Mercedes drivers hoping for an improvement in qualifying

Mercedes drivers hoping for an improvement in qualifying

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Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton
photo: Spas Genev

The Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas hope for some improvement of their performance in qualifying for the Italian Grand prix. They were third and fourth in FP2 at Monza.

Lewis Hamilton

We woke up to torrential rain this morning, which meant it was a less busy first session than normal. We did a few laps but after that it was like having a day in the office when you don’t have too much work to do – I was even snoozing in the car at one point! But we did plenty of laps this afternoon in the dry and we could see that, like in Spa, we had a small gap to Ferrari on both the short and the long runs. My laps felt pretty good, but Ferrari was a little bit quicker today.

We’re all working flat out right now in every part of the team, and we have work to do tonight as well – but there are some areas where we can see deficits, so I hope we can make a little step for qualifying. It has been a big battle for a number of races now, and they have had a small advantage since the middle of the summer, but we are pushing as hard as we can to overcome that. Although we are on Ferrari’s home turf, we have some great support out there and it’s always a boost to see that in the grandstands. It will be a very close fight tomorrow and, like every race weekend, we will be giving it everything we’ve got.

Valtteri Bottas

The conditions out there were quite mixed today with heavy rain in the morning and a dry afternoon. We did only one run in the morning on the Intermediate tyres; Monza is a tricky place in the wet as it is difficult to find the right braking points. We seemed competitive in the wet compared to the cars who were out in similar conditions. Luckily the afternoon was dry and we could get some proper running in; the long runs were especially important as the race is expected to be dry.

As expected, Ferrari seemed very quick in the dry. It’s not going to be easy, but we still have a few things we can improve for qualifying. Compared to Spa, the car felt better in the slow corners which is a good step in the right direction. The weather forecast for tomorrow is not entirely conclusive, so we need to be prepared for everything and get a lot of running done in FP3 no matter if it’s wet or dry.

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