Traffic played a major role during both free practice sessions, but red flags also made it difficult for the drivers to complete a problem-free run. It led to some frustrations during the sessions, in which Yuki Tsunoda in particular had a bone to pick with Lewis Hamilton. Or was it George Russell? Max Verstappen also did not have a flawless day and again sought confrontation with his engineer Gianpiero Lambiase. F1Maximum lists the nicest on-board radios.
The race weekend in Monza is not only a home race for Ferrari, but in a sense also for Alfa Romeo. The racing team also runs with a special livery this weekend, but Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas didn’t bring much luck. Both drivers did not feel comfortable in the C43 and complained a lot about the on-board radio. “There’s something wrong with the back. It looks like something is stuck. I think we should go in. This car is ungovernable,” Bottas told his team, while Zhou expressed the same criticism. “The car is out of control.” After a thorough inspection of both cars, the problem seemed to be solved. “The car is much better now,” said a relieved Zhou.
Stroll causes early red flag in VT2
When the light turned green for the second session of the day at 17:00 Dutch time, almost everyone immediately entered the circuit. But even before a decent time was put on the clocks, Lance Stroll already caused the first red flag. The Aston Martin driver’s car suddenly lost power towards the Ascari chicane and he had to park his AMR23 on the side.
However, the British team tried to save the Canadian’s session. “Stay on standby, we’re trying to get you going again,” was the clear message to Stroll. However, the Marshalls had other plans and headed towards the stranded Stroll, who was then ordered to send the Marshalls away. In the end, the track marshals were able to do their job. “Okay Lance, I’m afraid you have to get out anyway,” was the annoying message to Stroll, whose session was over before it even started.
Mercedes drivers don’t do well with colleagues
After a few minutes, Stroll’s car was towed away and training could be resumed. Once again everyone immediately left their pit box and it was busy on the track. Several drivers got in each other’s way, but Hamilton in particular had to suffer. The Brit drove slowly into the second chicane, as Oscar Piastri approached him at high speed. The McLaren driver was just able to avoid Hamilton. “Nice of Hamilton,” was Piastri’s cynical response.
It was not the first time that Hamilton got in the way, because in FP1 the Mercedes driver also hindered Yuki Tsunoda, who then criticized the Briton. “Hamilton doesn’t know how to step aside.” When Hamilton did it again in the afternoon session, the Japanese was completely done with it. See how Hamilton didn’t pull over again? But it’s okay, I’ll do the same to him then,” an irritated Tsunoda said over the on-board radio. However, the AlphaTauri driver turned out to be wrongly accusing Hamilton and the Japanese saw that too. ‘Oh it was Russell,’ he said a lot more calmly.
Hamilton not happy with Mercedes strategy
Hamilton therefore did not make a great turn with his colleagues, but he himself was not happy with Mercedes’ strategy. Mercedes sent both drivers out on different strategies and Russell proved to gain a lot of time on the straights. That didn’t sit well with Hamilton at all. How can we lose six-tenths in sector one? It’s two straights.’ His team confirms that he loses the most time on the straights, but he also loses some time in the first corners.
However, Hamilton is not having a good time at all and not much later asks if he can come in. “I’d rather come in and change it.” However, his engineer informs him that this is not a wise choice. “That will mess up our program,” the Briton was told. The seven-time world champion left it at that, but would not get further than P17.
Married couple Verstappen and Lambiase back on track
Meanwhile, Ferrari had reported at the top of the times list, but Sergio Pérez quickly ruined the Italian team’s party. Verstappen couldn’t match his teammate’s time and it soon became clear why not. The Dutchman was bothered by traffic and was not happy about it. “That middle sector was terrible because of all the traffic,” he told his team. Verstappen wanted to give it another try, but his team thought otherwise. ‘Can’t we go again? Because I got a *** image,’ he asked his engineer. “It’s not a qualification Max.” The Dutchman clearly did not agree with the choice of the team and Lambiase could not resist coming back to it after the session. “Did you learn anything?” he asked Verstappen. “Not really,” was the short answer from the world champion.
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