Nico Rosberg has admitted that he needs to sit down and study as much information as he can as he bids to out-run Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the battle for pole position at the Italian Grand Prix.
The German trailed the reigning world champion by 0.021secs at the end of two 90-minute free practice sessions at Monza, despite having been a tenth faster through each of the opening sectors on his best lap. With Hamilton edging away in their championship battle, Rosberg knows that he needs to conquer the qualifying demons that have seen him fall 10-1 behind in the qualifying battle, and his latest assault on top spot will begin with some intensive study tonight.
“It's not gone my way up to now but, of course, I will try [and turn it around in qualifying],” he admitted, “Tomorrow is another shot - it was very close today so, for sure, there is another opportunity tomorrow.”
With Mercedes introducing an uprated V6 this weekend, using its remaining seven development tokens in the process, Mercedes does not appear to have a serious rival for the front row, leaving Rosberg to concentrate on determining where his team-mate is getting the better of him.
“We are surprised, but it felt very quick so we're pleased with that,” he said of the revised specification, “Lewis has been pretty quick up to now, but it got very close at the end there as we were trying the qualifying run - 2/100ths – so that's okay.
“It's going in the right direction, but there's a lot of work to do [overnight]. It's a very particular track here – you have these big brakings, low grip, very slow chicanes with big kerbs and all these medium-speed corners around the back… it's very interesting but, at the moment, I don't [know where I'm losing out].
“I lost it in the last two corners and I'm not happy with that as [Hamilton] just seems to be quicker there at the moment. I'll definitely work on those tonight. I'll look at his onboard, see where he's turning in, see how much kerb he's taking and try to figure out what he's doing differently and then try to do the same tomorrow.
“I go through all the onboard cameras of the other drivers, particularly the ones who I think are doing a good job there, and try to understand where they do a better job than me. Then I've also got my data that I can compare to Lewis to see what he's doing differently, what he's doing better there. Of course, I also need to know what I am doing better so that I make sure I stick with the good points….”
With Pirelli having introduced mandated settings for tyres this weekend, all 20 drivers have had to adjust to running with marginally higher psi levels, but Rosberg insists that the change does not make much of a difference, and believes that the race could still be done on one-stop.
“It's okay - it just slides around a little bit more, but it's fine,” he noted, “If it's good for safety then we'll take it. Doing 23 laps [on the soft tyre] may be the sign of a one-stopper but let's see – it depends what's faster. At the moment, the car's been flying, so it's pretty good.”