Red Bull's Max Verstappen is hoping for a “good clean start” in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix so he can fight with the Ferraris.
Verstappen qualified seventh on Saturday at Monza, posting a 1 minute 22.411 second lap to leave him just 0.022secs off team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo in sixth, who in turn was just 0.001secs off Valtteri Bottas in P5.
Bottas edges Ricciardo for fifth on grid
Despite only securing a place on the fourth row, however, the Dutchman insisted he was happy with his car.
“I think at the end we did quite a good job. I expected to be further behind Mercedes and Ferrari. I think at the end we managed to find quite a good compromise with the car and we can be pretty pleased with it. Of course you always want to end further up but this was the maximum it was possible to achieve this weekend,” he stated.
“We're always a bit better in the race [too]," he added, "as the Mercedes [cars] can turn their engines up in qualifying and have to come down a bit in the race.
"For the race it's still open what happens in front of us. Hopefully we can have a good clean start and [then] we can fight with Ferrari in the race.”
As for how they will the approach the grand prix, he added that the strategy has still to be determined.
“In terms of race strategy we still have to look into it; at the moment we still don't know what to do,” he confirmed.
“There's always been a gap to the other Power Units but we've done a superb job with the car, especially in Spa [last weekend]. As you could see there we were struggling in the first sector, which has only one corner because Eau Rouge is flat, but we did a really good job. Here it's more difficult because it's more of a compromise between high and low downforce whereas here everyone runs low downforce and you can't take more wing off. You have to find a compromise.
“They pulled away a bit, but this is also our worst track for the season and I expect us to be very competitive again in Singapore [later this month].”
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst