Hamilton: Monza win was biggest mental blow to Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton believes his triumph at the Italian Grand Prix last month delivered Ferrari its biggest mental blow of the season.

Hamilton: Monza win was biggest mental blow to Ferrari

Ferrari had headed into its home race at Monza on the back of an important win in Belgium, and its speed in qualifying to lock out the front row left it odds on for a 1-2 finish.

But the team threw away its golden opportunity in allowing Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel to race each other at the start, as that allowed Hamilton his chance to make a move at the second chicane.

Read Also:

Hamilton got past Vettel, who spun off, and then set about pursuing and ultimately overcoming Raikkonen to pull off one of the surprises of the season.

With that win heralding the start of a run of wins in Singapore, Russia and Japan that helped him secure the world championship in Mexico last weekend, Hamilton has singled out Monza as a key weekend for title momentum.

"I would say that day was probably the biggest psychological blow for them," he said in an interview with select media including Motorsport.com. 

"They'd had a couple – Seb's psychological difficult time was when he made a personal mistake. When the team makes a mistake it's painful, but when you personally make a mistake as a driver, when it's in your control, that's a horrible feeling.

"So, he would have taken that to heart. Then we had that fight at Monza and that would've been a team blow for them surely."

With Mercedes having struggled at the previous Belgian GP, Hamilton admitted that missing out on the front row at Monza had been hard to cope with.

"We'd lost the race before.. We knew we were up against it coming into Monza," he said. "We were hopeful that we might be able to out perform. Probably with a perfect lap maybe I could have qualified second.

"Actually on my side I was frustrated... No, pissed off with myself basically. That is just how it is. I never hold back on it.

"I thought I've done all that practising, then you mess it up in qualifying. I did do a good lap, it was just I still lost half a tenth here or there and that would've been the difference between second or third.

"Then, Saturday night it was difficult, and I was thinking a lot about how aggressive I wanted to be on the Sunday. It is very difficult to gauge how aggressive you should be. You go too far, spin off, cause an accident and start from last. Or crash.

"Or don't do enough and you don't capitalise on the window that was there. That's always the unknown. You don't know what's going to happen until it's presented to you and that's the great thing about motor racing, particularly races."

Hamilton's success in Monza was mentally important, but he knew that more work was ultimately needed if Mercedes was going to pull off the championship.

"We still didn't get complacent after that great result for us. We knew that we still had to execute. We were going to places like Singapore where Ferrari again usually destroy us. And what a weekend that was."

Hamilton says that the 2018 campaign threw up a number of surprises, but reckons that it was the strength in depth of Mercedes that helped him come out on top.

"None of us predicted the things that were going to happen," he said. "We couldn't have predicted we were going to win in Hockenheim. No one knew we were going to win in Monza or particularly Singapore.

"Collectively we've all done an amazing job in this team. How we manage our sessions, depending upon whether we go out out first in qualifying or later on which the Ferraris always do and get stuck in traffic.

"All these different things. We've really listened to each other and really executed."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with his team

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with his team

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Sutton Images

 

shares
comments
Hartley realised he needed to defend himself

Previous article

Hartley realised he needed to defend himself

Next article

"It's not going to be straightforward": Why Mexico was so tough for F1 teams

"It's not going to be straightforward": Why Mexico was so tough for F1 teams
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Prime

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021 Prime

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Prime

How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021