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Friday analysis - Ferrari looking strong on home soil

05 Sep 2014

With conditions being dry and reasonably warm in FP1, and warmer still in FP2, everybody got their hard and medium tyre work, and their aero assessments, done in two Monza sessions that were curiously devoid of major drama.

Some had trouble getting the tyres to temperature quickly, others did not, while some believe warm weather in the race could lead to the risk of blistering and possible two-stop strategies. We take a team-by-team look at the early progress in Italy…

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, 1m 26.995s, P3/1m 26.225s, P1

Lewis Hamilton, 1m 26.187s, P1/ 1m 26.286s, P2

No worries for Rosberg today, but Hamilton lost 65 minutes of FP2 in the garage as engineers fixed an electronic glitch that prevented his Mercedes from starting. His FP1 time was overall the fastest lap of the day, however, and in FP2 he was eventually only 0.061s adrift. Rosberg said he lacked ultimate confidence in his car and its long-run pace and that there’s work to do tonight. Niki Lauda confirmed that so far the brakes on both cars have been fine, on this circuit which places huge demands on the F1 W05 Hybrid’s acknowledged Achilles’ heel.

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 27.493s, P7/1m 26.331s, P3

Fernando Alonso, 1m 27.169s, P4/1m 26.565s, P4

No problems at Ferrari, under the watchful eyes of the tifosi, though Alonso had a little scare with the hint of a gremlin which turned out to be a false alarm. They got their aero and tyre work done, and were happy, but they know the weekend will get tougher for them.

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, 1m 28.148s, P12/1m 26.758s, P5

Felipe Massa, 1m 28.150s, P13/1m 26.935s, P9

Williams were off-beam in FP1 as they experimented with their latest aero programme, but got their act together in FP2 and Bottas said he was very happy with the behaviour of the car and it’s long-run pace. Massa said there’s work to do on his car tonight.

McLaren

Jenson Button, 1m 26.810s, P2/1m 26.762s, P6

Kevin Magnussen, 1m 27.228s, P5/1m 26.881s, P8

McLaren looked quite good all day on this lowest of downforce circuits. Magnussen was happy with his braking and straight-line performance, as was Button, but the Dane was the happier when it came to race pace.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, 1m 27.271s, P6/1m 26.762s, P7

Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 28.487s, P16/1m 26.992s, P10

Vettel was the lead runner in both sessions, as Ricciardo lost part of FP1 with a power unit problem.

Force India

Sergio Perez (part am), 1m 27.687s, P8/1m 27.079s, P11

Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 28.112s, P10/1m 27.227s, P12

Daniel Juncadella (part am only), 1m 29.192s, P17

Perez only did the final 20 minutes of FP1, but went eighth quickest, while Juncadella did another good job during his time in the VJM07. The Mexican was bullish, but Hulkenberg admitted that he struggled to find rhythm and balance.

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat, 1m 27.741s, P9/1m 27.476s, P13

Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 28.300s, P14/1m 27.929s, P15

Both drivers said they struggled with tyre management issues, and that they have a lot to ponder overnight to improve the STR9s.

Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 28.114s, P11/1m 27.840s, P14

Adrian Sutil (pm only), 1m 28.029s, P16

Giedo van der Garde (am only) 1m 28.429s, P15

Sauber were closer to the ballpark here, and unusually the team were able to report a “flawless” day.

Marussia

Jules Bianchi, 1m 30.081s, P20/1m 28.659s, P17

Max Chilton, 1m 30.017s, P19/1m 28.786s, P19

Marussia took it to Lotus in both sessions, and the team were very happy with the way their day evolved.

Lotus

Pastor Maldonado, 1m 29.512s, P18/1m 28.700s, P18

Romain Grosjean (pm only), 1m 29.085s, P20

Charles Pic (am only), 1m 30.125s, P21

Once again Lotus struggled, and both Maldonado and Grosjean had problems matching the Marussias in FP2.

Caterham

Kamui Kobayashi (pm only) 1m 29.178s, P21

Marcus Ericsson, 1m 30.948s, P23/1m 29.275s, P22

Roberto Mehri (am only), 1m 30.704s, P22

Kobayashi said it felt good to be back in his CT05 for FP2 but that he had to get used initially to the Spa upgrades, while Mehri did a fine job in the car in FP1 and can thus stake his claim to a super licence. Ericsson had a brake problem in FP1, but it was sorted for the afternoon.