A lap of Monza with Ryan Briscoe 10 Sep 2004
Toyotas third driver, Australian Ryan Briscoe, guides you on a flying lap of Monza, the home of the Italian Grand Prix.
For a map of the circuit layout, please click here.
Heading down the start-finish straight, you reach one of the highest speeds on the F1 calendar - in the race the cars are travelling at over 223 mph/360 kph. But the first chicane is first gear and very slow, so the braking is very heavy. The braking point is important and you've really got to concentrate hard to hit it perfectly. When you're arriving at such high speed it's easy to brake either slightly too late or slightly too early. That makes for good racing, and in the race it's a very good place for passing.
The chicane is very tight but the kerbs are quite flat and you can ride both of them. You exit the corner in first gear and you need good traction because you accelerate up to seventh round the Curva Biassono, taken flat, into the second chicane, the Variante della Roggia. It's quite a bit faster than the first chicane and taken in second gear. The kerbs are much higher and you bounce off them a lot more, so a lot more car control is needed through there. I've seen lots of passing there as well, so it's another possible overtaking spot even if it's a bit more difficult than the first chicane.
From there we reach fourth gear on the way up to the first of the two Lesmo corners. It's taken in third gear at over 112 mph/180 kph. It's quite a long corner, and you need to keep up your speed all the way through. On the exit you need to get on the power early, and you make it up to fourth again before dropping back to third for the second Lesmo. That is taken at similar speed but it's tighter, almost right-angled. It has a short apex and you just clip the apex and let it drift.
After that you head down the back straight, all the way back up to seventh gear. You go round a left hand kink then down the hill under the old oval circuit before coming up again into braking for the Ascari chicane. Ascari is a great corner - it's fast, taken in third gear and one of my favourite parts of the circuit. You use a bit of the inside kerb on the entry, then you're on full throttle through the right-hand kink and then the left back onto the back straight.
We make it into seventh gear again for quite some time on the run-up to the last corner, Parabolica. It's not as long as the start-finish straight but depending on the wind, we get up to the same kind of speed as the first chicane. We generally run quite low downforce at Monza, so the main difficulty is that the car's grip is lower and under braking you get a bit more movement than at other circuits.
Parabolica itself is very fast with a very long exit. So you brake but you keep the speed coming into the corner - which can be taken in third or fourth depending on the gear ratios. You don't drop much below 124 mph/200 kph all the way around and it's hard on the neck because of the lateral G-Force. On exit you get early on the power and you let the car drift as much as possible, coming out of the corner on the very outside as you prepare to start another lap."