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Friday analysis - Red Bull leave tifosi fearing the worst 06 Sep 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8 front wing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Marussia F1 Team MR02 nose detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013

Perfect weather conditions enabled all of the teams to conduct their usual Friday programmes and Monza and most found in FP2 that their best times came after two or three laps on Pirelli’s medium tyres. The headline story was Red Bull’s fearsome pace, which was stronger than anyone had predicted on a circuit not thought to be particularly well suited to the world champions’ RB9 machine. We take a team-by-team look at day one in Italy…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 25.723s, P4/1m 24.453s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 26.103s, P8/1m 25.076s, P2

In FP2 Red Bull simply took up where they left off in Belgium, after Vettel and Webber had played it easy in FP1. The world champion’s lap time had everyone gasping, and while Webber was less settled his time was still good enough for second. Despite his speed, Vettel reckons it will be tight for pole tomorrow, suggesting that he might have run less fuel than some others in FP2.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 25.941s, P5/1m 25.116s, P3
Romain Grosjean, 1m 26.295s, P12/1m 25.116s, P4

There was confusion for Lotus in FP2, as Raikkonen and Grosjean set exactly the same time. The Finn was trialling a revised long-wheelbase E21, while Grosjean was in the standard model with which the team are expected to qualify and race. But the consolation was third and fourth fastest times, making them the closest to Red Bull.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 25.600s, P2/1m 25.330s, P5
Felipe Massa, 1m 26.449s, P14/1m 25.519s, P8

No real problems for Ferrari today, apart from a glitch which resulted in Massa overshooting the red light at the end of the pit lane for which the team were fined 10,000 euros. But the F138 remains well short of Red Bull’s pace so far at this meeting.

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 25.565s, P1/1m 25.340s, P6
Nico Rosberg, 1m 25.704s, P3/1m 25.367s, P7

Hamilton complained of too much oversteer but said that his car felt better than it had at Spa-Francorchamps. But both he and Rosberg were slower than the Lotuses and Alonso’s Ferrari, let alone the Red Bulls, and spoke of plenty of set-up work that remains to be done this evening.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 26.035s, P7/1m 25.532s, P9
Sergio Perez, 1m 26.007s, P6/1m 25.627s, P10

On the weekend on which they celebrate their 50th birthday, McLaren said they learned what worked and what didn’t on the revised MP4-28. In the morning Button was investigated for unauthorised use of DRS, until it was explained to the stewards that his bespoke Monza-only system had stuck in the open position. Overall McLaren looked more competitive than they had in Belgium, and were within four-tenths of the Lotus’s third fastest time.

Force India
Paul di Resta, 1m 26.594s, P15/1m 25.830s, P11
Adrian Sutil (pm only), 1m 26.028s, P13
James Calado (am only), 1m 27.041s, P17

Di Resta had a gearbox problem in FP1 but got going better in the afternoon, when he was joined by Sutil. Calado did a respectable job in the morning in Sutil’s car, getting within half a second of Di Resta and showing strong consistency.

Sauber
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 26.194s, P11/1m 25.888s, P12
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 27.224s, P18/1m 26.385s, P16

It was a case of good and bad news for Sauber today. Gutierrez was in strong form in both sessions, but Hulkenberg lost much of FP1 because of a gearbox issue that was resolved by the afternoon. The German said there is further set-up work required to maximise the C32’s performance.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 26.149s, P9/1m 26.138s, P14
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 26.802s, P16/1m 27.198s, P18

Maldonado said his car was inconsistent in the different types of corner, while Bottas reported inconsistent aerodynamic performance and slow straight-line speed in FP2.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 26.155s, P10/1m, 26.224s, P15
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 26.387s, P13/1m 26.599s, P17

Both drivers were unhappy with their STR8s; Vergne said his had poor balance and lacked grip, Ricciardo that his felt poised on a knife edge.

Marussia
Max Chilton, 1m 27.869s, P20/1m 27.548s, P19
Jules Bianchi (pm only), 1m 28.057s, P22
Rodolfo Gonzalez (am only), 1m 29.526s, P22

Chilton looked very comfortable in both sessions as he put Marussia ahead of Caterham, but Bianchi admitted that he pushed too hard and thus made mistakes trying to make up for the track time he lost when Gonzalez ran his car in FP1.

Caterham
Charles Pic, 1m 27.818s, P19/1m 27.696s, P20
Giedo van der Garde (pm only), 1m 27.771s, P21
Heikki Kovalainen (am only), 1m 28.192s, P21

Pic said that lunchtime changes to his CT03 hurt its corner-entry stability and provoked mid-corner understeer, while Van der Garde said his car lacked traction and that the medium tyres didn’t give him the grip that he had expected. Kovalainen said his car lacked braking stability in FP1.

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