The Friday in F1 Italian GP was relatively smooth where Ferrari had the upperhand over Red Bull but penalties will play a big role.

The Friday in F1 Italian GP saw Ferrari pair lead the way in both the practice sessions ahead of the Red Bull pair, with Mercedes slightly behind. The Italian outfit looked to have better pace at Monza than Spa-Francorchamps, at least as per practice pace.

Red Bull are a bit worried about Ferrari’s pace and have some things to look at overnight. But both teams have penalties which means, there will be fight back to be done. Behind them, Mercedes are in the mix with McLaren and Alpine inside the Top 10.

Sainz: “It’s been positive because, obviously, after coming from Spa – the last [lower] downforce track where we struggled a lot – we expected to not be very competitive here. But I must say that from FP1 the car has felt in a much better window, in a much better position, than where it was in Spa. Lap times were coming easy, the stopwatch doesn’t lie, and we were more and more on the pace, so it’s been a pleasant surprise. It doesn’t mean we are the fastest; I don’t think we are the fastest out there by any means, especially in the long runs. But at least we are closer than what we thought.”

Verstappen: “They [Ferrari] look good. I’m not worried about it, but we still have a few things to finalise. But if you look at the long runs, I think we look quite good, and I think that is the most important for the race. I think the car was quite good. Just trying a few things on the car from FP1 to FP2 to understand if you could do things better. Some worked; some didn’t. And just trying long run practice, of course with the little penalty we have, and everything seems to run quite well.”

Russell: “It was a bit of a strange day. FP1 was looking pretty strong, but then Ferrari and Red Bull have seemingly taken a step forward compared to us. Maybe we’ve taken a step back, as we were obviously behind Norris’ McLaren in FP2, so, a bit of work to be done tonight to understand that. I think we’re similar to Red Bull, but Ferrari seem to have the upper hand. It may make things tricky in a race scenario, as they’ve got a bit more in the locker to play with. It’s something we’re going to have to deal with.”

Norris: “Decent day, I think, we showed good pace at times, made some good steps from FP1 to FP2; we changed quite a lot of stuff on the car. I don’t want to get our hopes up, I think we’re still quite a way off from where Alpine are, but on the long run we are quite a chunk off. Some positives here and there, but as we expected, I think a little bit coming into this weekend, not as competitive as we were in Zandvoort and Budapest and maybe a little bit more in line with Spa. We’ll keep working and see what more we can bring for tomorrow. I think the cars that are starting at the back [with grid penalties] are also cars which are generally a lot faster than us. Ferrari, Red Bull, especially the Red Bulls, after a few laps they’ll be ahead of us anyway. I don’t think it’s made a big difference for us, but if any opportunities arrive because of this, hopefully we’re there to take it.”

Ocon: “It has been a strong day overall. Obviously the McLarens are quite quick, so that’s a little bit concerning, but the important [part] is tomorrow [in] qualifying. It is definitely an opportunity for everyone that’s not going to take a penalty, so we’ll see about that tomorrow.”

Around the Top 10, Williams’ Alexander Albon did well again at Monza and he is banking on the penalties for drivers ahead to once again start from a better position. It was a good day for Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas as well who finally managed to run more.

He has penalty too but the laps under his belt will help his cause. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, though, felt a lot of work to be done for the weekend as he found himself outside the Top 10. It was the same case with Aston Martin and Haas, who also fielded Nyck de Vries and Antonio Giovainzzi.

Bottas: “It felt good to be out there, it is a nice track to be driving and it’s even nicer when the car feels good like it did today. Pace-wise, we seem to be doing better than in the last couple of events, so that is promising looking ahead to Sunday. There is still some fine-tuning to do, but I feel we’re not too much far off where we want to be, and we will be looking for any small gains we can get tonight. Our pace seems better than the position we are going to be starting from, because of the penalties, and I reckon here we can overtake and move up places. Hopefully, we can end our dry spell in terms of points and get back into the top ten.”

Albon: “It is, and we saw that at Spa. In Spa there were a lot of penalties, we were able to hold people off – I say, why not? Why can’t we do it this weekend as well? It’s harder here to hold people off, but I think we have the pace. We’re quicker this weekend than we were at Spa – so let’s see. “[The car is] feeling reasonable; we’re P10 and not totally happy with the car, which is a good thing. Normally when we’re P10, everything feels rosy. We’ve got some homework to do tonight, just fix a few things, fine-tune the car, we see a lot of grid penalties coming and hopefully that can come into our favour. We’ll see what we can do if we can maximise the car.”

Gasly: “There is still some work to do, but tomorrow we have an opportunity to make a step in the right direction. We know what we are struggling with and that was noticed again today in both FP1 and FP2, there was especially a lot of sliding in the medium to high-speed corners. Though there was the Red Flag, it didn’t change the overall performance much, because we were still able to gather all the necessary data about our weaknesses. We will need to analyse everything tonight to allow us to deliver a strong top 10 in Qualifying tomorrow.”

De Vries: “Firstly, it was a real privilege to drive the AMR22 around Monza today. This is a very different circuit compared to the other venues where I have driven 2022 cars, so it was all very valuable information for me. It was extremely challenging because of the low-downforce set-up that we run here, which makes it difficult to compare to my previous FP1 sessions. We spent the first half of the session gathering aerodynamic data, before switching to the Soft tyres later on. The priority is to help the team prepare for the weekend and I think we made good progress with the work we completed.”

Giovinazzi: “It was a great experience to be back in a Formula 1 car and for me the first time in this new car. I think the session went well, we did all the laps we had planned, and I got the feeling of the car, the brakes and the tires so I’m really happy with the job. The next time will be in Austin, which will be another type of track as here in Monza it’s a low downforce track and Austin will be high downforce with a lot of high speeds. It was a good first time with the car and the team – thanks to Haas and Ferrari for this opportunity and now I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Here’s how FP1 of F1 Italian GP panned out

Here’s how FP2 of F1 Italian GP panned out