Mercedes has faced yet another challenging weekend on the race track at Monza. The team found itself trailing, with the Ferrari teams evidently a step ahead. As a result, the W14 ended up being the third-fastest car, a difficult position for a team that is used to leading races.
Seven-time world champion, Hamilton, has lately been confronted with struggles during qualifying sessions. He only managed to secure a 13th position start at Zandvoort and an 8th position start at Monza. Despite managing to climb up the order during the actual races and scoring reasonably well in terms of points, his team still found themselves trailing pacesetter Red Bull.
Hamilton stated, “Races are pretty straightforward for me. I’ve just got to do better in qualifying, so it’s not such a difficult day. And just living with the car that we have at the moment. Today is the third fastest car, and it’s obviously painful for all of us. We wish we were quicker. But we’re just counting down the days until February.”
During the Monza race, Hamilton adopted an offset starting tyre strategy for the second consecutive time, opting for the hard tyres as one of only three drivers to make that choice.
He, however, made his pit stop early for medium tyres on the 27th lap, catching him by surprise as he had planned to continue for at least eight more laps. Hamilton voiced his doubts about the durability of his mediums, at one point even saying, “Now we’re screwed, I don’t know how these tyres are going to last.”
When questioned about his radio messages, Hamilton explained, “I definitely wasn’t upset. I was just supposed to go to lap 35, and the pace didn’t feel that great at that point. But they stopped me. The lap I pitted they said that I was going to target, and then all of a sudden they boxed me. So I was a little bit confused with that, that’s all. And then I was definitely concerned that I might not make it to the end. The gap was large between myself and the McLarens, I dropped back behind an Aston. So I didn’t, at that point, realise what my trajectory might be. But I took care of the tyres, closed the gap, and had that good battle.”