Briton George Russell managed to finish third and fifth this Friday at Monza, respectively in FP1 and FP2, but the Mercedes driver noted that his team’s gap with Ferrari and Red Bull was clear.
In the second period of free practice the difference between Carlos Sainz, who was P1, and Russell was a tenth, which is not easy to compensate.
Russell’s team-mate, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, was more than eight-tenths apart, meaning Mercedes know they need to work hard over the next few hours to get a good start in qualifying tomorrow.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Russell appeared realistic about his position at the weekend in Italy.
“We started very well, but Ferrari and Red Bull took a step forward, or maybe we took a step back,” he said. “We were actually following McLaren, so it takes a bit of work to understand that,” he added.
While the German team was in contention for victory at Zandvoort last week, the gap between Ferrari and Red Bull widened significantly at Monza. Even the ‘porpoising’ that seemed to be removed by Mercedes, reappeared this Friday in Italy, although it was less powerful than before.