Sebastian Vettel said that McLaren are likely to present the main obstacle to him this weekend as he attempts to win the Italian Grand Prix for the second time.
The reigning world champion set the fastest time in Friday practice today at Monza, with Lewis Hamilton close behind him in second. The McLaren driver topped the timesheets in the morning session, however, and with team-mate Jenson Button second-fastest, Vettel had to settle for third place in FP1.
“It was an interesting day,” said Vettel. “[Monza is] a track that traditionally doesn't suit us, but we were happy with the car today. McLaren look very quick in particular and the ones to beat this weekend, but it's very difficult to judge on a Friday as so many factors are involved. We had no problems today, so we're satisfied.”
Mark Webber was fourth fastest this morning but finished that day down in P6. However, the Australian explains that Red Bull had him and Vettel on different programmes today, and this is likely to be the main reason for his slower lap-times. Indeed, Webber sounded pretty pleased by how the first day of this Italian Grand Prix weekend had progressed.
“That was pretty good,” he commented. “We've got a lot to go through regarding downforce and gear ratios, it's a pretty tricky venue in that regard. The two different tyre compounds are behaving pretty well, we did most of our work in P2 on the option tyre. We re-adjusted a few things following the camber setting guidelines for this race.
“Set-up here can be interesting, as it's a compromise between grip for corning and straight-line speed. Seb and I ran different programmes today, so we'll put that info together tonight.”