Lewis Hamilton’s reflection of the opening day at the Italian Grand Prix was similar to what he’s said after the first day at most events this season, with the Mercedes driver being left baffled by the W14’s performance in Free Practice 2.
Hamilton entered the opening day at Monza having signed a new two-year contract with the Silver Arrows, keeping him on the grid until at least the end of 2025.
His new deal is worth a reported £50 million per season, meaning he’ll bag a mouth-watering £100 over the two seasons, according to The Telegraph.
Despite having signed the new deal, it was business as usual on Friday for the 38-year-old, who was pleased with how the day started in Free Practice 1.
Hamilton ended the opening session at the ‘Temple of Speed’ in eighth, but “genuinely quite happy” with the performance of the car.
He was just over six-tenths of a second behind Max Verstappen’s pace setting time in the first practice session, before tumbling down the order in FP2.
The seven-time World Champion was a concerning P17 in FP2 and 1.4 seconds off the leading pace, leaving him perplexed once again as to how the car performs so differently across the two practice sessions.
Hamilton’s big issue was the balance of his car in the afternoon session, something which saw him opt against running a Soft tyre in FP2.
As a result, he does have two new sets of Soft tyres remaining, whereas most of the drivers on the grid just have the one.
This could work in Hamilton’s favour, although he still “can’t figure out why” the performance suddenly drops off so much.
“Pretty similar Friday to most Fridays,” Hamilton said.
“It started off really well in FP1, was genuinely quite happy with the car and then they made changes.
“And usually when you got into FP2, can’t figure out why, but the car seems to be more of a challenge in FP2. I’m sure it’s something we can rectify overnight.
“We’ve got 1000 things we can change. So it’s just knowing which ones those are and what the actual real issues are, whether it’s mechanical, whether it’s tyre temps, aero balance, we’re going to figure that out tonight.
“I didn’t run my soft tyre just because the balance wasn’t so good. So I just thought I would save it for tomorrow.
“So I have two new softs tomorrow, so others will have one new and used, and the focus will be to see what we can get out of the tyre, whether we prepare the tyre properly and if we can extract the full performance from it, and just try dialling in the balance.”