Italian Grand Prix 2013 Qualifying: Red Bull Is in a Strong Position

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2013

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Mark Webber of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives during practice for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo di Monza on September 6, 2013 in Monza, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Coming to the platform with an even more aggressive approach than last season, Sebastian Vettel is on course to tie up another World Championship this year.

It’s hard to see past the German winning a fourth consecutive title after his victory last time out in Belgium. The star boasts a 46-point lead over his nearest competition, Fernando Alonso.

With Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix being the next item on the agenda for the Formula One field, Vettel and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber have gotten off to a promising start.

In Friday’s free practice sessions, Lewis Hamilton had the fastest lap in the morning group with a time of 1:25.565, followed by Vettel in fourth. Alonso and Nico Rosberg were sandwiched in between.

Ferrari tweeted this picture of just how things shaped up after the early practices:

However, Red Bull came back with their game faces on in the afternoon outing as Vettel was the only driver to achieve a time under 1:25 in the wetter conditions, followed in close second by Webber.

While the result is encouraging, what’s really important is Red Bull’s ability to experiment with tyre options and to run simulation runs yet still emerge on top.

This spells out good news for what’s bound to be a tough weekend on the Monza course as drivers prepare for the final European leg of the season.

It was around this stage last year that Vettel started to push through the gears, but Monza won’t bring back happy memories for the German. In Italy last season, the 26-year-old could only muster a finish of 22nd after having to retire in the closing stages.

One happy coincidence from that part of the campaign, however, is that Red Bull was notorious for bad practice sessions, which doesn’t appear to be the case now.

Although the conditions may yet kick up again in the coming days, the reigning world champions appear to be in good shape with both their cars and drivers for the closing stages of the European season.

Saturday’s last practice will be a testament as to how things might go in qualifying, but Vettel and Webber are already showing the potential for success at Monza.