Italian Grand Prix 2021 – Qualifying

Qualifying Notes
–  George Russell qualified 15th and Nicholas Latifi 16th ahead of Sprint Qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix
–  George continued to improve throughout qualifying, setting his quickest time on his final run in Q2 with a 1:21.392
–  Nicholas also set his fastest time on his final flying lap of the session, posting a 1:21.925 at the end of Q1

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Today has been hectic with the short free practice session leading straight into qualifying. We struggled a bit in FP1, which is often the case in Monza when the drivers are getting used to the low drag setup. George in particular was unhappy with the car at low fuel. Nicholas was a little more comfortable and showed some decent pace on high fuel.

We made some changes to the cars ahead of qualifying, especially on George’s side of the garage, which improved the balance. However, it was still a difficult session with both cars fighting hard to get out of Q1. With a tow useful on the long straights here in Monza, there were the usual standoffs in the pit lane and jostling on the outlaps; we mostly stayed out of trouble, but Nicholas unfortunately couldn’t orchestrate a tow for his final all-important lap in Q1. He finished just behind George who made it into Q2 when Tsunoda’s lap was deleted.

It has been a difficult day, but there are two more competitive sessions to go this weekend and we will look to make progress tomorrow afternoon ahead of the Grand Prix on Sunday.

George Russell: It has been a really tricky day, and we aren’t quite as competitive here as we would have hoped. Since we hit the ground with FP1 we weren’t in the right window with the car and that really compromises you on a weekend like this. We did a really good job executing qualifying though and the team got me in the right position on track, but today just wasn’t meant to be. I think we are in a better position for the Sprint Qualifying tomorrow than we were today, but generally I think it’s going to be a tough weekend. However, we need to build momentum and see what we can achieve.

Nicholas Latifi: The car wasn’t feeling great in FP1, and only having one practice session makes things tricky but I think we did manage to make some good changes ahead of qualifying and car did feel much better. Ultimately, as we saw last year, this isn’t a track that really suits our car and we could have done some things better in the qualifying session. It’s frustrating to miss out on Q2 when the margins were so small. We did make some compromises to our pace today which will hopefully put us in a better in a better position tomorrow, and this is a track that you can overtake at, so we’ll see what we can do in Sprint Qualifying.

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