Hamilton bracing for ‘nightmare’ traffic in qualifying

Lewis Hamilton is expecting ‘nightmare’ congestion in qualifying at Monza as drivers play the usual game of cat and mouse to catch a tow in the Q3 shootout.

The Mercedes driver set the pace on Friday, a performance that augurs well for Saturday’s running. But Hamilton fears in qualifying a repeat of last year’s antics in Q3 at Monza when drivers neutralized each other as each one sought to gain a tow while preventing a rival from doing the same.

FIA race director Michael Masi issued a staunch warning to the field on Friday, insisting that a minimum lap time rule is set to be introduced for FP3 and qualifying.

“It was difficult in the past, and obviously we didn’t even get to do the last lap last year,” said Hamilton.

“It’s going to be interesting – I heard they might put in a minimum time that we have to do on an out lap, maybe that will help.

“But I think it’s going to be a nightmare on the last corner still, with everyone trying to get a gap. It’s definitely going to be hard work.”

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While Hamilton set the pace in FP2, the Mercedes driver wasn’t yet satisfied with the handling of his W11 Black Arrow around the Temple of Speed.

“We have a few more steps to make overnight and then I think it’ll be where it needs to,” he said.

“It’s quite a bumpy track here and with the low downforce, there’s a lot of sliding. You need to find the right balance with the bumps and between the low and high-speed turns.

“The field is typically a lot closer here, compared to Spa, as it’s such a fast lap and there aren’t many corners.

“Valtteri’s quick here, too, so it’s going to be a fun battle.”

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