Lewis Hamilton hands Mercedes a positive boost ahead of Italian Grand Prix

02 September, 2017, 00:27 | Author: Cecelia Webb
  • Kimi fans

Hamilton dominated team-mate Valtteri Bottas last weekend, with the Finn only fifth at Spa, but the Mercedes drivers were more closely-matched on day one in Italy, with Bottas leading a one-two in second practice ahead of the Ferraris. "When I walked the track this morning there are some pictures coming back".

"I'm not entirely happy because we had a bit of a mixed run with a lot of traffic and the virtual safety vehicle", Vettel said. "I am looking forward to it".

"I love it here ... when you turn up and see the fans at the gate, there's a lot of Ferrari fans there, but at least 50 percent of them say "Forza Ferrari, come to Ferrari".

"The way the auto went at Spa confirmed our belief that we have addressed its shortcomings", the German champion said, adding that there were no tracks remaining on the calendar in which he expected the sort of problems that had beset the team at Silverstone where Mercedes ran away and hid. Niki Lauda, the Mercedes nonexecutive director, said at Spa that he had discussed a potential move with Vettel but the team firmly denied there had been discussions beyond the Austrian talking to the German driver in the paddock. With that in mind, it's possible to look at the remaining races and make an educated guess (nothing more) as to who should have the more competitive package at each round.

Williams, after a bad race in Belgium last weekend, looked more competitive, with Felipe Massa ninth fastest behind the Force India of Esteban Ocon. I know and we know we have to improve to go with them. While Vandoorne is running the same power unit as introduced in Belgium, Alonso used an upgraded Honda ICE - dubbed spec 3.7 - in FP1 which means he will take a 35-place grid penalty. "I don't yet have the confidence I want and need round here. If we have to be strategic about it then OK".

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo took over and drove a magnificent race into third place on the podium. "It has been 2½ years since I joined the team and I think the progress has been vast".

"We're a paying customer and it's obviously below par - the service that we're seeing at this point in time, because of the reliability issues".

"I think we are on the right track", he told reporters. The vehicle seems nicely balanced here.

Watch out for something that could potentially throw a spanner in the works in qualifying is teams making their drivers work together to slipstream each other in alternate laps in qualifying.

"I'm not trying to weigh up my options and if l was l would phone up Toto and say 'look, I am just doing due diligence and seeing what options are available.' But now l have no plans to do that". This could have much as a half a second benefit if done correctly.



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