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Friday analysis - Red Bull not so bullish 07 Sep 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2012

The times were pretty tight at Monza on Friday, but while it was clear McLaren and Ferrari are unlikely to be short of pace this weekend, championship leaders Red Bull could have their work cut out if they are to challenge for victory come Sunday. We take a team-by-team look at day one in Italy…

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 25.944s, P6/1m 25.290s, P1
Jenson Button, 1m 25.723s, P2/1m 25.328s, P2

Both drivers set their best times on the medium tyres in the afternoon, and both drivers thus far seem happy with their set-ups, though Hamilton stressed that fine-tuning for things such as Monza’s notorious bumps will continue through FP3. They look in good shape, though.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 25.800s, P4/1m 25.348s, P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 25.861s, P5/1m 25.430s, P4

Alonso lost an engine in FP1, then had brake and gearbox issues in FP2. But he set his best lap in the latter on the hard tyre so there is reason for optimism here as the team prepare to give the tifosi their best performance. Massa was right with his team leader all day, amid renewed speculation that he could, after all, be replaced for 2013.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 25.762s, P3/1m25.446s, P5
Michael Schumacher, 1m 25.422s, P1/1m 26.094s, P10

Mercedes had great straight-line speed, but Schumacher had some gearbox woes in the morning and then had DRS problems in the afternoon. Rosberg said he was quite happy with how his day went, however.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 26.046s, P7/1m 25.504s, P6
Jerome D’Ambrosio, 1m 27.180s, P15/1m 26.157s, P12

Raikkonen said that he was happy with his car and its long-run pace, though he couldn’t quite run with the top dogs. Standing in for Grosjean was always going to be tough for D’Ambrosio, but he put in the sort of confident performance we remember from his Virgin days and was only six-tenths off his team mate.

Force India
Paul di Resta (pm only), 1m 25.546s, P7
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 26.518s, P12/1m 25.547s, P8
Jules Bianchi (am only), 1m 27.192, P16

Force India once again looked strong, especially in FP2, when a thousandth of a second separated Di Resta and Hulkenberg. So far, they look good here.

Sauber
Sergio Perez 1m 26.323s, P8/1m 26.068s, P9
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 26.746s, P14/1m 26.730s, P16

Sauber had a mixed day. Perez looked quick but Kobayashi was clearly struggling. The Mexican was called in towards the end for examination of a fault that showed up on the telemetry, while damping problems with the Japanese driver’s car almost caused him to spin on the straight. The team have a lot of work to do tonight to solve their undisclosed handling problems.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 26.390s, P9/1m 26.104s, P11
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 26.508s, P11/1m 26.394s, P13

The simple truth is that Red Bull weren’t fast enough over a single lap today, though their longer run pace wasn’t so bad. There’s lot of work to do tonight in this camp too.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 26.504s, P10/1m 26.404s, P14
Bruno Senna (pm only), 1m 26.783s, P17
Valtteri Bottas (am only) 1m 26.641s, P13

Maldonado and Bottas were happy with the FW34 in FP1, though the former drifted to a halt late in the session with a hydraulic fault. Senna said that doing just half a day made life difficult in FP2.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 27.373s, P17/1m 26.724s, P15
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 27.789s, P18/1m 26.864s, P19

Both drivers gathered a lot of data, which will be processed tonight before they formulate a direction for the rest of the weekend.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 27.855s, P19/1m 26.841s, P18
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 28.578s, P20/1m 27.222s, P20

No real problems here, though the cars still lacked midfield speed.

Marussia
Timo Glock, 1m 29.207s, P22/1m 27.944s, P21
Charles Pic, 1m 28.751s, P21/1m 27.968s, P22

Monza doesn’t suit Marussia’s MR-01 so the drivers struggled initially to find a decent set-up. Glock did a lot of back-to-back work with the Canadian settings and some new components indicated the way forward.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 29.331s, P23/1m 28.575s, P23
Narain Karthikeyan (pm only), 1m 28.779s, P24
Ma Qing Hua (am only) 1m 31.239s, P24

De la Rosa enjoyed two clean sessions on his 100th Grand Prix appearance and was able to try out many different configurations. Ma acquitted himself reasonably well, getting within two seconds of De la Rosa without making many significant mistakes as he became the first Chinese-born driver to participate in an official Grand Prix session. Karthikeyan picked up for the afternoon and worked through set-ups, before an exhaust problem curtailed his running.

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