mercedes hamilton italian gp f1 2022-001

Mercedes expect to fare better at the Italian Grand Prix at the high-speed Autodromo Nazionale di Monza this weekend than at Spa-Francorchamps in August but not as strongly at Zandvoort last Sunday.

Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton described qualifying for the high-speed Belgian Grand Prix as a ‘kick in the teeth’ after a lap 1.8 seconds slower than Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen.

Reigning champions Mercedes, yet to win this season, were much more competitive at tighter Zandvoort, with Hamilton leading for a while and George Russell finishing second to Verstappen.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said on Wednesday the car’s aerodynamics for Monza would be very similar to those at Spa.

“We are optimistic that some of the specific problems we had in Spa over the bumps shouldn’t affect us,” he said in a weekend debrief.

“So we think we can get the car in a better working window. However, the Red Bull does look very efficient, it’s fast on the straights and it’s quick in the corners and those problems seem bigger for us when we go to the low downforce tracks.”

The World Champions are unsure how they will perform at Monza but are optimistic

russell hamilton dutch gp

Shovlin added: “It is difficult to say exactly where we will be but probably not as strong as we were in Zandvoort but hopefully nowhere near as difficult as it was in Spa.”

He also believes that at Zandvoort had been one of the first races this season where Mercedes had scenarios where they could have won a race on merit.

Verstappen has won 10 of 15 races this season and leads the championship by 109 points with seven rounds remaining.

Last year Hamilton and Verstappen crashed during their bitter duel for the lead, that characterised the entire 2021 season but this year Mercedes are going have to provide their drivers something special to be close to the Red Bull driver

By Sunday evening at Monza, F1 fans will know if indeed the Silver Arrows were worthy of this optimism or not. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)

2022 f1 championship points standings after dutch gp