- Italian Grand Prix - FP2
McLaren undecided on F-duct
Both McLaren drivers came away from Friday practice for the Italian Grand Prix full of confidence, but faced with a dilemma as to whether they should run the F-duct.
The use of F-ducts at Monza has been a source of intense speculation over recent weeks and on Friday McLaren experimented both with and without. In the second session Lewis Hamilton ran without the rear-wing stalling device and said the overall difference was marginal.
" We had two good practice sessions today. This morning, in P1, we ran with the higher-downforce package, and the car felt good, but it wasn't as fast along the straights as we've experienced in the past," he said. "During P2, I was using a different downforce package to Jenson - running with a lower-downforce rear wing and without the F-duct - so we need to go through all the data tonight to decide which approach works best. Both configurations were quick, so we're not in a bad position."
"The two different packages felt fairly similar - one is slower down the straights but quicker through the corners, and the other is quicker down the straights but slower through the corners - and they pretty much balance themselves out over the course of a lap.
"We haven't yet decided what to run tomorrow; it's about determining which is better on high fuel, and whether there's more potential in one over the other. We'll decide this evening."
Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button ended up with the fourth and fifth fastest times after neither improved on their lap times using the softer tyres. Rival drivers for Ferrari and Red Bull took advantage, but Button, who was fastest in the morning, said the focus was on finding a set-up for both qualifying and the race.
"Lewis and I were trying out different levels of downforce today - gathering data to see what works best around here," he said. "I stayed with the F-duct and higher-downforce package, and was reasonably happy.
"The day started well for me, but as we changed more things I grew just a bit less happy with the car. In general, however, it's working well - there are still a few improvements we need to make to be completely happy, but that's mostly tweaking rather than making big changes.
"We have a lot of data to go through, so it will be a busy night tonight. But we're pretty competitive with both packages, which is positive because it means the car is working efficiently. Our car is mechanically strong, so we just need to confirm what downforce level to run.
Button added that both drivers were free to go with whichever set-up they felt was best
"The team are very open to the decisions the drivers take, and Lewis and I will be able to choose the package that we feel is right for us - but it won't just be a driver decision, it will be made with our engineers and the team management."