With Monza proving to be Red Bull’s most difficult circuit throughout the hybrid era, Max Verstappen could find himself in a massive fight with the likes of McLaren, Renault and AlphaTauri this weekend. A nice tow and a great lap in qualifying will be absolutely vital in such a tight tussle.
Lando Norris was best of the rest behind the dominant Mercedes’ in the second practice session today. However, an unspecified problem meant he spent most of it in the garage and couldn’t do any long runs. A late lap vaulted him up into P3 to beat Gasly and Verstappen.
He’ll be hoping to do some high-fuel running in FP3 as he looks to catch up with the rest of the pack.
Lando Norris – P3: “Not the best Friday just because of the lack of running. We didn’t really get the chance to do any high-fuel runs, so we’re not in the best position. We’re in good shape for tomorrow, but we’re still a bit behind in our prep for Sunday. So, we might have to compromise FP3 tomorrow to try to fit in some more high-fuel runs and catch up.
“I have a decent feeling for the car, but this is the track where you want good confidence throughout the lap – you want confidence under braking and in the high-speed corners, and I’m not quite as confident as I could be today due to the lack of laps. We’ll try to make up for it tomorrow.”
A brilliant performance by Pierre Gasly at Spa last weekend saw him score good points – and he’s on course to do something similar on the evidence of FP2.
He was delighted with the speed in his car today as he finished in the top 6 in both sessions and ahead of former teammate Verstappen in the afternoon by 0.107s.
Pierre Gasly – P4: “Today was by far the best Friday since the start of the season. We were sixth this morning and fourth in the afternoon, and I must say the feeling in the car was really good! I could push and managed to put in some good laps.
‘’Unfortunately, we had a small issue with a damper at the end of the session while doing the long run, so we had to stop a bit earlier than the others, but generally speaking, we are pretty happy.
‘’The low downforce set-up that we have here in Monza works quite well, but I feel like we can still improve a bit for tomorrow. I think there will be a few surprises with the new engine mode rules, so we’ll see. It’s very tight and, especially here with the tows in qualifying, it will be important to get it right.”
If you just looked at the timesheet, it does not look great for Daniel Ricciardo. The reality is he would have been 3rd if his fastest lap didn’t get cancelled for exceeding track limits, though. Just like at Spa, he has the potential to be a thorn in the side for his former team.
Daniel Ricciardo – P15: “It was a good day and I’m very happy with our work. I was already feeling comfortable in FP1, finishing ninth, but I knew there was a good bit more in it. We showed the pace in FP2, however, our lap time was removed for track limits. I’m not concerned about that as it’s a small thing and today is about finding the limits. We know if we keep it on track tomorrow, we’re holding onto that lap time, which should put us up the leaderboard. Our long runs were good as well and that was nice. We’ll concentrate on tomorrow and look to make it count.”