Daniel Ricciardo says he expects Formula 1 drivers to be “sensible” and avoid a repeat of the qualifying blockade that occurred at Monza 12 months ago.
At last year’s Italian Grand Prix, most drivers failed to set a time at the end of Q3 as they all left the pits at the latest moment in order to avoid giving a rival driver a slipstream and to benefit from one themselves.
During F3’s qualifying session this time around, a number of drivers were impeded during their hot laps by drivers preparing to start their laps.
Ricciardo says he was “watching in rage” as he witnessed the F3 session unfold, but has backed his F1 colleagues to deploy more sense on Saturday.
“The bunching, everyone fighting for a tow, that’s where it could get messy,“ Ricciardo said. “I watched the F3 qualifying earlier and it was a mess.
“I think ten drivers should get penalties for that. I was just watching with some rage, it was a bit of a mess.
“I think we will be a bit more sensible, most of us go out on the same lap, so it’s really just trying to figure it out before the last corner, the timed lap should be OK.”
The FIA has introduced a minimum lap time for qualifying “to determine if a driver is considered to be driving unnecessarily slowly on an out lap or any warm up lap”.
Traffic was a problem for some drivers during Friday’s practice outings, however no impeding investigations were needed after the session.
While Ricciardo is optimistic that a messy situation will be avoided, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly expects it will be a tricky session to get a lap completed in clean air.
“It’s so tight here, especially with the tows and in qualifying it will be so important to get them right,” Gasly said.
“We saw how messy it already was only for FP2, nobody wanted to go first, so I guess tomorrow is going to be even worse.
“I think it’s going to be tricky, but for Sunday I am quite confident that we can have an exciting race again.”