T he two training sessions for the Italian GP went to Ferrari and Charles Leclerc. That was what was expected. But it wasn't a clear victory. Lewis Hamilton blew up the Ferrari duo and was just 0.068 seconds over the fastest time. In the long runs, after taking all factors into account, Mercedes and Red Bull dominated. Mercedes gave one try each. The second endurance runs were timed so badly that they fell into a rainy phase.
GPS measurements showed that Ferrari was not yet unpacking its full performance. The first day with the new Spec-3 engine was about collecting data and experience. Apparently, from the Ferrari drivers' point of view, it felt pretty slow. Leclerc asked his engineer on the radio: “Is everything okay on the straights?” Short answer: “Everything is fine.”
For Max Verstappen, Friday wasn't about getting quick single laps out of the car. The Dutchman starts from behind because of an engine change. Racing simulations were the order of the day. Verstappen put the fastest endurance run on the track on the medium tires. However, he only made half as many laps as Hamilton in the Mercedes. And the world championship leader was not even a tenth slower on average.
In midfield it seems to be a duel between the Renault teams. The works team was better on one lap, but Lando Norris in particular cut a good figure in the long runs. Like Verstappen, the Englishman only concentrated on endurance runs, as he too starts his race from the back row. An oil leak at the beginning of the second training session made matters worse. Norris only started training 17 minutes before the end.
On the first day of training, all five Pirelli compounds were used. In the rain in the morning, first extreme weather tires and intermediates, followed by slicks in the final minutes. The afternoon training was driven exclusively on slicks. Three drivers even tried the hard mix. Charles Leclerc, Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Räikkönen didn't want to experience a nasty surprise on Sunday.
It has already happened this season that the unloved hard tire on Sunday was better than expected. Tire boss Mario Isola is expecting a one-stop race. “It also makes no sense for the top teams to start with medium tires. The wear is extremely low on both types of tires, almost a bit greater on the medium than on theSoft, because the harder tires slip more. ”
Six things to watch out for the training Friday in Monza:
How meaningful are the long runs?
Half and half. According to the latest weather report, the race remains dry, but it is 7 degrees warmer. In the second training session, the mercury column only climbed to 19 degrees. The asphalt stayed relatively cool at 25 degrees. Ferrari apparently had problems getting the tires up to temperature. A clear indication that you want to spare them on Sunday. With rising temperatures, the warm-up problem should be solved.
The second training session was repeatedly disturbed by small rain showers, which only fell on parts of the route. Charles Leclerc said on the radio that it was too slippery to risk everything. Mercedes lost the second long runs due to unfortunate timing. “We went out a little too late. The rain got in the way, ”admitted an engineer.
Nevertheless, Mercedes has all the data you need. In the first part of the training, Lewis Hamilton was sent out with medium tires and Valtteri Bottas with soft rubbers. At that time, of course, there was a lot of petrol on board the Silver Arrows. That has to be included in the comparison with the teams that only tried the corresponding tires over the distance in the second stint.
Who can beat Ferrari?
If Friday is Saturday or the Had it been Sunday, Ferrari would have had to fear Mercedes and Red Bull. Especially in the long runs. According to the Mercedes engineers, you shouldn't be fooled by Charles Leclerc's best time on soft tires. On paper, the Ferrari driver was one-tenth faster over nine laps than Valtteri Bottas over 16 laps, but including all factors, Bottas would have driven the Ferrari three-tenths per lap.
On medium soles Sebastian Vettel even ended up only in midfield. But Ferrari has not yet let the cat out of the bag. The new Spec 3 engine ran with racing power and the setup was trimmed so that the tires would not degrade. That was the big problem in Spa andthe great fear of the race in Monza.
In terms of tire wear, the target was achieved, but at the cost of losing lap time. Mercedes' strength should come as no surprise. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas also had a red front row in front of them last year. In the end, it was Hamilton who won. Because the tires broke in at Ferrari. This time the five-time Monza winner even sees a chance for qualification: “We were one lap closer to Ferrari than at Spa. So we can offer them a fight on Saturday. ”
Where can Verstappen land when starting from the last row?
Team boss Christian Horner is certain: “Max finishes in 5th place. For more, we need a safety car at the right time. Our long runs are faster than Ferrari's and as good as Mercedes's. But by the time Max has passed everyone, the train will have already left the front. '
Verstappen stated with satisfaction:' You can feel that the new Honda engine has more power. 'Sports director Helmut Marko praised:' The engine does what it should. ”Alexander Albon is expecting a big task on Sunday. If he makes it onto the third row of the grid, he'll have to maintain the speed of the Mercedes and Ferrari for the first time.
On the medium tires, it worked quite well on Friday. On the other hand, there is still a little time missing with the soft rubbers. That was already the case in Spa. The medium tire from Monza is the soft compound from Spa. And on that, the Thai driver drove a terrific second stint in Belgium. Albon admitted that he is still in a learning process after moving to Red Bull: 'I have to get used to braking with so little downforce.'
Who rules in midfield?
McLaren boss Andreas Seidl is convinced: “We are ahead in our separate championship. The aero package for low downforce works much better than in Spa. ”In principle, these are the same wings with less pitch. Still so much, however, that McLaren had the slowest cars on the straights on Friday. Carlos Sainz was at least about 328.9 km /h6.5 km /h behind Daniel Ricciardo's Renault and 11.3 km /h behind Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso. But the McLaren were all the faster in the corners.
According to the findings on Friday, Renault will be McLaren's main opponent. Daniel Ricciardo completed the longest long run of the day with 20 laps on the soft tires together with Kevin Magnussen. The Australian lost four tenths per lap on Lando Norris, but also covered six more laps. Team mate Nico Hülkenberg was also satisfied with the first day of training. This time, the Renault engineers once again set the vehicle up right from the start.
At Toro Rosso, Pierre Gasly's racing simulation made the medium tires sit up and take notice. The Frenchman managed the second fastest endurance run on this type of tire, and that over 15 laps. However, Gasly only reeled off the long run at the end of training, whereas Lewis Hamilton did so at the beginning. There was a lot more fuel in the Mercedes tank.
Gasly was happy about a well-lying Toro Rosso, but also knows that he can't buy a lot for it. “I have to serve an engine penalty here, so I will start from far behind.” Haas was satisfied with the first day of training. “We bring the tires into the window and can hold them there,” said team boss Guenther Steiner. Alfa Romeo, on the other hand, has to retire again. Things did not go well with the Confederates. Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi landed on one lap and in the long run in the back field. Giovinazzi admitted: 'We still have to work on the setup.'
Who has that highest top speed?
The top speed table is not headed by Ferrari. The Ferrari drivers kept their hands off the power button on the first day with the new Spec 3 engine. Thus, the highest top speed belongs to Valtteri Bottas. The Mercedes driver was stopped at the end of the home straight at 343.0 km /h, followed by Pierre Gasly at 340.2 km /h, Lance Stroll at 339.7 km /h and Robert Kubica at 339.4 km /h. Yes, a Williams in the top 4 on the straight, although the car has the highest aerodynamic drag. So it is clear that slipstream was involved.
The speed kings of Ferrari landed with 339.1 km /h (Vettel) and 336.5 km /h (Leclerc) in 6th and 10th place. Alexander Albon demonstrated with 336.8 km /h that the Honda -Motor has unlocked. Sebastian Vettel won the speed sector 1 with 27.046 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc (27.139 s) and Max Verstappen (227.270 s).
Sector 2 consists of the Roggia chicane and the two Lesmo corners. Charles Leclerc was ahead of Lewis Hamilton (26.998 s) and Sebastian Vettel (27.078 s) with 26.936 seconds. In the section from the Ascari curves to the back straight and the Parabolica to the finish line, Mercedes dominated. Lewis Hamilton was the fastest with 26.755 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas (26.808 s) and Charles Leclerc (26.903 s).
Who looks strongest in the rain?
As expected Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas was the fastest man on intermediates with 1.30.596 minutes. Teammate Lewis Hamilton followed on foot with 1.30.749 minutes. Then there was already a gap of half a second to Alexander Albon, who chased the Red Bull over the wet Monza track in 1:31,250 minutes. Charles Leclerc was slightly slower with 1.31.290 minutes. Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, lost a lot of time. His rainy season of 1.33.142 minutes indicated that he did not feel comfortable with his Ferrari in the first practice session.