Fri: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull

Date published: September 2 2016

Lewis Hamilton managed to beat out his teammate Nico Rosberg for top in the second session of free practice ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Mercedes:
Lewis Hamilton:
“It’s been a really good day. Monza is always an amazing track to drive and the fans always come out to show their support. We made good progress through our programme across the two sessions and our long run pace felt good. We split the tyre compounds between Nico and myself so we could learn as much as possible going into qualifying and the race and we’re looking quite strong. We’ve still got some work to do this evening to analyse all the data and prepare the car but I’m confident we can take the fight to the rest of the grid.”

Nico Rosberg: “The car felt pretty good during P1 but we need to work on the balance of the car overnight as the one lap pace didn’t feel 100 percent during P2. We also need to analyse the data from running all three tyres across the two sessions. Still, it’s great to be back here at Monza, the tifosi always come out in force to show their support and it’s great news that we’ll be coming back here for at least the next three years.”

Ferrari:
Sebastian Vettel:
“It’s Friday after all, which means it’s not the most important part of the weekend, even if it’s important that we ran and that we had a decent speed. In general the car feels good, but we still need to improve from where we are, we need to make it feel good in every corner and bring it together; but other than that, the first impression is positive. We have a new engine, so I think it’s doing what it is supposed to do. Obviously on Friday you try a lot of different things, so we need to wait until tomorrow and Sunday to see where we are. Now we need to improve the car, focusing on ourselves. It’s really good news that Monza will stay for another three years. We need this track in the calendar, it’s fantastic. Monza means history, tradition, racing…”

Kimi Raikkonen: “The morning ran smoothly and the first practice session was pretty good. The second one was a bit messy with the new tires and the yellow flags, but overall it was not too bad and the car was feeling ok. Obviously there are things to improve, but we started the weekend pretty ok. The new engine is a small step, it’s part of the normal progress, we would not put in the car anything that wouldn’t improve our performance. We try to improve in all areas and I think we are going in the right direction. The atmosphere here in Monza is always very nice, there are a lot of fans and the feeling is good, then we have to do well on the circuit.”

Red Bull:
Max Verstappen:
“It was a good day on track. We knew that it would be a more difficult weekend for the team as this is definitely the most challenging track for us on the calendar, but I think it wasn’t too bad today and we can definitely improve for tomorrow. We found a good balance in between the sectors so it’s now up to us and the car. For the moment we are a little bit too far behind Mercedes, but if we get everything sorted for tomorrow, we can get closer. They definitely look very strong. Difficult to say what tomorrow brings, it will for sure be tougher than Spa and I think you can clearly see that, but we’ll do our best.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “After today’s action I think we are more or less where we expected to be. I would like to be closer to Ferrari but we didn’t really find the times on the supersofts, though the softs felt competitive. I think tomorrow it will tighten up at the top even more. I expect Mercedes to lock out the front row and Ferrari look like the next best. Fifth and sixth for now is not too bad and gives us plenty to work on for tomorrow. Monza is a very high speed circuit so if you have the right race car you have the opportunity to overtake. Even if you’re a little bit down on top speed you can get a good slipstream and use DRS to make a pass. Looking at strategy here in the past it has typically been a one stop race so that limits the options and even in today’s heat the tyres lasted well so I can’t see that changing for now. Max did a fairly long stint on the supersofts and the result looked good.”