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Formula 1 Italian GP

Ferrari: Monza F1 fight no less an "achievement" despite Red Bull approach

Ferrari says taking the fight to Red Bull in Formula 1's Italian Grand Prix was no less an "achievement" just because its rival steered clear of a Monza-specific wing package.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

While a number of outfits, including Ferrari, opted to bring bespoke aerodynamic designs for the high-speed Monza track, Red Bull went for a more low-key approach.

With its RB19 car already pretty good in terms of aero efficiency, it opted simply to trim its regular upper flap to shed a little bit of drag.

Despite that minimal effort to lift its top speed, Max Verstappen still qualified on the front row and ran away with the race to bring home a Red Bull 1-2 ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.

The contrasts in approach were not lost on Ferrari in terms of putting its own Monza performance in context, but it was clear that it still had every reason to be proud of having put up a valiant battle in qualifying and the race.

Asked if there was any worry that Red Bull had still been so quick despite not bringing a proper Monza package, Leclerc's performance coach Jock Clear said: "I don't think there's any alarm.

"I think, to be brutally honest with you, and not wishing to blow smoke up Red Bull's arse, but a car that strong and a driver that strong, we were over the moon to be ahead of him [in qualifying]. That is a real achievement.

"They are on song, that car works everywhere. And yeah, they may not have brought a specific wing package for here, but we very much appreciate the competition they present every race and to be ahead of them is fantastic."

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23,Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23,Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Erik Junius

Although Ferrari could not turn its pole position into a race victory, team boss Fred Vasseur believed that the Monza weekend overall was still its best of the season so far.

"It's the best because we had a strong pace over the weekend," he said. "It was also the best qualifying if you consider Baku, we were first and fourth, and we were first and third this weekend.

"It's the first time that we were able to fight with Red Bull. And even if the Red Bull pace was better than us, we were able to stay in the match for a good part of the race, so for sure it was the best weekend overall.

"I am also more than pleased with Carlos [Sainz] because I think he did a step forward. Not necessarily in the quali and the race, but I would say also into the preparation of the weekend and from lap one FP1 he was there. It's a good lesson also for the rest of the season."

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