Max Verstappen upbeat after practice as he eyes first Monza F1 podium

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Max Verstappen was feeling positive as he finished second fastest in Practice at the Italian Grand Prix on Friday.

Having been impeded by Lando Norris on his best lap in FP1, the reigning world champion split the two Ferraris at Monza in the second session.

And though Verstappen is set for a five-place grid penalty after taking another new ICE, he was satisfied with the potential of his Red Bull.

“The car was quite good,” he assessed. “I was just trying a few things from the car from FP1 to FP2 to understand if you could do things better.

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“Some worked, some didn’t," he continued, “if you look at the long runs, I think we look quite good, and that’s of course the most important for the race with the little penalty we have. Everything seems to work quite well."

Red Bull arrives in Monza very much as favourites after dominating on the straights in Belgium just two weeks ago.

But Verstappen admits he is unlikely to repeat that kind of performance in Italy.

“There’s still a few things we can do better, but of course, Monza is not like Spa in terms of the track layout, it’s low downforce” he noted.

"[Ferrari] look good, but I’m not worried about it. We still have a few things to finalise. We never expected it to be like Spa, but if we can find a way - even if it’s halfway of Spa - then I think we have a good chance."

Verstappen DutchGP Podium

And for Verstappen, there is the extra motivation of a first genuine chance to finally add a trip to F1's best podium to his resume.

“I like to stand on the podium everywhere, but also, this track has never been good to us," he explained.

“We just never really had the top speed. And of course, at some tracks, you can compensate a bit with a lower wing, but here, everyone drives low downforce, so you’re just stuck with it.

“Plus, this was always a track where we also had to take engine penalties and stuff. That’s why also I guess it never really helps to get to the podium.

“But I think this year we have a good chance. And if you look at our car around the whole season, we’ve always been quick on the straights, so hopefully, we can use that here.”