Lewis Hamilton expects to see only himself and Nico Rosberg disputing pole position for the Italian Grand Prix following a strong performance out of the box at Monza.
A circuit Mercedes has largely dominated at for the last two season – with Hamilton winning in both 2014 and 2015 -, both the defending champion and his team-mate were similarly quick in FP1 and FP2 to end the day almost half a second clear of Ferrari.
ITALIAN GRAND PRIX - Free practice results (2)
Indeed, though a formidable start to a race weekend is nothing new for Mercedes, Hamilton admits things are looking even better than usual for the 'Silver Arrows' this weekend.
“I found a good balance in the end, particularly going into my second stint. So I'm really happy with it and we got through our run plan and we are looking very strong this weekend. It's strange how one weekend you are stronger than another as a team, but the car feels good this weekend.
“I've not looked at the others, but yeah as I said the gap is looking bigger this weekend. Ferrari were closer on pace in FP2, but in terms of pure pace it is looking like it should be a good battle between me and Nico, but I'm not sure how close it will be.”
ITALIAN GP: Monza agrees new F1 deal until 2019
Hamilton's positive outlook comes despite a day that saw him off-track on more than one occasion as he struggled to find the braking point. However, he insists that is normal for him at the start of a weekend.
“It's very hard to find braking points. Also you are trying to look after your tyres so you have to find a balance with how far forward you put your brake balance. If you put it further rear your tyres don't last so long because you under-rotate your rears, so you are right on the edge of the grip level of the front tyres throughout the whole braking, making sure you get it right.”
ITALIAN GP: 6 Things to WATCH out for in Monza
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst