Sebastian Vettel says racing at Monza is like a balancing act as the F1 championship leader prepares to return to the scene of his maiden success in the sport.
The Red Bull Racing ace picked up his first victory in F1 during the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, when he clinched a shock success for Toro Rosso in a wet race at the high-speed circuit.
That victory is the only time Vettel has taken to the podium at Monza, something he will look to put right this weekend in an attempt to increase his current 92 point championship lead, although the German admits that the set-up required to be successful at Monza will ensure he doesn't have an easy run over the course of the weekend.
"Monza holds incredibly special memories for me, as it's where I scored my first-ever F1 win with Toro Rosso in 2008,” he said. “That's something I will never forget - I had goosebumps standing on the podium with the fans below. The circuit is one of the most challenging of the season. It includes very long straights where we reach more than 320kph, making Monza the fastest track of the year.
“The track is not particularly physically demanding but, despite that, it is certainly not easy. Because of the long straights we drive with less rear wing than at other circuits, so the car can be more unstable; accelerating out of Parabolica is a balancing act and the smallest mistake could mean the car slipping into the gravel trap."
Team-mate Mark Webber said he was excited about contesting one of the true classic races on the calendar, although he said it was with mixed emotions as the European leg of the season draws to a close.
"Monza is one of the best races of the year because the atmosphere is amazing with the Tifosi supporting Ferrari,” he said. “There is an immense amount of history with the old banking still in place and the beautiful park where the Italian Grand Prix has been staged over the past 80 odd years.
“It's the shortest Grand Prix we take part in, as we can knock the 300 kilometre race distance out very fast because of the exceptional average speed. You need a car that's very quick on the straights and still manage to have sensible downforce for cornering. Unfortunately it's the last European race of the season. We were spoilt with how good the race unfolded in Spa; let's hope Monza is the same."