Hamilton: Mercedes qualifying strategy "bang on"

Lewis Hamilton says his Mercedes team had "bang on" tactics to avoid getting caught up in qualifying traffic chaos at Formula 1's 2020 Italian Grand Prix, where he claimed pole.

Hamilton: Mercedes qualifying strategy "bang on"
Listen to this article

The final runs in Q3 for the 2019 event at Monza were blighted by farcical scenes where the top 10 runners jostled for position to avoid running without a tow – an issue that also occurred in FP3 and Q1 this year.

But the Mercedes squad sent Hamilton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas out with over five minutes of Q3 remaining for this final runs, which meant they ran at the head of the field as the pack scrambled out of the pits behind them.

When asked if Mercedes had changed its approach as a result of what happened a year ago – usually the teams prefer to run as late as possible in qualifying to get the best of the track conditions – Hamilton said: "Not really.

"I think we learned from last year in terms of going out at the end wasn't the best for us. The strategy team did a really great job in terms of the timing.

"It's something we discussed yesterday and again today. Ultimately I think it was bang on."

Hamilton also discussed the impact of the tow, which all teams other than Mercedes attempted to secure for their drivers, but the world champion felt the difference between having it and running in clean air was minimal.

"There's a very, very close [time gap] between having clear air and being in the tow," he explained.

"Can't really tell you which one is best. I think some people would tell you being in a tow is best, but you lose out in the middle and the last sector.

"Ultimately I'm really, really grateful and happy with today."

Hamilton ended up 0.808 seconds clear of Carlos Sainz, who qualified third for McLaren, on the first weekend of the new technical directive came into force that means the teams must run their cars in the same engine mode for qualifying and the race.

Hamilton said he "didn't expect" the gap to Sainz, but said he does not "come into weekends with an expectation of how much of a gap we're going to have".

He added: "But of course I don't really understand it.

"We did say last week when they brought in this rule to slow us down that it wasn't really going to make a difference, because we've got a great, great car, and we'll be better in other areas.

"Just an incredible performance this weekend. I think this is definitely the best we've ever been here. Just really got the car in a sweet spot for this weekend.

"Just a huge thank you to all of the guys back at the factory for the simulations, for working on getting parts to these races, and continuously stepping forwards.

"It's such a hard thing to do, and I think people take for granted because we do it weekend in, weekend out. But I certainly don't. It was very, very close. Valtteri was very, very quick so far this weekend.

"I'm really happy with the laps. They're not really anything on the last one that I did, but nonetheless."

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas "not sure how happy Red Bull is" with engine mode change
Previous article

Bottas "not sure how happy Red Bull is" with engine mode change

Next article

Verstappen doubts party mode ban hurt Red Bull in qualifying

Verstappen doubts party mode ban hurt Red Bull in qualifying
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022