Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Coming to a high-speed circuit like Monza without the benefit of pre-race testing really sharpens your game. Today, we spent the day running two significantly different bodywork iterations, trying both high- and low-downforce configurations in an effort to understand their effects – not only on a flying lap but across the course of an entire race.
“It's pleasing to report that both packages appear competitive. Our aim now is to comprehensively analyse the data we generated today in order to find the optimum path for each driver over the course of the rest of the weekend.
“Given the amount of data, and the parity of each package, that's no easy task – but, as always, I'm entirely confident that our engineering team will make the right decisions, and that we'll be in the hunt for the remainder of the weekend.”
“We had two good practice sessions today. This morning, in P1, we ran with the higher-downforce package, and the car felt good, but it wasn't as fast along the straights as we've experienced in the past.
“During P2, I was using a different downforce package to Jenson – running with a lower-downforce rear wing and without the F-duct – so we need to go through all the data tonight to decide which approach works best. Both configurations were quick, so we're not in a bad position.
“The two different packages felt fairly similar – one is slower down the straights but quicker through the corners, and the other is quicker down the straights but slower through the corners – and they pretty much balance themselves out over the course of a lap.
“As I say, we haven't yet decided what to run tomorrow; it's about determining which is better on high fuel, and whether there's more potential in one over the other. We'll decide this evening.
“I'm not totally sure how I managed to damage the front-wing endplate this afternoon – I may have clipped one of the kerbs, but it was easily fixed and not a problem.”
First Practice Session: 25 laps, 1m23.967s (+0.274s), 3rd
Second Practice Session: 22 laps, 1m23.154s (+0.315s), 4th
“Lewis and I were trying out different levels of downforce today – gathering data to see what works best around here. I stayed with the F-duct and higher-downforce package, and was reasonably happy.
“The day started well for me, but as we changed more things I grew just a bit less happy with the car. In general, however, it's working well – there are still a few improvements we need to make to be completely happy, but that's mostly tweaking rather than making big changes.
“We have a lot of data to go through, so it will be a busy night tonight. But we're pretty competitive with both packages, which is positive because it means the car is working efficiently. Our car is mechanically strong, so we just need to confirm what downforce level to run.
“The team are very open to the decisions the drivers take, and Lewis and I will be able to choose the package that we feel is right for us – but it won't just be a driver decision, it will be made with our engineers and the team management.”
First Practice Session: 28 laps, 1m23.693s, 1st
Second Practice Session: 38 laps, 1m23.210s (+0.371s), 5th