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Hamilton's "hero or zero" start "bit us hard" - Wolff

Hamilton's "hero or zero" start "bit us hard" - Wolff

F1 News

Hamilton's "hero or zero" start "bit us hard" - Wolff

Hamilton's "hero or zero" start "bit us hard" - Wolff
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Toto Wolff conceded Lewis Hamilton's slow start at the Italian Grand Prix sprint "bit us hard".

Mercedes entered the Monza weekend favourites due to the power-sensitive nature of the 'Temple of Speed' and locked out the front row for the 18- lap sprint spearheaded by Valtteri Bottas.

With the Finn consigned to starting from the back of the grid after a complete power unit change, the weekend further unravelled for Mercedes as Hamilton crawled off the line, losing places to title rival Max Verstappen, McLaren duo Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.

Verstappen's second place behind Bottas ensured pole position for the Dutchman, with Hamilton failing to make an impression on the McLarens after Gasly crashed out on the first lap at Curva Grande.

"First of all, the starts can happen," said Wolff.

"Between hero and zero on a start is such a fine margin. Having too much wheelspin happens to be honest and that bit us hard today but we still have everything to play for tomorrow."

Wolff hails Bottas "masterclass"

In the week his expected departure from Mercedes was announced, Bottas followed up his fastest qualifying time with a nigh-on perfect performance in the sprint.

An early safety car diminished his initial launch but the Finn executed a flawless restart and kept Verstappen at arm's length for the full 18 laps.

"Valtteri just had an unbelievable getaway and drove away into the sunset," added Wolff.

"One of the most dominant ways of winning a race, irrespective of if it was a sprint race or not. A real masterclass from Valtteri."

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