Lewis Hamilton feels Scuderia Ferrari are again the team to beat this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with the Briton ending third fastest behind Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen in the only dry session of Friday.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver only completed six laps in the morning session as heavy rain affected proceedings, but he ran thirty-one in the afternoon but could not get onto the pace set by Vettel, with the German ending up 0.287 seconds clear of Hamilton.
“We woke up to torrential rain this morning, which meant it was a less busy first session than normal,” said Hamilton. “We did a few laps but after that it was like having a day in the office when you don’t have too much work to do – I was even snoozing in the car at one point!
“But we did plenty of laps this afternoon in the dry and we could see that, like in Spa, we had a small gap to Ferrari on both the short and the long runs. My laps felt pretty good, but Ferrari was a little bit quicker today.
“We’re all working flat out right now in every part of the team, and we have work to do tonight as well – but there are some areas where we can see deficits, so I hope we can make a little step for qualifying.”
Hamilton admits it has been tough to fight with Ferrari in recent races, but Mercedes are pushing as hard as they can to reclaim their position at the top of the pile, and he knows that they will be putting everything they can into this weekend’s race.
“It has been a big battle for a number of races now, and they have had a small advantage since the middle of the summer, but we are pushing as hard as we can to overcome that,” said Hamilton.
“Although we are on Ferrari’s home turf, we have some great support out there and it’s always a boost to see that in the grandstands. It will be a very close fight tomorrow and, like every race weekend, we will be giving it everything we’ve got.”