‘The new generation get away with a lot more’ says Hamilton after tense Leclerc battle
Italian GP winner Charles Leclerc’s robust defence was not penalised during his intense fight for victory with Lewis Hamilton at Monza, leaving his five-time world champion rival to suggest the younger generation of drivers “get away with a lot more” in wheel-to-wheel battles…
Hamilton looked like the faster of the two drivers for much of the race as he harried the Ferrari and threw everything at trying to make a pass stick. There were some close encounters, one of which forced Hamilton to take to the run-off, while another saw Leclerc – in his second season in F1 – cut the first chicane after a lock-up but still retain the lead.
“It doesn’t really matter what I think,” said Hamilton. “I don’t really have anything to say about it. We’ve gone over and over it multiple times, it’s pointless me bringing it up. I avoided the collision, and just kept focusing on trying to get close again.
“It seems like the new generation get away with a lot more in that space, of how they manoeuvre their car compared to I’d say the more experienced drivers. But it’s good knowledge, now I know, and I look forward to the next one.”
At one stage, Leclerc was shown the black and white flag, the equivalent of football’s yellow card. When asked for his view on its use at Monza, Hamilton said: “We’ve just constantly asked for consistency. There was a rule put in place, and then it wasn’t abided by today.
“They used different consequences for the rule today. I don’t know why that was the case. I guess the stewards woke up on a different side of the bed this morning, I don’t know.”
Hamilton ultimately finished the race third, collecting a bonus point for fastest lap, while Leclerc took his second successive victory by holding off Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes on older tyres.
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It was clear that Hamilton was keen not to get into a slanging match with Leclerc over the battle, instead suggesting it would be better for the two to discuss the matter behind closed doors.
“I’m not unhappy,” he said. “Of course I don’t like to go backwards, but he did a fantastic job today. I put on as much pressure as I could. We had a couple of close moments, I think we can probably talk about it in private together, but there’s nothing major, and we continue to race. I’m looking forward to more races together.”