ITALIAN GP – QUALIFYING
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 2nd, 1:36.702 (Practice 3 – No Time Set)
“Qualifying was positive today and I was happy with it. To be second is, of course, a very nice surprise and in the wet I always enjoy it. Q1 and Q2 with the tyre choice was a bit difficult as the intermediates never seemed to work very well. In Q3 on the new extremes I didn’t have a lot of grip, I was sliding around and I never really felt that comfortable. I cooled the tyres for one lap and then my final lap was luckily not too bad, it wasn’t perfect but second was a good result for us. We always knew we had the penalties to take tomorrow and having a good Qualifying means I hopefully start 15th rather than at the back. Let’s hope we can overtake, move to the front and I think realistically the aim will be for fifth or sixth.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 3rd 1:36.841 (Practice 3 – No Time Set)
“It is, of course, annoying about those penalties here. It would have been nice to start up front especially with some different names up that end and not the usual suspects. It would have been a chance to probably stay in the front for longer but at least I put a good effort into Qualifying and that put me up to 18th for the race instead of 19th. In the end I gained one position for doing a good job and I’ll take that. I didn’t really enjoy Q1 and Q2. Not because of the conditions, we were just slow as I struggled for grip and felt I was a bit like a passenger. As soon as we started Q3, I felt straight away that there was some grip that I didn’t have in the first two sessions. I still feel we left a bit on the table but generally it was a good recovery so I’m happy. I will enjoy tomorrow’s race thoroughly and have some fun. 18th is far down the back so I don’t expect to finish there.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A very positive Qualifying for the team today. To qualify in second and third despite the tricky conditions and after the lengthy delay was the absolute best we could have hoped for here in Monza. Both Max and Daniel seemed to extract better performance from the extreme tyres and we made the right decisions in adapting to the changing conditions through the Qualifying sessions, and we could capitalise on that in the final shootout. It is slightly academic for tomorrow as the penalties see both drivers starting down the grid but we will be hopeful of making good progress as the race unfolds. At the very least the fans deserve to see an exciting Italian Grand Prix as a reward for their support and waiting in the rain for the late show today.”
Luck of the Draw
Everyone likes to say there’s no such thing as luck in F1 and that outcomes are the result of deep research, intense analysis and careful strategising. As our new quiz reveals that’s a complete load of old rubbish. We present our team personnel with a set of 50 questions, the order of which shifts with each race, they choose 10 and have to answer them, no matter what. Tough, easy, personal and just plain weird, what they get is down to the luck of the draw. This race’s lucky dipper is Tyre Technician Greg Reeson.
1. If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?
Football player. I grew up around football and I was surrounded by it until I went to university. I’m an Arsenal fan, though I probably shouldn’t admit it at the moment. It’s probably the worst time we’ve had for quite a while. Alexis Sanchez? I don’t think we’ll see him turn up now, I think he’s done. I think they wasted a chance there. They could have taken that money and now they haven’t got it. It’s a shame. I think we needed defenders, needed strength in the squad all round. Selling Oxlade-Chamberlain was probably a sensible bit of business. With what we’re able to achieve at the moment, which is not a lot, it’s better to take the money. But I liked the fact that he ran at players, but if you’re playing him out of position, what’s the point.
2. Who was the last person to call you on your phone?
My girlfriend, Elisha. She normally calls me when I’m away. If I forget to call, she’ll definitely call me – just so I don’t get into trouble.
3. What was the last song you listened to on your phone?
Snoop Dogg, ‘Gin and Juice’. Some old school hip hop.
4. What was the last book you read?
I think it would have been a travel guide, like a Lonely Planet, but I can’t remember which one, and it was about travelling the west coast of the US. I’ve just come back from a road trip there. We flew from London to New York, across to San Diego and then we just took the Pacific Coast highway up to Santa Barbara. We cut across the desert and finished up in Las Vegas. It was fantastic and very relaxing. We didn’t have hotels booked. It was nice not to have an itinerary. Usually we’re so tied to itineraries – ‘be at this airport at this time, this hotel’ – but there was none of that this time. It was great to just hit the road and see where it took us.
5. What would be your superpower?
To be able to fly. No, wait… unlimited knowledge, because then I could work out how to fly. Knowledge opens up your world to everything. If you had unlimited knowledge you could have access to any superpower; you could just invent it.
6. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
Hand-built Lego from my sons. My four and seven-year-old built me a Star Wars spaceship. It was nice. I wasn’t expecting it. My sons’ names are Joseph and Jude. The seven-year-old is into Barcelona FC. I don’t know what happened there. I need to work on that.
7. Do you collect anything?
Believe it or not, I collect business cards from around the world. If I go somewhere that I’m interested in or it means something to me, I’ll want a business card as a souvenir. For instance, when I was in New York we went to Lombardi’s, the oldest pizzeria in the city, so that was one. I have a games room at home, so they go up in there.
8. What’s the best meal in the world?
Follows on from the last question – pizza. Proper Italian pizza. Here in Monza is good. The perfect pizza for me is thin base, crispy, not too much cheese, a more tomato-ey base and on top, spinach.
9. Who would be the first three people on your dream dinner party guest list, past or present?
Thierry Henry, Mike Tyson and Frank Sinatra. Henry because he’s a god. Sinatra because he’s my favourite artist. OK, I listen to Snoop Dogg, but I have really broad taste in music. I don’t know if it’s because of my dad, but I’ve always listened to Frank. The things he sings about, the things he talks about and puts into music are just fantastic and he’s a great entertainer. Mike Tyson? I’m a great boxing fan and he’s just a legend. I reckon those three had interesting lives, so it would be nice to find out how the other half lived.
10. What’s your guilty pleasure song or band you secretly love to blast out when you’re alone?
Again, this leads from the previous question – it would be Frank Sinatra and ‘My Way’. If not Frank, then maybe something like Alexander O’Neal. I’m a massive ‘80s fan. The song? Probably ‘Criticise’.