Mercedes say Hamilton not to blame for penalty
Mercedes says that Lewis Hamilton should not blame himself for the error which cost him the chance of his ninetieth Grand Prix win at the Italian Grand Prix.
The six-times champion entered the pit lane after it was closed following Kevin Magnussen’s Haas stopped in the pit entry. The following safety car caused Hamilton to make a distinctive stop after the pit lane closed, that earned him a stop-go penalty.
Hamilton, who had led from pole, finished seventh after a penalty dropped him to last, allowing Pierre Gasly took a shock win instead. The Briton told reporters he had not seen electronic warning boards but Mercedes said that was to be expected.
Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said Hamilton did not been best placed to spot something that should have been picked up by the team.
In his video de-brief, Shovlin said, “The team takes responsibility for it. We’ll put systems in place to make sure we don’t do this again. He (Hamilton) will always want to improve and to put it right himself and that was probably why he took the blame for this but really we need to put it on our shoulders.”
Shovlin also believes that Hamilton had not to blame for coming into the pit lane as the closed pitlane message came 11 seconds after the safety car was deployed. Hamilton, comfortably ahead, entered the pitlane 10 seconds later.
The strategy director said the key message was not noticed by the team, who had only seconds to react until it was too late.
“We can hear from other team radio that it took them about 10 seconds to notice it as well and that 10 seconds was the crucial period where because Lewis was so far in the lead of the race he was just able to come in.”
Wolff’s uncertain on future roll
Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says his long stretch is “taking its toll” on him, but he will remain in the role next season. The Austrian’s future has been speculated for months with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.
According to Motorsport.com, Wolff is likely to move into a new position at the outfit that will give him freedom not to attend all races and allow him to better manage his time.
Wolff has been open about the role of team principal has got to him, which is why he wants a change.
Wolff said “I love this team and I get along with [Mercedes CEO] Ola Källenius fantastically. I think this is my place. It is just that eight years in this team as a team principal are taking its toll, and this is something that I’m reflecting on.”
He says that it is important to take the right decision for my family and myself, but is sure he will be involved in the team.
Asked about Lewis Hamilton, with the pair having forged an ultra-successful partnership together. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport last weekend, Wolff said that Hamilton’s fate at the team was entirely independent of what he decided to do.
Ferrari not facing crisis despite Monza DNFs
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the team is still not facing a crisis despite its double retirement from the Italian Grand Prix and recent poor form.
The Italian manufacturer had its worst Italian Grand Prix since 1984, with both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc’s races came to an end before the halfway mark.
Vettel was forced to retire after just six laps due to a brake failure, while Leclerc crashed at high speed when running fourth, ending hopes of points for Ferrari at its home race. It was the second race in a row where Ferrari failed to score points as it struggles in the midfield.
The team has now slumped to sixth in the constructors’ championship, dropping below Renault, and is just 14 points clear of Alpha Tauri in seventh.
Binotto said after the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa that the team was not facing a crisis, merely a “storm”, and felt nothing had changed after the double DNF at Monza.
Speaking to Autosport after Monza, Binotto said, “I think we were not in a crisis last time, and I can confirm that is not the case, I can conclude today that it was a bad conclusion to a difficult race, especially when you have reliability issues [such] as the ones Seb has.”
“That is the worst conclusion to a difficult weekend. But it is more important that we look forward and consider these lessons learned for the future, and that the team can become stronger.”
The struggles Ferrari have been linked to a technical directive issued by the FIA looking to clamp down on engine rules was issued over the winter. It also admitted that the power-sensitive circuits were going to be difficult for the Italian squad, giving Binotto hope the upcoming races would offer better results.
Binotto added, “We knew Spa and Monza would be difficult for us, they would be the worst ones. Hopefully, the next one can be a bit better. But in the end I think the performance of the current car is certainly not what we would like.”
Looking ahead to the teams 1,000th race this weekend he added, “It is a different type of circuit compared to Spa and Monza, so I think it will be important for us to understand our level of competitiveness at such a circuit.”
Touching comments made by Hamilton
Pierre Gasly said Lewis Hamilton’s words of praise after his Italian Grand Prix win were “very touching” and has revealed how much advice the reigning world champion has given him in recent months.
Hamilton complimented Gasly after his stunning first F1 victory at Monza, saying the performance showed Red Bull was wrong to drop the French driver to its second team Alpha Tauri last year. The Frenchman has been one of the standout performers this season.
Speaking to ESPN, Gasly has revealed that he regularly exchanges messages and questions with Hamilton. Gasly said, “For me Lewis is a very special guy, someone I really looked at when I was a kid and in my eyes is probably the best driver we ever had in F1, or at least part of the two or three top guys if not the best guy.”
“So when I heard the words he said it’s obviously very touching and unbelievable because for me it feels strange because these guys I looked at since I’m 10 years old and was always a great example to follow and now I’m racing with him and he’s talking this way about me.”
Gasly says that he has got to know Hamilton over the past two years, and spoke to him over the weekend for advice, saying they communicated over the weekend for advice. He says “When you get such strong words from a six-time world champion, who will become a seven-time world champion in a couple of months, it’s pretty special.”
Hamilton is two race wins away from Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 victories. He also looks set to equal Schumacher’s record seven world titles later this year. Gasly says that Hamilton is the best in the sport and there is something he can learn from his experience.
He says the Englishman has been at the top of the sport since 2007, which is unbelievable and everything he can learn from him, he will try to take everything with me.
Gasly says throughout lockdown they grew closer playing Call of Duty, when they started to discuss F1 with the six-times champion.
Asked who was the better player, he said: “It’s hard to say! It’s pretty funny to play together and team up together as it’s very different to normal, we’ve got to help each other if we want to get the win.
Renault wants partner not a customer
Renault says it has interested in supplying other teams with engines in the future if they become a “partner” of the French car manufacturer rather than a straight customer.
From next year the manufacturer will only provide engines to it is works team, which is being renamed as Alpine. Current customer outfit McLaren has decided to switch to Mercedes from 2021.
Managing director Cyril Abiteboul is happy that Renault can focus only on itself for now, but says that, if there is an opportunity to align properly with someone else in the future, he would welcome it. Abiteboul told Motorsport.com, ““It has to be more of a partner team than a customer team.”
“A customer brings you nothing. A partner maybe can bring you some value, the value being in particular that it can help you in reaching a sporting objective or business objective.”
“We know that the [financial] transaction is regulated anyway, so it’s mainly from a sporting and technical perspective that we would look at the opportunity.”
Honda is yet to commit to F1 beyond the 2022 regulation change, meaning that it is not impossible that Red Bull could be in need of a fresh supplier longer term. Abiteboul has played down the prospect of renewal with Red Bull as unlikely, with Renault and Red Bull have had a difficult relationship in the past.
Abiteboul said “Red Bull is a works team with Honda. I think the first thing is for Honda to decide for their own commitment, for their own strategy in the sport. We’ve been there with Red Bull. It didn’t work.”
At Monza, Abiteboul suggested that Red Bull had “missed a trick” by not having a works engine partner, something he says it could have done with Renault in the past.
He believes that the reason why Red Bull is struggling to close the last few tenths, is because they have already rejected the possibility of much more integration.
Adding, “We have progressed between Viry and Enstone. We have a long term commitment in the sport and…now that we secured the future we can think what we want to do from a customer or partnership perspective.
5G feeling for drivers at Mugello
Former F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella has told Motorsport.com he expects that drivers will pull 5G through Mugello’s quickest and most challenging corner sequence.
In an interview with the website, the Italian believes the double right-hander sequence called Arrabbiata 1 and Arrabbiata 2 will be flat out in qualifying and deliver a cornering sensation not seen very often on the calendar.
He said, “The most exciting and difficult part of the circuit, Arrabbiata 1 and Arrabbiata 2 is going to be flat in a qualifying session at over 260/270km/h. Amazing.”
Fisichella says that drivers will face incredible forces there – well up on what he experienced driving the old Ferrari F1 car.
He explained, “The lateral G is over four, but I think in a qualifying session it will be even over five, which is incredible, and the speed at the moment here is 244/245km/h, but, as I told you, it is going to be over 270km/h in a qualifying session.”