Verstappen not expecting "straightforward and easy" Italian GP

Max Verstappen say Formula 1 fans should not "expect it to be a very straightforward and easy" Italian Grand Prix for Red Bull, because of Mercedes's Monza pace so far.

Listen to this article

Verstappen will start Sunday's race from pole position because of sprint race winner Valtteri Bottas dropping to the rear of the field thanks to Mercedes giving him a fourth 2021 engine ahead of Friday evening qualifying, which the Finn also topped.

Lewis Hamilton, who finished the sprint race in fifth after making a poor start, reckons Verstappen's position at the head of the pack for the grand prix allied with the two McLaren's starting in between this season's two title rivals means "it should be an easy win for him".

Hamilton was unable to repass McLaren's Lando Norris despite pressuring his fellow Briton for most of the sprint race.

But Verstappen insisted Red Bull will not have an easy ride at Monza on Sunday because of the strength Mercedes has shown so far across the event.

"It was a good day for us [on Saturday]," Verstappen said in the post-sprint race press conference.

"[I got a] good start and from there onwards I tried to of course follow Valtteri around, even though in general I think we lacked a little bit of pace to really mount a challenge.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

"But I just tried to stay in the tow a bit and yeah from our side it was good. Again, two points scored and of course starting first tomorrow.

"I still don't expect it to be a very straightforward and easy race.

"Because Valtteri [is] coming from the back but of course Lewis is starting in P4. They have a lot of pace. We'll see what we can do again."

When asked how important it was to take pole at Monza, where the sprint race did not feature much overtaking, Verstappen replied: " If you get cleanly through Turn 1 and 2 of course it's very good.

"It's quite a decent run to Turn 1, but overall if you just have a good start it should be enough to defend. Let's see tomorrow."

Verstappen also said there was "not really" any additional unknowns for F1 teams caused by the sprint event timetable taking away one third of the practice time scheduled for every event in 2021 apart from the British, Italian and Brazilian race.

Read Also:

"We had FP2 where we did long runs," he explained of how prepared the teams are for Sunday's race.

"And of course we did the race now. I think it's pretty straightforward. We know what we have to do, we know where we are lacking.

"But of course you cannot change that [because set-ups are locked in from Friday evening qualifying by the parc ferme rules] so we'll just try to do the best we can in tomorrow's race."

shares
comments
Bottas: Not getting official Monza 2021 F1 pole stat "annoying"
Previous article

Bottas: Not getting official Monza 2021 F1 pole stat "annoying"

Next article

Alonso suggests return of one-shot qualifying to help F1 sprint races

Alonso suggests return of one-shot qualifying to help F1 sprint races
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022