Hamilton: Mercedes qualifying strategy "bang on"

Lewis Hamilton says his Mercedes team had "bang on" tactics to avoid getting caught up in qualifying traffic chaos at Formula 1's 2020 Italian Grand Prix, where he claimed pole.

Hamilton: Mercedes qualifying strategy "bang on"

The final runs in Q3 for the 2019 event at Monza were blighted by farcical scenes where the top 10 runners jostled for position to avoid running without a tow – an issue that also occurred in FP3 and Q1 this year.

But the Mercedes squad sent Hamilton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas out with over five minutes of Q3 remaining for this final runs, which meant they ran at the head of the field as the pack scrambled out of the pits behind them.

When asked if Mercedes had changed its approach as a result of what happened a year ago – usually the teams prefer to run as late as possible in qualifying to get the best of the track conditions – Hamilton said: "Not really.

"I think we learned from last year in terms of going out at the end wasn't the best for us. The strategy team did a really great job in terms of the timing.

"It's something we discussed yesterday and again today. Ultimately I think it was bang on."

Hamilton also discussed the impact of the tow, which all teams other than Mercedes attempted to secure for their drivers, but the world champion felt the difference between having it and running in clean air was minimal.

"There's a very, very close [time gap] between having clear air and being in the tow," he explained.

"Can't really tell you which one is best. I think some people would tell you being in a tow is best, but you lose out in the middle and the last sector.

"Ultimately I'm really, really grateful and happy with today."

Hamilton ended up 0.808 seconds clear of Carlos Sainz, who qualified third for McLaren, on the first weekend of the new technical directive came into force that means the teams must run their cars in the same engine mode for qualifying and the race.

Hamilton said he "didn't expect" the gap to Sainz, but said he does not "come into weekends with an expectation of how much of a gap we're going to have".

He added: "But of course I don't really understand it.

"We did say last week when they brought in this rule to slow us down that it wasn't really going to make a difference, because we've got a great, great car, and we'll be better in other areas.

"Just an incredible performance this weekend. I think this is definitely the best we've ever been here. Just really got the car in a sweet spot for this weekend.

"Just a huge thank you to all of the guys back at the factory for the simulations, for working on getting parts to these races, and continuously stepping forwards.

"It's such a hard thing to do, and I think people take for granted because we do it weekend in, weekend out. But I certainly don't. It was very, very close. Valtteri was very, very quick so far this weekend.

"I'm really happy with the laps. They're not really anything on the last one that I did, but nonetheless."

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas "not sure how happy Red Bull is" with engine mode change

Previous article

Bottas "not sure how happy Red Bull is" with engine mode change

Next article

Verstappen doubts party mode ban hurt Red Bull in qualifying

Verstappen doubts party mode ban hurt Red Bull in qualifying
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Italian GP
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Alex Kalinauckas
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021