Sebastian Vettel believes that McLaren is the team to beat this weekend, despite the World Champion setting the fastest time in second practice for the Italian Grand Prix on Friday.
Vettel's time of 1m24.010s was 0.15sec slower than Lewis Hamilton's best from the morning session, and the German admitted he thought that McLaren had the edge in pace after Friday's running, perhaps due to the higher downforce Monza-spec rear wings the team was using compared to its rivals.
"The car feels good and it looks like McLaren is the one to beat," said Vettel. "Obviously, everyone's [rear wing] is more or less the same except McLaren's, but we'll have to take a deeper look and see how quick they are and then make a decision."
Vettel admitted he had been happy with the competitiveness of the RB7 on a track he expected would be more difficult for Red Bull to be dominant on.
"It was an interesting day on a track that usually doesn't suit us, but today I think we were pretty happy with the car," he said. "It's difficult to judge because Friday is always a bit of a mess here with traffic. The raw lap time you see at the end of the day on a piece of paper. But the car felt good and we have had no problems, so I am quite satisfied."
Teammate Mark Webber agreed. "A lot of information to go through – obviously downforce levels, gear ratios, it's a pretty tricky venue in that regard," said the Australian. "The two compounds are behaving pretty well at the moment, we did most of our work in the more important session (P2) on the option, so yeah, pretty good day.
Both drivers reported that they had not encountered anywhere near the blistering on its option tires that the team suffered in Spa, but Webber admitted he had been forced to compromise on setup to accommodate the new camber limit.
"The tires look pretty happy around here," he said. "It's not a normal Pirelli situation I would say. It's still hurting a bit but not as much as normal. We will see on Sunday."
Asked if he'd had to compromise on the camber limit, Webber replied: "Yeah. You always have to readjust other things but it's not night and day. Seb and I ran different programs today, so we will put all the information together tonight and go from there."