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
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021