Lewis Hamilton claims he has not yet reached his full potential
Though the six-time World Champion would appear to have a comfortable Championship lead, he confessed that he is not yet at his limit in the W11.
Shaky start to the weekend
In the first practice session ever held at Mugello on Friday, Lewis Hamilton could only manage a mediocre P4, behind Leclerc, Verstappen and his teammate in the lead.
Photo credit: Mercedes
It was a similar story in FP2, as Bottas led once again with Hamilton behind in P2, but only ahead of Verstappen by four-hundredths of a second. The Brit even explained that there was no point in altering his strategy or reconfiguring his car, as he simply was not driving at the limit.
“Today I was just trying to get a clean gap in front of me to focus on improving my driving,” said Hamilton after practice had been concluded.
“There’s not a huge amount of changes I need to do to the car at the moment, because when you’re experienced as a racing driver, you know there are times where there’s no point changing the car because you’re not driving it well enough.
“So you’ve got to get to the point where you’re at the limit, and then you can tweak it. There are areas where I’ve got to make a big change but I’ll do that tonight and hopefully improve for tomorrow.
“I’m trying to push it to the limit, but there are sections… like the last sector obviously, I’ve got that sorted. I’m pretty happy with that, but the first and second sectors are a little bit weak for me. Particularly the first sector. So there’s plenty to come from that section - as you’ve seen Max and Valtteri are very quick through there.”
New test for drivers and cars
The introduction of Mugello proved to be somewhat of a challenge for teams, given the track’s fast nature and its lack of runoff areas - something Lando Norris is well aware of after a crash at Turn 3 in FP2.
“There’s no time for play here. It’s a very serious track,” said Hamilton. “It’s all medium and high - you don’t go lower than third or fourth gear. It is so quick and there’s not a lot of run-off area really, particularly if you look at [Turns] 8 and 9.”
Redemption for Monza?
Despite his penalty and resulting P7 finish at Monza last weekend, Hamilton still approaches the Tuscan Grand Prix with a hefty 47 point lead in the Drivers’ Championship - a true testament to Mercedes’ dominance this season; can he turn the W11’s superior pace into a win on Sunday?