Surprisingly, but for the second Grand Prix in a row, Mercedes drivers can't show strong performances. Did Ferrari really finally sort out their problems? Or the Mercedes a little lost ground?
The fact is that for the last five years the team hasn't been equal in Monza, all the victories went to Lewis Hamilton. However, looking at their results in Monza this year, it seems that they again risk staying in Ferrari's shadow. Like last weekend in Spa.
The main reason for the weak performance of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in today's qualifying was the Kimi Raikkonen crash. Due to the red flags, the drivers didn’t have time to use their attempts and complete the lap. An error in timing and traffic on the last lap in Q3 aggravated the situation. In fact, Leclerc was the first on the track than secured his position. And all the other drivers were literally squeezed by each other and just didn’t have time to pass the lap.
Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was left unsatisfied with the qualifying final, but at the same time the driver is glad to start from the front row and separate Ferrari drivers.
"The end of Q3 was a bit of an anti-climax; we couldn't all go out and do that final lap, which is usually one of the most exciting parts of a race weekend. There was more time in the car, so it's disappointing that we didn't get to properly thrash that out on the final lap and see who had that little edge today," - Hamilton said.
"It's great to be able to get on the front row and separate the Ferraris. Together we've got a good chance as a team to get that Ferrari, but let's see tomorrow."
The Mercedes principal Toto Wolff also was absolutely unhappy with the situation in Q3 and the fact that his drivers didn’t get a chance to compete for pole, but still hopes for this chance in tomorrow race.
"Starting P2 and P3 in Monza and splitting the Ferraris is not a bad situation at all so we are very much looking forward to the race tomorrow. This position is something we would have taken coming here, but we are all racers and of course we will aim for more on Sunday. We are in a good position, we have a good car, not the fastest on the straights, but there are options. We'll make sure we are ready for tomorrow and I know we're all looking forward to getting out there and scoring some solid points."
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas also had an unfortunate end to qualifying and took the P3, starting from the second row on Sunday. Valtteri had the same problem as the other drivers - a mess of Q3 last lap. However, the driver stated that his car has good pace and speed, which gives him confidence in foght for victory with Ferrari in tomorrow race.
"The final run was a bit of a mess for everyone. We just ran out of the time at the end of Q3. I got stuck in traffic and then it was too late to get to the line for a second quick lap. It's a shame, we all would have liked to get that lap in and I'm sure everyone wanted to see that too; hopefully we can learn from this," - Bottas said after the qualifying.
"In general, the pace was good and I'm pleased with my performance today. I'm happy to be right behind the front row; we all know that it's tomorrow that counts and you've always got a good chance starting in the top three here. Our race pace seemed good yesterday, so hopefully we can take the fight to the Ferraris tomorrow."