Alfonso Celis Jr: “It was an honour to be able to drive in Monza”

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Alfonso Celis Jr took over the driving duties from Nico Hulkenberg for Free Practice 1 of the Italian Grand Prix.

The reserve driver for Sahara Force India had the opportunity to take part in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Grand Prix, and finished the session in twelfth behind the McLaren-Honda of Jenson Button. This was a good finish from Celis, although it was 0.717 seconds behind Sergio Perez.

Celis sees driving around the Autodromo Nazionale Monza as an honour with the track having such an incredible history. The Mexican is happy with the opportunity the Silverstone-based outfit gave him as this shows the team his progress in the championship.

“I am really happy about how the day went,” said Celis. “It was an honour to be able to drive in Monza – it’s a place with such an incredible history.

“The most important thing, for me, is to keep showing the team that I am progressing and not making mistakes. As always, the priority is to bring the car home in one piece, but every time I get in the car my confidence increases and I can push a little more. Monza is not an easy track to drive, even though the car is very good, especially if you are not in the car every other weekend.

“You have very high speeds, especially on a light downforce set-up, and trying not to lock the brakes at the end of the straights is a challenge. Every time you go out it’s a compromise between pushing hard and looking after the car, but I am happy with my performance and I am pleased the team is satisfied with it.”