Lewis Hamilton has said Mercedes have a bit of work to do if they are to 'compete right at the front' on Saturday at Monza and challenge for pole position.
Hamilton will be gunning for his fifth pole in succession – and his sixth of the season - in Italy, but, despite leading the way this morning in opening practice, he slipped back in the second session.
Indeed he concluded the day sixth overall, his best lap a 1 minute 25.340 seconds, which left him a massive 0.887 seconds off Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull.
“The balance is reasonable and we've had a pretty smooth day, better than our recent Fridays in fact. Although we're quite competitive, we're not quick enough yet though and will have to work hard tonight to see where we can make some improvements,” Hamilton confirmed.
“Of course we don't know what fuel loads other teams are on so we'll have to wait and see but there is a bit of work for us to do if we want to compete right at the front tomorrow,” he added.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg, who finished the day just behind Lewis on the combined times, also reckons they need to improve the F1 W04.
“As usual on Fridays, we are a bit away from the quickest times, however we learned a lot today. Almost every single lap brings important information and I think our car is good again. We need to work hard this evening to improve further though as the Red Bulls are very quick again,” Rosberg stated.
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff meanwhile echoed the thoughts of his two drivers' in his end of day summary.
“Both drivers completed a lot of laps today and gathered valuable data for the engineers to work through tonight. Now we need to analyse what we were lacking in terms of performance on both a single lap and the long runs, so that we can hopefully make a step forward tomorrow,” he concluded.