HRT showed promising pace during Friday Practice in Monza today – by their standards at least – as Vitantonio Liuzzi out-paced at least one Virgin Racing car in each of the two sessions.
The Italian, who is celebrating his home grand prix this weekend, finish the day in P21, ahead of Jerome D’Ambrosio and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
“It was a pretty good first day in Monza, just how I wanted to get my home grand prix underway,” said Liuzzi. “This track suits our car better than others because there aren't any high speed corners where a lack of downforce tends to cost us. So we've closed the gap quite a bit with our main rivals”.
“We did some set-up work in the morning and worked on understanding the soft tyres in the afternoon so, overall, we got some valid information. I think we have a good balance on lung runs but need to work on our single lap pace tomorrow morning. Everybody did a good job today and I think we can have a good weekend but we must keep on working hard”
Ricciardo finished the day at the bottom of the timesheets, but had to content with some technical issues in the afternoon.
“The morning session went as planned and we got through the established programme,” said the Australian. “I understand the car better and how it behaves on track with every day that goes by. On the first lap in the afternoon session we had an electrical issue and had to spend around an hour in the garage to solve it. The mechanics did a good job under pressure in a short amount of time which allowed me to get back on track at the end of the session to do a few laps. Obviously, I would have preferred to have done 20 or 30 laps but at least I was able to get back out”.
“I have a lot to learn from Tonio's experience and, realistically, if you look at his times and compare them to Lotus and Virgin, then we were pretty close. The F111 adapts better to this track than to others, so I think this could be a good weekend, but now what we have to do is work hard for tomorrow”.