Lewis Hamilton called for his Mercedes team to react, again, with an overnight re-think after Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull domination on the opening day of the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
The 28-year-old Briton conceded that Vettel had outpaced him on a hot afternoon at the Autodromo Nazionale, but stressed that he can bounce back for a fifth consecutive pole on Saturday.
“It has been quite a smooth day – ok, we’re not as fast as the Red Bulls, but we are still confident,” he said. “The Red Bull is very quick, but generally my car feels good so I have to sit down tonight and try and understand things.
“I feel like I am on the limit everywhere and the car feels reasonably balanced. Maybe we are running too much wing? We’ll have to see…
“Right now, it doesn’t look massively strong for me for tomorrow, but hopefully we can improve the pace. You don’t know what fuel loads people are on – so we will wait and see.”
Hamilton, like Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, has made clear that he has to cut into Vettel’s massive lead in the drivers’ championship at the next two races if he is to stay in the hunt.
He may draw some comfort from the knowledge that though Vettel has won twice at Monza, compared to his sole win, Red Bull has registered only one Italian victory from 16 starts since 2005 – and regards the Autodromo Nazionale as a bogey circuit.
The winner at Monza, however, has started from pole 10 times in the last 13 years – a statistic that makes it clear that Vettel’s rivals need to overhaul the Red Bull duo to boost their title challenges.
Ahead of the grand prix weekend Hamilton and F1’s most famous dog, Roscoe, strutted around the Monza paddock – the canine perhaps on hand to provide isnpiration! (Reuters)
Subbed by AJN.