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Italian Grand Prix 2022

Wolff lauds Verstappen as in "class of own" in 2022

The Mercedes boss has been impressed with his 2021 rival this season

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Toto Wolff has lauded Max Verstappen as his a "class of his own" during the 2022 Formula 1 season as he closes in on a second world title.

Verstappen snatched the 2021 crown from Lewis Hamilton in dramatic circumstances in Abu Dhabi, and while Mercedes have fallen far behind Red Bull in '22, Wolff admits he has been impressed with the Dutchman.

Verstappen impresses Wolff

Verstappen has won 10 of 15 races in 2022, and has a 109 point championship lead with seven rounds remaining - having taken the last four wins on the trot heading into the Italian Grand Prix.

"Verstappen is really now in a class of his own," Wolff said to Sky Sports.

It was a quiet Friday for the #1 at Monza however, only fifth in FP1 and second in FP2 as Ferrari managed to top both sessions at home.

As for Mercedes, they were third and fourth in FP1 (George Russell ahead of Lewis Hamilton) and fifth and seven in FP2 (the same order).

Wolff played down the chances of the team finally scoring that elusive first win of the season on Sunday.

"We did well in the first practice and then suddenly the balance of the car was completely lost," he said.

"We had to deal with overheating tyres and the performance just stopped coming.

"The concept of the car is too far away from this [type of circuit]. We are not efficient."

Mercedes is stronger on higher downforce tracks in 2022, such as the Hungaroring or Zandvoort with the car also being too draggy - a massive hindrance at Monza.

"Ferrari is a little better, but our car is just not coming," he added.

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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