Max fifth after Monza Friday practice: 'The car is good'

Published on 06 September 2019 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen finished Friday practice of the Italian Grand Prix in fifth place. The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver lapped the Monza circuit 29 times with a 1:21.350 as his best effort. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was once again fastest after the Ferrari driver topped the leaderboards after FP1 as well. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Leclerc’s team mate, Sebastian Vettel, completed the top three.

“It was a good day. Of course the conditions were a bit tricky but the work we did was positive. Despite lacking a bit of top speed, we were pretty competitive”, explained Max. “Both the short and long runs looked good which is a good sign ahead of Sunday, especially as we’re starting from the back.”

Talking of Sunday, Max is upbeat. “With the speed we’ve shown today we can work our way up the order. The car was good and on the engine front everything was smooth. I’m looking forward to Sunday. Unfortunately, I can’t go into qualifying the way I want to, but that’s the way it is. We’ll try to make it a fun race on Sunday. It will be difficult to overtake Ferrari and Mercedes but normally a fifth place should be possible.”

In terms of the weather forecast, Max is clear; the Dutchman prefers rain. “We would have a better chance to get to the front. But if it’s dry it should be fine too with the speed we’ve shown. Especially the engine is a good step forward. It’s difficult to say how much better it is but you can see we have more power which is very good.”

At the start of the session it is dry but dark clouds hover near Monza. To make the most of a dry track, it is busy in the opening quarter with most drivers hitting the track.

Fifteen minutes into the session rain drops prompt the spectators to put on their coats but the light drizzle is not enough the discourage drivers from lapping the high-speed Italian circuit. On the contrary, Max sets his fastest lap of the session.

After half an hour, rain clouds are passing the Parco di Monza, resulting in the team keeping their drivers in the pits until the conditions improve.

Race control makes good use of the quiet period by declaring a brief red flag to enable the marshals to sweep the track at turn five, where a lot of gravel made it on to the racing line.

At the halfway mark, the track is cleared and several drivers take to the circuit, including Max, who uses a set of soft Pirellis.

After an encouraging stint clocking high 1:24s and low 1:25s, the Dutchman switches to the medium compound, on which he sets similar lap times. In the end, he completes 29 laps and has to settle for fifth place.

Italian GP contest: win a signed orange Max driver cap and 1:43 scale model!


Results second free practice Italy:

1Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:20.978 37
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:21.046+0.068s32
3Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:21.179+0.201s39
4Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:21.347+0.369s34
5Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:21.350+0.372s29
6Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda1:21.589+0.611s30
7Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:22.124+1.146s42
8Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:22.153+1.175s44
9Daniel RicciardoRICRenault1:22.249+1.271s36
10Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:22.260+1.282s37
11Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:22.338+1.360s37
12Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault1:22.482+1.504s32
13Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:22.511+1.533s42
14Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:22.523+1.545s35
15Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:22.706+1.728s32
16Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:22.882+1.904s33
17Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:23.065+2.087s35
18Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault1:23.561+2.583s16
19Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes1:23.737+2.759s29
20George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:24.313+3.335s23