Lewis Hamilton hopes Mercedes gets double chance at Monza sprint weekend – .

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Lewis Hamilton hopes Mercedes gets double chance at Monza sprint weekend – .


Lewis Hamilton praised Valtteri Bottas after his Mercedes teammate propelled him to first place in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton congratulated Valtteri Bottas after his Mercedes teammate propelled him to the top spot in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton has said Mercedes need to maximize the full Italian GP weekend after locking down the front row for the first leg of the weekend’s racing action, Saturday’s sprint.

Hamilton will start the 18-lap race – which sets the starting order for Sunday’s grand prix and awards points to the top three – second on the grid behind teammate Valtteri Bottas after the Finn edged him in qualifying with what the Briton recognized was a “mega” final round.

Of greatest importance to Mercedes was the extent of their advantage over championship rivals Red Bull. Points leader Max Verstappen was 0.4 seconds slower than Bottas and has just beat off the fast McLaren for third place.

Reflecting on qualifying, Hamilton said: “Valtteri did a great job at the end. It’s not the best qualifying for me. The P1 was really good, for some reason I struggled in this session.

Valtteri Bottas joins Sky F1’s Paul di Resta at SkyPad after qualifying the fastest for the Italian Grand Prix “sprint” race.

Valtteri Bottas joins Sky F1’s Paul di Resta at SkyPad after qualifying the fastest for the Italian Grand Prix “sprint” race.

“But, still, first row and great to have a front row lockout for the team. Especially with the news from last week, it’s great to see Valtteri driving so well.

“I don’t know where they [Red Bull] have pulled their pace but it’s going to be tight. They were miles from [qualifying] one and two but all of a sudden were there with us so it always shows that we are still close. “

Hamilton, who started out on top in the previous F1 sprint at Silverstone in July but lost to Verstappen, added: “We have to get off to a good start and try to maximize the two days. “

The sprint starts at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, with Sky Sports F1 ramping up from 2:35 p.m. Sunday’s Italian GP will start at 2 p.m.

Wolff hints at change if Bottas stays ahead in sprint

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is refusing to be complacent ahead of the Italian GP, ​​though both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton secured a front row lockout for the team in Monza qualifying.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is refusing to be complacent ahead of the Italian GP, ​​though both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton secured a front row lockout for the team in Monza qualifying.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is refusing to be complacent ahead of the Italian GP, ​​though both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton secured a front row lockout for the team in Monza qualifying.

Thanks to the addition of the sprint race, there is a maximum of 49 points available for teams to score at Monza compared to the usual 44.

But although they start with their two cars up front for Saturday, Mercedes is highly unlikely to make full use of the weekend as Bottas will serve a grid penalty for engine changes and start the Grand Prix of Sunday since the last place.

“We had a little worry [on the engine] because we wouldn’t have taken it any other way, ”Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said of the Sky F1 penalty.

“In the sprint race format it’s pretty good because you can only take the penalty for Sunday. “

Bottas’ grid position on Sunday is now known and Wolff has hinted that they may have to consider changing the order of the sprint if the Finn stays ahead of Hamilton.

Hamilton is in a close battle for the title with Verstappen, whom the Dutchman leads by three points. Three points are available for the winner of the sprint against two for the second and one for the third.

“It’s usually tough when you have to call team orders because all of us, as riders, don’t want to see each other,” Wolff said. “Everyone here should know that he is [where he is] on merit.

“But in this case, Valtteri goes all the way on Sunday anyway, so we have to see how the start goes because there isn’t too much to discuss [apart from] just be careful on the first corner. Then we’ll see where they are. “

When asked if they would likely try to change the order later in the race if Bottas were still ahead of Hamilton up front, Wolff replied, “Presumably yes. “

Can Verstappen challenge Mercedes in the sprint?

Red Bull's Max Verstappen looks back on his qualifying session after finishing third behind the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen looks back on his qualifying session after finishing third behind the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen looks back on his qualifying session after finishing third behind the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Monza’s ‘Temple of Speed’ has not been a happy hunting ground for Red Bull in the age of hybrid-turbo engines. The team finished on the podium for the last time and started inside the top two rows for the race in 2013.

Third on Saturday’s initial grid therefore presents an improvement and team boss Christian Horner said: “To be honest, based on last year’s deficit. [0.9s], we’ve almost halved that gap. “

Verstappen, who benefited from an orchestrated ‘tow’ from teammate Sergio Perez on his best lap in Q3, said: “It wasn’t the best qualifying session but I think this track will always be difficult for us. . a little more than we wanted in FP1, but I think we recovered quite well throughout qualifying.

“I’m happy to be third and it would have been unrealistic to hope for more. I think for the sprint race maybe we can be closer but you never know here so of course we’ll try to keep the pressure on.

Looking ahead to the first of two starts this weekend, Horner added: “What’s interesting is the descent to the first corner. Max is on the right side of the grid and hopefully picks up a tow on the way down to the first corner. “

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