Monza Speed Trap: Who is the fastest of them all?

© XPB 

However fast an F1 car is designed to go, it has the potential to reach or even exceed its top speed capabilities at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

Italy's Temple of Speed stands out among F1's high-speed tracks due to its predominantly straight sections that require a dedicated aero package.

Low drag configurations were therefore on display when everyone rolled out onto the pitlane on Friday, with an array of solutions that included tweaked rear wings to complete circuit-specific packages designed for Monza's specific environment.

But Ferrari and Red Bull opted for different approaches to seeking the best drag level/balance compromise.

While the Milton Keynes-based outfit simply applied a trim to the already very efficient aero appendices of its RB19, the Scuderia's approach was circuit specific, with a rear wing on its SF-23 that features a much flatter mainplane and a front wing that includes a trimmed upper flap.

In qualifying, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz had the upper hand – by just 0.013s – over Max Verstappen as the Italian outfit's SF-23 offered the best compromise relative to its RB19 rival in terms of aero balance.

However, while the Spaniard clocked in second fastest in terms of maximum velocity as measured at the end of Monza's main straight, the Ferrari's low drag qualities might lead, once again, to painful tyre degradation issues for Sainz and Leclerc in Sunday's race.

Scrolling down the order, Mercedes' drivers closed out the speed trap readings, exposing once again the W14's weakness in terms of drag.

But the Brackley's squad's V-Max deficit also highlights George Russell's remarkable P4 performance in Saturday's qualifying.

Looking ahead to Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, the event should prove entertaining for F1's fans, at least at the start.

But in our view, the race will once again be Verstappen's to lose, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, celebrations will be in order this afternoon when the Flying Dutchman clinches a record tenth consecutive win in F1.

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