A solid podium finish for George and a strong P5 for Lewis, from the back of the grid, after the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
- George drove a strong race to finish P3 and claim his seventh podium finish of the 2022 season.
- Lewis made a composed charge from P19 to score a P5 finish and achieve a strong damage limitation finish.
- The team is now 35 points behind Ferrari in the constructors’ championship, with six races remaining.
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Unfortunately, this weekend we were not where we wanted to be as a team – but like I said on the radio, it doesn’t matter if we are fast or slow, we keep getting these podium finishes. Over this triple header, two of the three weekends have been very difficult, and I’ve still come away with two podiums and a P4, so we’ve got to be satisfied with that. Looking at today’s race, we had to do something different if we wanted to fight with Max and Charles, so we went for the Hard tyre at the stop, but they were just too quick. That’s all we could do in our position. Now we have some weeks to recharge, regroup as a team and prepare for the final part of this season, so we can take every opportunity that comes our way.
This morning, the team said anywhere between sixth and fourth was possible. That always feel like a stretch when you’re looking ahead at the race – but I had a lot of fun working my way to P5. The beginning was a struggle, with a heavy fuel load and the tyres overheating in traffic, but then we started to make progress as the race unfolded – and I had some fun after the stops working through the traffic. At the end, we stayed out to keep the position on track and it might have been a tough battle if the race restarted, so I’m glad it finished the way it did! Overall, we knew this was going to be a tough weekend with the engine penalty, so I’m pleased to come away with a P5 finish and to have pulled everything out of the car. This wasn’t our best track but we did everything we could as a team, and I hope we have some stronger weekends ahead before the end of the season.
We were clearly the third fastest team today, so third and fifth positions was probably the maximum we could expect. Although the gaps were not as big as in Spa, this was clearly a track that didn’t suit us, so it was a question of maximising our result and doing damage limitation with Lewis. It was enjoyable to watch him fight through the pack – he looked a little bit stuck at the beginning, then once the tyres came together, he was very quick. As for George, he did everything we asked of him, and it was another faultless drive. Looking at the championship, we are 35 points behind with six races to go and we just need to do our best every single week and see where we land after Abu Dhabi. But we also know that our ultimate target was 30 seconds up the road today, and that is the real gap we need to catch up. Finally, a word for Nyck: he did the absolute maximum today, jumping into a car he had barely driven in FP3, then scoring two points. It showed exactly what he is capable of.
Looking at Spa and Monza, the car clearly struggles at the lower downforce levels so to come away with and podium for George and fifth for Lewis having started on the back row is a solid result. The weekend has been tough, we’ve lacked corner entry stability at the rear end which had meant the car was a bit of a handful on the single lap. The gaps in the race were a bit better but it was still impossible to do anything on strategy that would have put George better than third. With hindsight fitting the hard on his car at the first stop was a mistake but he did a good job with it and would have kept Carlos at arm’s length had the race finished without the safety car. Lewis had a tough start to the race getting bogged down in a train of midfield cars but kept attacking and once he got into clear air, was able to put in some good laps and clear the lot. Towards the end of the race, we weren’t pulling in Sergio fast enough to catch but once they stopped it gave us a bonus position and it looked like we’d hold onto it but once the safety car came out that was guaranteed. Triple headers are never easy for the team and this one has been particularly tough, but we hope to perform better in the closing races. The battle with Ferrari for second place gives us a good goal to work towards in the final part of the season, so we’ll be using the next two weeks to prepare as it’s going to be a tough finish with six races in eight weeks.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team