Italian Grand Prix 2020 – Qualifying
- George Russell qualified 19th and Nicholas Latifi 20th for the Italian Grand Prix
- George clocked his fastest time of Q1 on his first flying lap with a 1:21.587
- Nicholas continued to improve throughout the session, with a time of 1:21.717 on his last effort
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: As ever, the qualifying game in Monza for anyone without the quickest car is a cat and mouse game on the out-lap, and a competition to prepare the tyres correctly whilst also getting a tow from the cars ahead. We knew that we needed a good tow to help our laptime, and therefore had to embrace the game. When our cars left the pitlane for the final run, both were in good positions to capitalise. Nicholas was able to start his lap behind the Mercedes having had a clean out-lap, but George was less fortunate and got embroiled in a battle with a few other cars at Parabolica, eventually opening his lap very close to the Alfa Romeo. This compromised his lap very early and he had to abort, to his obvious frustration.
Although we made good improvements to the car overnight and enjoyed a productive FP3 session, we simply weren’t quick enough at this circuit and this led us to push everything to its limits in pursuit of gaining some grid positions. In the end, we pushed some things too far, making today a very difficult and frustrating day for all of us.
Tomorrow will be tough, but it is a long run to T1 and there could be opportunities to make some progress. We will refocus tonight and try to push the performance further tomorrow.
Today was a day for learning and the experience of such a difficult session will ultimately stand us all in good stead in the future as we go forward together on our new journey.
George Russell: It was a frustrating session for all of us, especially in the moment. Looking back there wasn’t a huge amount more the team could have done, if they sent me a bit earlier or a bit later. We would still be in the same boat. It is just one of those Monza things unfortunately. Nevertheless, we have our eyes focused on tomorrow.
Nicholas Latifi: It was very tricky out there. We knew we were going to struggle coming to this track, which has proved to be the case. The closing speeds are very high, from when someone is pushing and when someone is not, everyone wants the tow at this track as it makes such a difference. My first lap wasn’t great, the second was better but still not perfect from my side and there was more time there on the table. Whether Q2 was realistic, it is difficult to say but we definitely could have been a bit quicker. Full focus is on tomorrow now and to see what we can get.