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Italian GP | Failed hunting for Mercedes at Ferrari’s lair

Lewis Hamilton first and Valtteri Bottas later tried to pick-pocket Charles Leclerc from the emotional win in Monza

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Italian GP | Failed hunting for Mercedes at Ferrari’s lair
Fuente imagen: Jerry Andre/Motorlat Images

A draining 53 laps of pure racing Grand Prix at Monza hasn’t been enough for getting the Silver Arrows in front of the last Ferrari left in the front places. 2 vs 1, like the best scenery western duels. As Charles Leclerc cannot regrets anything as he brought home the second win needed to revive one of the darkest seasons for Maranello; both the Finnish and Briton drivers won’t be dissatisfied from the pursuit they have been capable of.

Lewis Hamilton pitted at the 20th lap moving from Soft to Medium: having only one ore lap of tyre wear compared to Leclerc, he was able to fight on equal terms with the Monegasque. The chase began and the peaks arrived when on lap 23 the clash was made at the Roggia chicane, with Lewis forced to take the turn through the run off area; 9 laps later, the Briton locked up the front tyres at the Prima Variante chicane, suffering the lost of the second position. From there on tyres were completely gone, and Lewis could only manage the PU conservation for the coming rounds:

“It doesn’t really matter what I think. I don’t really have anything to say about it. We’ve gone over and over it multiple times, it’s pointless me bringing it up. I avoided the collision, and just kept focusing on trying to get close again. It seems like the new generation get away with a lot more in that space, of how they manoeuvre their car compared to I’d say the more experienced drivers. But it’s good knowledge, now I know, and I look forward to the next one.

[…] Congratulations to Ferrari and to Charles, he did a great job. A lot of pressure from Valtteri and I. I did the best I could, I think, but obviously following so closely for such a long time the tyres eventually just went off the cliff. Nonetheless, they were just quicker today – much quicker in a straight line, so even if we did get close we couldn’t pass. Not our day but still strong points for the team. We pull away from Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship and ultimately that’s what really matters.

Honestly, I’m just trying to do better each race. I’m not really focused on that at the moment. But of course, a healthier lead than I’ve been in in the past, so obviously I’m grateful for that. But today wasn’t a perfect race. I think this weekend some improvements to be made to my set-up and obviously within myself, so I’ll focus on that for the next race”

Charles Leclerc won an incredible race in Monza, nine years after Fernando Alonso's victory in 2010.

Valtteri Bottas went from Soft to Hard on the 28th lap being constrained to the fourth place until his teammate’s locking at the first chicane gave him the ‘change of the guard’: the Finnish was pumped by the pit wall in taking the win, but a lock up first and the inevitable tyre wear later, constrained the newly confirmed driver to stay just around the DRS activation time zone. A minimum gap nearly half a second was everything Mercedes could put on the plate for the last fence:

“Yeah, I think we had a good strategy with me and I was able to go pretty long in the first stint and that opened up some opportunities at the end. But I’m gutted, you know. I was trying everything I could to get him and there was no way past. Always when I was getting close enough I started left-front locking, because of the lack of downforce and they are so quick in the straights as well. But I tried and I think it was the best I could do today.

Yeah, it was really difficult. We were trying everything we could with engine modes and everything, but not quite enough. Yep, we move on.

[…] For sure, it’s annoying because it’s so close – finishing less than one second behind the leader. But, yeah, at least I tried everything I could. We tried. The tricky bit was that they were so quick on the straights. It required us to be so close in the corners that it was not really possible to follow, leading the straight (sic), and also getting issues with brakes locking up once getting so close to the car ahead. I was pushing hard, so what can I say? Just not quite enough. Otherwise, it was a good race. I enjoyed it a lot, hunting for the win and the pace was pretty good especially in the second stint”

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