Italian Grand Prix 2021 – Sprint Qualifying

Qualifying Notes
–  Nicholas Latifi finished 14th with George Russell 15th in today’s Sprint Qualifying, which sets the grid for the Italian Grand Prix
–  George started 15th and Nicholas 16th, both on the medium Pirelli tyres
–  Nicholas gained a couple of positions on lap one and ran in 14th for the majority of the race before taking the chequered flag
–  George meanwhile fought back after losing places at the start, recovering from 19th to 15th once racing resumed following a brief safety car period caused by a first lap accident for Pierre Gasly 

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: FP2 went well and based on that running we elected to start both cars on the medium compound for the Sprint Qualifying session. Nicholas made a very good start and was able to pressurise the Aston Martin and Alpine cars ahead. Unfortunately, the close following and DRS train meant that he couldn’t make further progress. George had a poor start and suffered some front wing damage, which upset his balance for most of the session. Despite the damage, after the Safety Car he was quickly able to recover to finish just behind Nicholas. We will repair his front wing tonight and both cars will start the Grand Prix tomorrow with their sights set firmly on the four cars ahead, all of which will hopefully be more vulnerable over a full race distance.

Nicholas Latifi: I think that was probably the maximum that we could have done today; it’s good to move up the grid for the race. Turn one was always going to be quite tricky, especially from the mid-pack backwards, but I think I managed to navigate my way through and avoid the first lap incidents. From then, I didn’t really have the pace to move any further forward and pass the Alpine ahead of us. I think tomorrow will be tricky as there are cars behind us who have better pace, but you never know what can happen in the race and we’ll take advantage of any opportunities that come our way.

George Russell: We made a poor start and off the line I got overtaken by a few cars. However, we then made a good recovery and I managed to pass some cars and fight back. The race was going alright, the pace felt good but we then had an issue with the front wing. I had massive understeer, and the car was not handling how it should have been which compromised the race. In the end I ended up in the same position that I started, this time behind Nicholas, so now we move onto tomorrow.

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