Italian GP: Ferrari eager to end Monza F1 victory drought
Watch the Italian GP live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 05/09/19 7:01pm
Sebastian Vettel admits Monza is the place Ferrari must "overdeliver" as they bid to end their victory drought at their home grand prix.
The Scuderia's last Italian GP success in 2010, when Fernando Alonso won, means they have gone eight races without a home success - matching their longest winless run from 1980-1987.
But armed with F1 2019's quickest car in a straight line for the season's fastest circuit, on which cars average more than 160mph, Vettel is optimistic the winners of last week's Belgian GP are well prepared.
"We have been on the podium a couple of times, but not on the top step," said Vettel, who has finished second once and third twice at Monza since joining Ferrari four years ago.
"It's a big thing. It's the biggest race for us, no doubt. It's a big weekend. Yesterday we saw the passion [at an event in central Milan] that there is and I'm sure that we will see throughout the weekend. I'm sure it will give us a boost.
"Here's the time to overdeliver and it's a big weekend. Hopefully we can make it count this time. We have a good chance, so we'll see. We're ready."
But Vettel warned: "We are not the clear favourites. Obviously there are signs we aware of that put us in a good position, but I think we have to be carefully optimistic and realistic.
"One lap is one thing but then there are a lot of laps on Sunday. Plus, the weather - plus, plus, plus…"
Despite Ferrari enjoying a large qualifying advantage at Spa over Mercedes, Charles Leclerc still finished just one second ahead of Lewis Hamilton at the end of the race - while Vettel slipped behind both Silver Arrows to fourth.
"We have seen the trend that in qualifying we seem to have a bit of an edge on these types of tracks, whereas in the race everything moves very close together," added Vettel, who also said that Ferrari have "some facts and some answers" for his car's problems at Spa.
"They [Mercedes] were very quick last weekend so I expect the main challenge to be looking after the tyres and finding the right set-up and balance in the car to feel comfortable to extract the maximum. I guess it will be very tight."
Leclerc added: "Mercedes was very impressive with their race pace."
Leclerc 'more confident' after first win
At the circuit considered the home of the Tifosi, Leclerc arrives as a Ferrari driver for the first time fresh from securing his maiden Grand Prix win.
The 21-year-old, who had suffered several victory near-misses before last Sunday this year, and told Sky Sports F1: "There definitely a little bit more confidence. You feel now you can do it, which is good.
"The first win always feels really far away until you get it on track. So it feels great but on the other hand I need to stay calm and as focused as I was before because the season is not ending here and there are many, many more races and we need to perform very well for the rest of the season.
"So I'm very focused here for Monza."
Describing how it felt to be one of two Ferrari drivers at Monza, Leclerc said it "feels amazing" and that it was already "beyond what I ever imagined would happen to me".