6 September 2011
Hamilton: Monza qualifying will be intense affair
Lewis Hamilton has predicted that qualifying with KERS and DRS at Monza will be an intense affair.
Lewis Hamilton may have given up on his chances of landing a second world title this season, but remains determined to go in search of victories to delay Sebastian Vettel's impending coronation.
The Briton endured another controversial weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, clashing with Pastor Maldonado in qualifying and then crashing out of the race following contact with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, and is looking forward to putting that behind him as the McLaren team heads to the final European grand prix of the season.
Monza has never been the luckiest of circuits for Hamilton, who went out on the opening lap a year ago following a brush with Felipe Massa's Ferrari, but the Briton has happy memories of Italy as a whole, and is hoping that he can end his run of frustration on a circuit tipped to suit the MP4-26.
“Last year, I won at Spa and failed to finish at Monza so, for this year, I guess I'm looking to reverse that sequence!" he smiled, "I've already moved on from my non-finish in Belgium and I'm really looking forward to returning to Italy. It's a place where I spent a lot of time racing karts, so it's a country I really love. I think we go into the weekend feeling pretty optimistic. I've never won at Monza and I'd love to get a good result this year."
After narrowly missing out on top spot in qualifying in Belgium, Hamilton is keen to go one better and finally break Red Bull's pole-winning streak, which has seen the Milton Keynes team scoop all twelve fastest times this season. With this year's technical additions both suiting the quick Monza layout, however, Hamilton reckons that it could be a real shoot-out for top spot.
"I'm particularly looking forward to qualifying, because I think DRS will make a huge difference to our lap times," he noted, “With unlimited use in quali, and those four long straights, I think qualifying's going to be pretty intense. We'll be 20km/h faster at four key points of the circuit, so our quali times are going to be much faster than in the race. That should be pretty exciting.
"I really want to get the maximum out of the car in quali, but then look forward to a strong race, of course. You'll need the downforce then, though, because you'll want to be quick enough out of the second Lesmo and Parabolica to be in with a chance of challenging for position down the following straight. I think things are set for another very closely matched race – I'm really looking forward to it.”
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