Lewis Hamilton reacts to Carlos Sainz performance

Charles Leclerc is the last Ferrari driver to win the Italian GP, back in 2019.

Lewis Hamilton was pleased to see Carlos Sainz claim pole position for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, with the Spaniard’s lap having sent the Italian fans into ecstasy.

Hamilton wasn’t anywhere near the fight for pole position at Monza and had to settle for eighth on the grid, behind George Russell who did well to claim fourth.

Concerningly, Hamilton also qualified behind rookie Oscar Piastri and Williams’ Alex Albon, who was once again one of the stars of qualifying.

Given Williams’ impressive straight-line speed, progressing towards the front looks set to be very challenging for the seven-time World Champion, who insisted that he was “struggling with the car”.

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Hamilton explained how the W14 is “very hard to optimise”, making it a huge task to get it into the right operating window.

“I lost it all in I think the second or last sector, I was up in the first, a bit of the second, but I was just struggling with the car,” Hamilton said.

“Our car just in general is very hard to optimise, there’s nothing easy about this one.”

Whilst some eyes will be on whether Hamilton can fight through the field from eighth, most eyes will be on whether Sainz can claim Ferrari’s first win of the season.

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A win on Sunday would be huge for Sainz’s confidence and for Ferrari’s, given that 2023 has been a disappointing season on the whole.

Even if Sainz doesn’t win, Charles Leclerc also has a chance at winning a second Italian GP, as he qualified directly behind his team-mate in P3.

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The Ferrari duo sandwiched Max Verstappen in qualifying and will be trying to deny the reigning World Champion a record-breaking 10th consecutive victory.

Ferrari have looked very good at their home race and have been particularly strong in a straight-line, something Hamilton puts down to their two drivers having new engines.

“This is their home race, they have new engines and suddenly they are the fastest car on the grid, that’s what it is, but hey, I like to see them up there,” Hamilton told DAZN F1.