World Champion Lewis Hamilton says he “dissected every single corner” of the Mugello circuit after his Friday woes prior to claiming pole position on Saturday.
Hamilton trailed Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas through the two 90-minute practice sessions upon the championship’s first visit to the Tuscan venue.
Hamilton closed the gap in final practice and inched ahead in Q2, prior to setting provisional pole at the start of Q3, 0.059s in front of Bottas.
That lap time ultimately remained unbeaten as Bottas had to abandon his second push lap in the session when Renault’s Esteban Ocon went off.
“Normally I tend to think in my past I always felt one of my strength is learning a circuit quite quickly,” he said.
“For this one we went on the simulator, which I never do, and don’t feel like I benefited particularly, but getting here there was a lot of work.
“The pressure was incredibly high, as I said, going out there doing laps I was struggling to get to the limit, find the limit in certain sectors.
“Valtteri was miles ahead really in some of those areas, of course pressure was higher than ever because if I hadn’t done the work I wouldn’t have got the result we got at the end.
“There was an incredible amount of detail you have to go into, last night basically dissecting every single corner basically, and sector, and fine tune the set-up.”
In explaining his relative lack of pace Hamilton said: “I was struggling with the balance of the car, at the end of the day it’s confidence here, you have to really carry a lot of speed in the corners.
“It’s a high-speed circuit, not wanting to put a foot wrong and if you’re uncomfortable with the balance at the rear of the car then you just pull back, and you’re too slow.
“I did a lot of work with the engineers to get the set-up where we wanted, and going into qualifying made a relatively big change, and it worked out really well. That’s one of the strengths, the work that we do behind the scenes.”