Mugello (dpa) – The Mercedes drivers feel at home in the house of Ferrari: “This route is really intense, fast and demanding. A really fantastic experience. I love it”, Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton said after the contest. first practice in Mugello, Italy.
Silver Arrow teammate Valtteri Bottas added no less euphorically: “That was a lot of fun today and I loved every lap.” While fastest in practice, Bottas, and runner-up Hamilton, enter qualifying for the Tuscan Grand Prix a day later as big favorites on Saturday (3pm / RTL and Sky), Ferrari is struggling again. The car manufacturer owns the route north of Florence, but the Scuderia has no advantage whatsoever. The current car is too weak – so Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel are left alone in midfield.
It should be an exuberant party. The 1000th Formula 1 Grand Prix for Ferrari is every reason to celebrate. The cars were given a retro paint job and the Vettel and Leclerc suits were redesigned, there is an evening event in Florence in the evening. Some of the fans in the stands are back too. But no one on the traditional team really wants to celebrate at this point. And Vettel’s engine also caused problems during training.
The Dutchman Max Verstappen is therefore again the first Mercedes pursuer. In training he came very close to Hamilton. “I’m close to the top, which is great,” said the Red Bull driver. The first impressions are “extremely gratifying”.
However, on the high-speed track, the drivers expect enormous efforts in the race. “The track is definitely one of the most physically demanding,” said Vice World Champion Bottas, expecting “a tough Sunday for everyone,” adding: “The track is not very forgiving and there is little room for error – it would be. must be.”