Max after Friday at Monza: 'Looking at our raw pace, third is it'

Published on 10 September 2021 by Stefan Meens

Following Friday practice and qualifying for the Saturday sprint at the Italian Grand Prix, Ziggo Sport’s Olav Mol caught up with Max Verstappen to discuss the opening day at Monza.

Is it odd to only do one practice session before going into qualifying? “It depends, if it’s going well straight away, then it doesn’t matter. But this morning wasn’t ideal so we could do with a bit more time. On the other hand, it is what it is. Today, third was the maximum, no matter how many training sessions.”

Like all the other teams, Red Bull Racing is running a low downforce set-up this weekend, including a nearly flat rear wing. “There are limits to what we can do with the rear wing, otherwise you might as well take it off. Obviously, it’s not just the rear wing, there are a lot of things. Of course, we lack a bit of power, but maybe the car just doesn’t suit this track, so that’s why the car works better on other circuits.”

Nevertheless, Red Bull Racing tried to give you a slipstream by having Perez in front on the straights. “We were a bit surprised by that final run. I was the second car, but I was already losing six, seven hundredths of a second on my way to turn one, compared to the fifth or sixth car in the tow.”

“These cars are very sensitive for a slipstream. If you lack the straight-line speed, you try to optimise the slip stream, but then you see what Mercedes can still do. Bottas set his pole lap on his own. That means you’re really strong.”

Despite lacking the ultimate pace, the balance of the RB16B looks good. “Yeah, the balance is okay, although I would’ve wanted a bit more grip. Looking at raw pace, I think third is our maximum, but we’ll see. Tomorrow we’ll do some fine tuning of the long runs ahead of the sprint, but you won’t find another four or five tenths there.”

Contest Italian GP: win a by Max Verstappen signed 1:2 scale model 2020 helmet!