Published: Sat, September 02, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Formula One: Hamilton confident over Mercedes future

Formula One: Hamilton confident over Mercedes future

His left tyres covered in dirt, Lewis Hamilton couldn't catch Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the second practice session on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) for the Italian Grand Prix.

Setting the mark in Monza, where Schumacher is still revered for having won five of his record seven drivers' championships with Ferrari from 2000-04, could provoke a unusual reaction from the throngs of red-clad Ferrari supporters that attend the race each year.

While the rival Mercedes team has operated with a joint number one driver policy between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari has been accused of backing Vettel over Raikkonen, believing the German to be its best bet for a first title since 2008.

"I haven't thought that far ahead to be honest, in terms of what the quality would be like if I was there", the Australian told Sky Sports News' Craig Slater.

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"Valtteri did a great lap today so if we can lock out the front row that would be unbelievable".

"If the chance is there we will take it, of course". They go slow in P1 then a little bit faster in P2 then slow in P3 then faster in Q1 and Q2.

Despite apparent struggles with his grip - even before the track was slickened by rain - Hamilton finished almost half a second ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas as both Mercedes drivers positioned comfortably in front of their rival Ferraris.

Hamilton has regularly spoken about his admiration for the Italian marque in the past but, in the heat of the tightest of title duels, the Mercedes man is aiming to ensure the weekend-long celebrations are topped off with a win for the home team.

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"Well happy 70th. Hopefully it won't be a happy one on Sunday!" "It makes sense to take the penalties here as this track is already not that good for us. P2 wasn't as great as P1, there's work to do".

Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa are the only current drivers to have started more races than Hamilton and while he claimed he was "still young at heart", the three-time world champion felt his Spa performance showed he was always improving.

"They are pushing us and the expectation is very, very high", Arrivabene said of the fans, affectionately known as "tifosi". We are OK, there are a couple of things we need to do better, vehicle balance, stability, braking, which is important round here to get the confidence. Our long-running wasn't ideal.

"All the way through it's just going to could be that Ferrari go to a Mercedes-favored track like Japan and just get it right - we're only talking here about fractions of seconds, so that's why it's genuinely impossible to say". We are ok, but we are not quite where l think we can be. We are not yet where I think we can be but we should be a bit better tomorrow. They are very quick.

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"It's something we have given a lot of thought to over the last couple of weeks", he said.

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