“And pretty positive on the long runs, so with the higher-fuel runs at the end I had a good feeling and good pace.”

Bottas echoed Hamilton’s impression of how Mercedes’ pace stacked up to Ferrari in Monza practice.

“We knew coming here that they [Ferrari] are going to be strong, but it didn’t look for sure any worse than Spa for us, so for sure we have a good chance this weekend,” he said.

Asked if Mercedes was in with a shot of pole on Saturday, Bottas said: “I think we have an opportunity, yeah.

“We definitely need a perfect set-up from the package we have, and a perfect tow, that’s going to be the key.”

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Hamilton says Verstappen wants to move to Mercedes
Hamilton’s Celebrations, Emotional Goodbyes And The Best Team Radio | 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Patrick Head: “Regressive” ’21 F1 rules needed to reduce inequality
What went wrong for Ferrari in 2019?
Lotterer: New FE rules make for “more civilised” races

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *