Difficult weekend for Lewis Hamilton at Monza

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After failing to qualify in the top ten for the first time in over three years yesterday, Lewis Hamilton has endured another difficult day during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza as the Mercedes driver could only come home in ninth position.

Starting P12, Hamilton made a good start but he soon ran into trouble with his tires, slipping behind Jenson Button early on. Eventually, Mercedes found that he was suffering from a slow puncture and called for him to pit, only to find that the Briton’s radio had broken. After missing the call twice, Hamilton finally pitted for fresh tires, forcing him onto a two-stop strategy. The 2008 world champion rallied in the final stages of the race, pulling off some fine overtakes to finish ninth, but he is disappointed with the result.

“I gave it my all out there today; the pace of the car was great but unfortunately we paid the price for not qualifying far enough up the field,” Hamilton explained after the race. “My radio failed right at the start of the race and it’s really tough when that happens as you rely on the advice and information from the team to manage your race. I didn’t even know about the slow puncture until after the race so now it makes more sense why we had to make the extra stop.”

However, he admitted that his final stint on the soft tire was good fun, allowing him to push and overtake Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez in the dying moments of the race.

“I did have some fun this afternoon, particularly fighting with Kimi. It’s just tough fighting so far down the field when our car was clearly really quick.”

Mercedes are expected to return to form at the Singapore Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, and the German team will be keen on recovering second place in the constructors’ championship having lost out to Ferrari this weekend.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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