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Why Mercedes are expecting a challenging Italian GP

With Monza a circuit where power is paramount, Toto Wolff is expecting the Italian Grand Prix to be a more difficult race for Mercedes.

Russell Hamilton Zandvoort
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff says his team are expecting a more challenging time at the Italian Grand Prix than they had had at the previous weekend's Dutch Grand Prix.

Seeking to maximise the potential of Pirelli's Hard compound tyres at Zandvoort, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ran longer into the race than any other car before making a pit stop, and were first and second for several laps.

Ultimately, a late Safety Car period and the resultant bunching of the pack ahead of the restart saw Russell and Hamilton drop to second and fourth, with seven-time World Champion Hamilton notably suffering on worn tyres towards the end of the race.

Though Mercedes are yet to win a Grand Prix in 2022, Wolff praised his team for giving Hamilton and Russell the platform to compete at the front in Zandvoort.

"We didn't have the fastest car across the Dutch GP weekend, but the team did a fantastic job putting us in the mix to win the race and we need to ensure we're in that position on a more regular basis," said Wolff.

"We took some risks in Zandvoort and not all of them worked; we exist to fight for victories and will never shy away from making bold decisions.

"We scored good points in our chase for P2 in the championship and it was fun to be back in the fight. Through everyone's hard work, we're edging closer to that first win of the season."

Mercedes in better shape for Monza than Spa?

However, with this weekend's Italian Grand Prix being run on the notoriously high-speed Monza circuit, Wolff cautioned that Mercedes W13 may not pair well with the track known as the Temple of Speed.

Two races ago at the Belgian Grand Prix, held on the low-downforce Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Hamilton and Russell could only log the seventh and eighth fastest times during final qualifying.

"While Zandvoort suited our car, Monza is likely to be a more challenging weekend owing to the circuit characteristics," said Wolff.

"But we're optimistic we'll be in better shape than other low-downforce tracks like Spa, thanks to our learning since then, and be pushing hard to be fighting for the podium once again."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: What's next in F1's 2023 driver market?

Max Verstappen took his tenth win of 2022 at Zandvoort, but once again there was plenty of attention on off-track matters, with Oscar Piastri confirmed at McLaren for 2023, and Alpine left licking their wounds and searching for another driver.

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Dutch Grand Prix.

F1 2022 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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