Sebastian Vettel expects the field to be much closer on Saturday for qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix than the times from Free Practice Two suggest.
Vettel dominated the afternoon session at Monza, topping the timesheets with a laptime of 1:24.453, the quickest time of the weekend so far and some 6 tenths faster than his team-mate Mark Webber and his nearest rivals, the Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
However, the German ace played down his apparent performance advantage, explaining that his RB9 was far from perfect and that he is anticipating a much closer battle for pole position on Saturday.
“It will be very tight this weekend, as we saw in the first practice”, said the 26-year-old. “It will be close tomorrow in qualifying with quite a few cars separated by only a few hundredths of a second.
“There are a few things we still need to do to optimise the car, as there are two or three corners where we are sliding more than we would like. It’s positive today, but it’s only a Friday.”
Mark Webber shared the same sentiments as his team-mate, contrasting his Red Bull team’s apparent advantage at Monza to that seen at Spa, where despite dominating on Friday afternoon, come qualifying on Saturday it was Mercedes that took pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix.
“We seem okay here, although it’s only Friday”, said the Australian. “We seemed good on Friday in Spa and then everyone was with us in P3. But, that said, the car feels good although we have some work to do to prepare for the race, so let’s see tomorrow.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic