Hamilton: Told you ‘party mode’ ban wouldn’t work

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes Red Bull Racing Point

Formula 1 New Year's Resolutions: Part 2

It was a case of ‘we told you so’ for Lewis Hamilton after he claimed pole for the Italian GP, minus the ‘Party Mode’.

Mercedes continued their stranglehold on pole in 2020 as Hamilton set a 1:18.887 to put himself P1 on the grid, 0.069s up on team-mate Valtteri Bottas who will start from P2.

Carlos Sainz will start from P3, but was eight tenths slower than the Briton who claimed pole number 94 of his career after getting those qualifying tactics “bang on”.

“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,” he told reporters at Monza.

“It’s something we discussed yesterday and again today. Ultimately I think it was bang on.”

Hamilton narrowly avoided disaster in FP3 as cars slowed right down in a pack before the Parabolica to set themselves up for a tow down the main straight.

Those games continued into qualifying, and at the previous race in Spa Hamilton chose to run in clear air rather than behind Bottas for a tow, a decision which brought him pole by over half a second.

And whilst Monza may be known as the ‘Temple of Speed’, Hamilton isn’t so convinced that getting a tow is worth a great deal in qualifying.

“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.”

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The FIA’s ban on ‘quali modes’ came into effect at the Italian Grand Prix but Mercedes were as dominant as ever.

But, for Hamilton this was a case of ‘we told you so’ after he had already played down the impact it would have on the dominant Silver Arrows.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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