September 6th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Against expectations, Red Bull appear to have the quickest car at Monza, where straight-line speed (supposedly the Red Bull RB9's weakness) is at a premium and downforce is perhaps less important than at any other circuit on the calendar. Sebastian Vettel set the pace in FP2, six tenths of a second faster than team-mate Mark Webber, who was just clear of the Lotus pair of Raikkonen and Grosjean.
Whether or not Red Bull's dominance will continue through the rest of the weekend remains to be seen, but at this stage their pace looks ominous. The headline times are impressive, but what really looks significant is their long-run pace. Vettel was able to maintain good pace and consistency on his long runs in FP2, which suggests there really could be reason for Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes to worry about Sunday's race.
But the Red Bull drivers are assuming nothing. Both Vettel and Webber insisted that their Friday pace was not necessarily an indication of the order for the rest of the weekend, and stated that they were focused on the need to improve their setups for the rest of the weekend.
Sebastian Vettel said, “It will be very tight this weekend, as we saw in the first practice. It will be close tomorrow in qualifying with quite a few cars separated by only a few hundredths of a second. There are a few things we still need to do to optimise the car, as there are two or three corners where we are sliding more than we would like. It’s positive today, but it’s only a Friday.”
Mark Webber was not too excited, despite the strong pace shown by the Red Bull team: “We seem okay here, although it’s only Friday. We seemed good on Friday in Spa and then everyone was with us in P3. But, that said, the car feels good although we have some work to do to prepare for the race, so let’s see tomorrow.”