Speaking after qualifying, Sir Lewis Hamilton was concerned about just how difficult the Italian Grand Prix is going to be, with the seven-time World Champion starting in P19 following a ‘back of the grid’ penalty.
The British driver has taken a new power unit for Monza, exceeding his legal limit.
This has resulted in the British driver, alongside, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz being moved to the back of the grid, where they’ll be joined by Yuki Tsunoda.
The Mercedes driver had qualified fifth but was a whopping 1.4 seconds behind polesitter Charles Leclerc.
The Brit wasn’t expecting much from the race on Sunday, with a DRS train looking likely to be the probable home of Hamilton during the race.
The 37-year-old joked that he’ll take his iPad with him during the race, so that he can watch Game of Thrones whilst being stuck in the train.
“I was thinking of just taking my iPad with me in the race and when I’m in the DRS line just watch…there’s a new Game of Thrones out,” he joked to reporters.
“I’ve stopped watching it because I like to binge-watch. There are lots of adverts in the middle and then you’re at the end and are like ‘I want to watch the next thing’.”
The Brit doesn’t think he’ll be able to work his way through the DRS train, with Hamilton having experienced the effect of a DRS train during FP3.
During Saturday morning’s session, the Silver Arrows driver found himself behind former team-mate Valtteri Bottas but was unable to get close enough to pass.
“I was behind Valtteri in practice and couldn’t catch him nor pass him,” Hamilton revealed.
“I hope I don’t get stuck tomorrow, but I’m imagining tomorrow everyone will be stuck in a DRS train and it will just be sitting there and waiting for the strategy, tyre degradation and those sorts of things to come into play.”
Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell qualified sixth for Sunday’s race, but following all the grid penalties the 24-year-old incredibly finds himself starting on the front row alongside Leclerc.
Russell was also 1.4 seconds behind the Monegasque driver, making him feel like he “doesn’t deserve” to be starting alongside the Ferrari.
The Brit complained about being unable to get the W13 into the “sweet spot”, with the car having become worse throughout the session.
“We don’t deserve to be starting P2 after today’s performance,” Russell claimed.
“It was again a frustrating session because we can’t seem to get the car in that sweet spot.
“FP1 the car felt great, in FP2, FP3 substantially worse. In Q1, the car felt great, [we were] a few tenths off Ferrari. Q2 was worse, Q3 was worse.
“But ultimately that’s been a theme this season. Lining up P2 we’ll have a faster race car, probably not fast enough to battle with Max [Verstappen], potentially [we can fight] Charles.”
The Silver Arrows have struggled all season with qualifying, with the team being considerably stronger on Sunday’s than Saturday’s.
The British driver has no idea why the team have made next to zero progress with their qualifying issues, with the Mercedes engineers appearing to be no closer to solving their one-lap pace woes.
“I’d love to tell you,” Russell replied when asked about why the team struggle on Saturdays.
“We’ve got the best engineers in the business working day and night to understand why our performance is fluctuating so much 15 races in and we still don’t have a grasp as to why that is. So that’s a bit disappointing.
“We are in no man’s land on a Saturday in terms of performance because we are so far behind the front two and a little bit ahead of the midfield. At least we have a fast race car.”
The spectacle of the race will be to see once again how fast Max Verstappen can make his way to the front of the field.
The Dutchman qualified second but will start seventh following a five-place grid penalty, giving the reigning World Champion a similar task, he faced at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Russell doesn’t think it’ll take the championship leader long to get to the front, with the Brit setting a prediction that Verstappen will be leading the race by Lap 15.
“We are not really too focused on him because it doesn’t matter what he does, and what they [Red Bull] do, they will finish ahead of us ultimately,” said Russell to Sky Sports F1.
“He’ll probably be in the lead after 15 laps maybe. I don’t think it’s quite as easy to overtake here as it was at Spa, but with the pace they’ve got they’ll be slicing through.”