HAMILTON’S HOMEWORK PAYS OFF IN MUGELLO QUALIFYING
Although Valtteri Bottas bossed the practice sessions in the run up to Tuscan Grand Prix qualifying, ultimately it was Hamilton’s perfectly timed fastest lap that won the day and achieved another pole for the 6-time world champion, the 95th of his career. Hamilton had come to Mugello with little experience of the circuit, so he chose to use the time between Monza and this weekend to practice in the Mercedes Simulator. Clearly the homework paid off!
Mugello is a circuit the drivers are enjoying driving around. It’s an undulating circuit with sweeping bends and corners. In particular once they’re out of turn five the drivers have their foot firmly planted to the floor until they get to turn 10. In fact, there are only 6 occasions on the circuit which require braking.
On Hamilton’s pole lap, his minimum speed through Six – known as Casanova – was 177.1mph, then 175.8 at Savelli, and 176.5 and 170.9 through the two right-handers known as Arrabbiata, the loss of speed accounted for by tyre scrub.
After the end of qualifying Bottas said he felt more was in the car but did not get the chance to turn things around on his second run after Esteban Ocon’s Renault went off at Turn Three.
Hamilton was more fortunate and was ahead of Ocon meaning he was able to take a second lap.
The start of the race is likely to be the rest of the fields best chance to make up places as the sprint to the first corner is a lengthy one.
Max Verstappen took P3 for the start of the race, and although he had a bad race at Monza, he showed good pace in qualifying and tends to perform even better in the race. The Red Bull has been set up for faster top speed this weekend so expect to see Verstappen pushing the Mercedes in the early laps.
So, the top 10 grid for the Tuscan Grand Prix is as follows:
- P1 Hamilton – Mercedes
- P2 Bottas – Mercedes
- P3 Verstappen – Red Bull
- P4 Albon – Red Bull
- P5 Leclerc – Ferrari
- P6 Perez – Racing Point
- P7 Stroll – Racing Point
- P8 Ricciardo – Renault
- P9 Sainz – Mclaren
- P10 Ocon – Renault
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