Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, finished the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in sixth and ninth places Sunday. Nico finished 6th after running a one-stop strategy (option/prime) and pitting on lap 26. During that stop, the team delivered the race’s fastest pit lane time of 24.079 seconds.
Unfortunately, Lewis suffered a slow right-front puncture on his first set of prime tires that forced him to make an early stop on lap 13, forcing the team to convert to a two-stop strategy with Lewis pitting again on lap 38 – fitting options each time. On the charging drive that followed, Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race in 1:25.849 on lap 51 on his way to finish 9th. His afternoon was further complicated by a total radio failure that meant he relied on his pit board for communication
A tough afternoon saw the team drop to P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, three points behind Ferrari
This hasn’t been one of our best weekends and it feels like everything was a little compromised from the outset. It’s a real shame as the pace of the car looked really good in the race but we weren’t able to take full advantage because of the issues from yesterday. It’s so important here to feel comfortable with the set-up and I wasn’t able to get the car as I wanted after losing the time in third practice. I tried everything to overtake Nico for the extra place today but he was very quick at the end and it didn’t work out. Now we’ll look forward to Singapore in a couple of weeks. I love street circuits so hopefully that will be a better weekend for us.
That was a difficult weekend for me but these things happen and you have to say that it’s been a good year so far. I gave it my all out there today; the pace of the car was great but unfortunately we paid the price for not qualifying far enough up the field. My radio failed right at the start of the race and it’s really tough when that happens as you rely on the advice and information from the team to manage your race. I didn’t even know about the slow puncture until after the race so now it makes more sense why we had to make the extra stop. I did have some fun this afternoon, particularly fighting with Kimi. It’s just tough fighting so far down the field when our car was clearly really quick. We’ll keep pushing together as a team and I know that we’ll bounce back for Singapore. We’ll be giving it everything to make up for this weekend with a stronger performance there
In the end, that was a frustrating race because we had a very quick car today. We can never be certain what Vettel’s ultimate pace could have been at the front of the field but we saw Fernando and Mark fighting hard for second place and our drivers were matching their pace all the time. Lewis’ slow puncture in his first stint obviously compromised his strategy by forcing us to make two stops. But he drove a fantastic fighting race, complicated by the radio failure, and got everything out of the car this afternoon to climb back to P9. With Nico, we have the frustration that he found himself stuck behind a slower car in terms of lap time that was too quick at the critical parts of the lap to be able to overtake. It’s a disappointing result and this weekend reminds us that we need to be on top of our game at all times if we want to maximise our potential. But this afternoon also suggested that we have a competitive car.
Our afternoon was compromised by our starting positions, which resulted from yesterday’s problems, and further difficulties in the race. Nico found himself stuck behind the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg and although we were quicker over the lap, we didn’t have the speed to make a pass when it counted. Lewis’ slow puncture forced him to make an extra pit stop. After that, he showed everybody just how quick the car was and that gave a glimpse of what might have been this afternoon. But we can’t take comfort from what might have been. The result was P6 and P9, well beneath the standards we set ourselves. We now need to focus on delivering on the car’s potential in the next races.