Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Monza, 2019

Slipstreams and Sunday rain key to teams’ qualifying plans

2019 Italian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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The Italian Grand Prix is shaping up to be not quite the stroll through the Parco di Monza that Ferrari might have hoped it would be after their strong showing at Spa.

Persistent showers made Friday a very uneven first day; encouragingly, the kind which are often followed by lively races. Charles Leclerc snatched a brief moment of dry running to post the day’s best time, a 1’20.978.

But then Lewis Hamilton, aided by a sniff of a tow from his team mate and dodging yet more rain drops, got within a tenth of that. Game on.

The good news for Ferrari was that each of their drivers bagged one of the fastest sector times. Hamilton was only quickest through the final part of the lap.

But as in Belgium the outcome of qualifying is likely to be strongly affected by who can get the best ‘tow’ from another car. A Spa this was so crucial drivers went to extreme lengths to get in position, which Hamilton later described as “dangerous”.

At Monza today the F2 qualifying session was red-flagged and abandoned as the 30-strong field got in each others’ way. Of course F1 drivers are greater in experience and fewer in number, but then the stakes are much higher, too.

Getting a good tow “was was a key play last year,” Hamilton recalled. “Everyone was in two or three seconds of each other to do a tow. And that’ll be the same again given that the car is even more affected by the tow.”

The other key consideration for teams will be how to configure their cars in the expectation that Sunday could be wet. “That’s probably the only real kind of dilemma we’ll face tonight,” said Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“It looks pretty much dry tomorrow but then if it’s going to rain Sunday then do we really compromise all of that tomorrow for Sunday? We might make a few small compromises if Sunday definitely looks wet. But if it’s like 50% then you probably just build the fastest car for qualifying and then deal with it in the race.”

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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:

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Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Charles LeclercFerrari1’27.9051’20.97857
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’28.7301’21.04643
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’30.5071’21.17958
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’30.5961’21.34745
5Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’30.1001’21.35040
6Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’29.0251’21.58949
7Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’30.6951’22.12468
8Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.9801’22.15351
9Daniel RicciardoRenault1’34.5281’22.24946
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’29.9601’22.26062
11Nico HulkenbergRenault1’35.1331’22.33847
12Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’28.2111’22.48257
13Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’34.7151’22.51149
14Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’22.52339
15Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’33.9761’22.70641
16Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’22.88237
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’32.8481’23.06557
18Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’28.4501’23.56139
19Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’37.8161’23.73741
20George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’38.4211’24.31335

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2019 Italian Grand Prix

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    Author information

    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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    One comment on “Slipstreams and Sunday rain key to teams’ qualifying plans”

    1. What a prescient article Keith. Slipstreaming decided the qualifying.

    Comments are closed.