Italian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton says he felt that Ferrari benefitted massively from the qualifying shambles at the end of Q3.
Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s race from P2, having qualified less than half a tenth behind polesitter Charles Leclerc. Having been unable to complete a second run after the pack of nine cars ran out of time at the end of Q3, Hamilton hinted that the Ferraris, close to the front of the pack, had benefitted massively from how the session played out. Speaking immediately after stepping out of the car on the grid at the end of the session, Hamilton said: “It’s crazy with this timing that we have, the system we have, where everyone backs up, everyone is trying to get a position and they time us out. They basically timed us out. It’s interesting – get pole position in the first run and then just time everyone out.”
Speaking to the press shortly after in the official press conference, Hamilton seemed to have reconsidered his opinion a little and softened his stance after reviewing footage of the final outlap: “Honestly, I don’t know how many cars were up ahead, so I don’t know… Charles [Leclerc] just said it was a couple of other cars up ahead so maybe it was them – but ultimately it worked out well for them [Ferrari]. I really don’t know what else to say. It would have been nice to just finish the lap and both put the pedal to the metal but it didn’t happen and we move forwards.”
Asked about whether the entire procedure of the final qualifying runs needs to be looked at as a result of the farcical end to the session, Hamilton said: “The system probably needs to shift a little bit maybe. I don’t think they should start handing out penalties. We just need to look upon it and reflect a little bit and see what we can do to make it better, make it better for the fans and make it less dangerous. Like they already made a change today that we have to finish the out lap within a certain delta time but even that’s still too slow. There’s improvements we can make, for sure, for safety but also for the spectators to watch.”
“I have to be grateful that I’m on the front row. We get to have a fight with the Ferraris tomorrow, which is nice. We’ve split them, so as a team it’s a really good position for us to be in. It is definitely a bit of an anti-climax that we couldn’t all go out and do that last final lap, that’s one of the most exciting ones we have. “