Fast corners under the trees’ shade
2020 FIA Formula One Italian Grand Prix – Practice – Friday
Weather: FP1: sunny, 23.6-25.6°C air, 32-38.4°C track; FP2: sunny, 26.7-29°C air, 44.4-37.5°C track
For the Alfa Romeo Racing team, the first day of on-track action in Monza came and went without a hitch, with plenty of running producing reams of data for the team’s engineers. On a gloriously sunny and warm day, Kimi and Antonio sped around the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for more than 117 laps, zipping past empty grandstands and disappearing into the shade of the Parco’s trees.
A productive day with good mileage is what every team wants on a Friday: with all boxes ticked on their testing programme and all set-up avenues more or less explored, the ball is now in the court of the engineers, tasked with chiselling the rough edges of the car into smoothness ahead of Saturday’s qualifying. Times on Friday mean little and lots of work is still ahead of the team’s to make the most of their package’s, both on the single lap and on longer runs. With conditions expected to remain stable ahead of Saturday, finding the sweet spot will be crucial for a successful qualifying session.
Saturday’s battle for the pole, however, won’t just be about pace. With the all-important tow playing a crucial role on Monza’s endless straights, plenty of outlap shenanigans are to be expected. Strategy will be key – and will make Saturday’s session unmissable…
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
1st practice: 17th / 1:22.619 (27 laps) / 2nd practice: 17th / 1:22.147 (34 laps)
“It was a regular Friday on my side, even though at the end of the day I didn’t really put a laptime together and that made quite a difference. There’s still work to be done to improve, of course, but that’s not different from our usual weekends. We need to do our homework tonight and see where it puts us tomorrow. I believe qualifying will be a close fight and putting in a perfect lap will be the key. With everyone looking for a tow, it’ll be chaotic, but we just have to see how it plays out.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 16th / 1:22.552 (24 laps) / 2nd practice: 13th / 1:21.786 (32 laps)
“It was a fairly positive day and I feel we did some progress. Of course, tomorrow’s qualifying will be a whole different story but I am happy with the work we did today. A place in Q2 is my objective and I think we can be in for a shout at it. Getting a tow will be important and it’s a necessity to have a good time, but you still have to put the rest of the lap together. I remember what happened at the end of qualifying last year and I am expecting similar scenes this time around. We need to manage it right, go out on track at the right time and be in the right position to exploit it.”