Carlos Sainz finished Friday running in first place in Monza, demonstrating impressive pace with the SF-23. The Spaniard’s feedback in the media pen was also positive, though there was a clear element of caution.
Ferrari have always been tipped to perform well in Italy, owing to their generally high efficiency in 2023. Of course, the remaining sessions will determine their true pace.
Still, based on the first two practice sessions, the Scuderia should be competitive in the podium battle. Poor drivability is often cited as a weakness for Ferrari, with Sainz and Charles Leclerc often speaking on this issue.
Despite this, the 29-year-old was pleased with the balance and set-up after day one on Friday:
“It was a smooth day, to be honest. It’s great to be back at a track like Monza.
“And from the first lap of FP1, to feel the car normal again after such a difficult weekend at Zandvoort,” he told the media.
“As soon as we put the car on track here, for some reason, it just adapted a lot better and was a lot easier to set up and drive it per corner.
“It doesn’t mean that we are going to be P1 tomorrow or in the race, but the feeling is at least much better.
“It’s the same car basically, but for some reason, it just felt a little better, which is what puzzles me more.
“But let’s see tomorrow.”
This weekend will be impacted by the new F1 tyre allocation format, which was previously trialled in Hungary.
Qualifying was unpredictable at the Hungaroring, owing in some part to the use of hard tyres in Q1 and mediums in Q2. It should still be noted, however, that the circuit’s short lap time also played a role.
Monza qualifying should be an intense affair, with Ferrari facing stiff competition throughout the field.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang