On a weekend where Mercedes actually have the dominant car, the sprint race results in a victory for Hamilton or Bottas not being at all certain anymore. This is, of course, partly due to the Briton’s poor start, but also due to competition from unexpected quarters.
It was the McLaren of Lando Norris that Hamilton couldn’t get past during the 18 lap sprint race. Both Ricciardo and Norris don’t have the speed of Mercedes or Red Bull Racing at Monza, but with the Mercedes engine they were fast enough to make overtaking impossible for Hamilton.
Mercedes considering plan B
“We will look at the strategic options for Lewis tomorrow, but the reality is that if we struggled to overtake the McLarens today, we will face the same situation tomorrow and that will give Max an easy win,” said a realistic Andrew Shovlin in Mercedes’ press release.
So Hamilton will prefer to overtake both McLarens right at the start. From the dirty side that is not obvious. If that doesn’t work Shovlin says he will have to change his strategy. By driving a long time on the medium tyre he might get enough laps in the open air to stay ahead of the McLaren after his pitstop.