Ferrari back ahead of Red Bull at home

2016 Italian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Having fallen behind Red Bull in outright pace in recent races, the long straights of Monza saw Ferrari out-pace their closest championship rivals on Friday. And they may be closer to Mercedes tomorrow.

Ferrari used the Friday practice session to introduce an upgrade to their power unit which, though modest, will help them in their pursuit of Mercedes. The red cars have tended to show their hand on Saturdays this year, particularly during their final runs in Q3, so qualifying could be closer than expected.

Italian Grand Prix practice in pictures
But merely being able to lock out the second row of the grid behind Mercedes for the race could be an excellent place for the fast-starting Ferraris to mount an attack.

Red Bull expected their Italian rivals to be ahead of them at a track which rewards power over handling and grip. “I would like to be closer to Ferrari,” Daniel Ricciardo conceded, “but we didn’t really find the times on the super-softs, though the softs felt competitive.”

“I think tomorrow it will tighten up at the top even more. I expect Mercedes to lock out the front row and Ferrari look like the next best.”

Despite hot track temperatures which nudged 46C the Mercedes drivers kept their super-soft tyres going for 15-lap stints having already done four-lap qualifying runs on them. The prospects look good, then, that even if the front runners start on these faster tyres they will still be able to make the usual Monza one-stop strategy work.

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The predominance of engine power over chassis performance may lead to some differences in the front half of the grid. Haas also have Ferrari’s engine upgrade and Romain Grosjean described the VF-16 as “a very good car for Monza” after posting the ninth-quickest time today.

Manor looking good for an appearance in Q2 and perhaps even Q3 – all eight Mercedes-powered cars started in the top ten last year. However McLaren suspect they’re in with a chance too – a sign of the progress they and Honda have made.

“It could be possible to get into Q3 tomorrow,” said Jenson Button, “we didn’t do anything different today to what we normally do on a Friday, so it’s definitely possible”.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint. Very slow laps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, right-click to reset:

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’23.1621’22.80176
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’22.9591’22.99479
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’24.3071’23.25449
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’24.0471’23.42744
5Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’24.9821’23.73249
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’25.1201’24.00349
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’25.5071’24.25938
8Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’24.7851’24.29977
9Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’24.7631’24.51651
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’25.3511’24.54951
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’25.8401’24.55637
12Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’24.58740
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’24.6501’24.65373
14Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’25.1131’24.67452
15Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’25.8531’24.98145
16Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’26.7621’25.08365
17Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’25.9731’25.24051
18Esteban OconManor-Mercedes1’26.3911’25.27543
19Kevin MagnussenRenault1’26.9561’25.55571
20Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’26.0741’25.61453
21Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’26.4391’25.64352
22Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’26.4391’25.64352
23Jolyon PalmerRenault1’26.8111’25.83379

2016 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Ferrari back ahead of Red Bull at home”

  1. Pretty solid run from Bottas there. It would be nice to see them have a competitive weekend again.

  2. Back to the ‘usual’ slog we’ve seen for years. Mercedes 1-2 wake me when it’s over.

  3. Knowing their own season is pretty much one long test session, I’m surprised the Renault factory has not “gifted” Red Bull Racing their premium engines over the customer engines just to embarrass Ferrari and strike some fear in Mercedes-Benz/AMG.

    1. @photogcw AFAIK RBR’s engines are exactly the same as the factory team’s engines, no customer downgrading at all. Do you know otherwise?

      1. I thought Red Bull Racing were using Renault customer engines re-badged for sponsor TAG/Heuer and only the former Lotus team were using the 2016-spec factory engines.

  4. Look at Jensen’s and Fernando’s long run times! Nearly identical….

    Verstappens long run pace was a match for Ferrari.

    Lewis seems to have a consistent long run edge over Nico. His fastest long run lap was on the 14th lap… still plenty of life in those tyres!

    The length of Vettel’s stint is very impressive.

    and… Bottas was faster than both Ferrari’s….!

    1. I hate to burst your bubble, but on the projected stint Rosberg was on the Medium compound, Hamilton on the Soft compound….

  5. TBH, I think they were ahead in Spa as well. The only reason Verstappen was ahead is that he was on SS and had the T1 incident not happen, I expect Ferrari would have ended the race 2, 3 and RB 4, 5.

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