Lewis Hamilton has admitted he must up his game if he is to finish in front of his team-mate Jenson Button on points by the end of the season. Before the Italian Grand Prix he is fifth in the championship, three points behind Button, but he starts ahead of him on the front row alongside Sebastian Vettel with Button in third place on the grid.
“I have always said that if a team-mate does a better job then I need to do an even better job,” observed Hamilton. “Jenson has done a better job for a period of time but he is fantastic driver so it is to be expected. He’s in a very, very good place, he is driving well, getting results, is consistent. I can do it, I just need to start doing it again.”
Hamilton’s season has been peppered with incidents that have cost him dearly, a fact he acknowledges: “It’s not what I want but I have had quite a few more incidents than him this season, a few more DNFs and bad races. Overall so far he has done a better job, fair and square,” he said.
Nonetheless he was also keen to stress that Button, whom McLaren have just confirmed will be driving for the team next year, was proving a strong partner for him as well: “I always knew he was a very good driver, very consistent. He says I keep him on his toes, and he is able to keep me on my toes, so that is good.”
The British driver, who has yet to win here in Monza, also admitted he was a fan of the very specific challenges offered by the season’s fastest circuit. “I like that it is unique, that there is only one like this,” he said. “This is one of the very historic circuits and they are on my list to tick off and this is one as I have not won here. It is about mastering a historic circuit that the greats won on.”
However, one factor that the greats did not have to deal with are the two separate Drag Reduction System (DRS) zones – where closely pursuing cars have the opportunity to open an adjustable flap on their rear wing to make overtaking easier – that will come into play.
Already used to great effect this season, here at Monza, appropriately, they’re offering another unique challenge, Hamilton believes. “I think it will be very competitive, this race, because of the positions of the DRS zones,” he said. “It’s going to be good for the race, its going to be good for the fans and I think there’s potential for it to be even better than it’s shown in the past – but strategy will come into it.”