We are equally excited to see Formula 1 race for the first time at Mugello, an occasion that will mark Ferrari's 1,000th Grand Prix. "The auto is in a good window, we've still got a bit of work to do but we're there and we can fight - that's the main thing".
Mercedes suspects that the gearbox problems will not be such an issue at tracks that don't require such aggression with the kerbs, like the Red Bull Ring, but this weekend's repeat race means it has work to do.
Praising the hard work of his team for delivering a quicker auto, Verstappen said: "It already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer to drive and we have made a good step".
Neither Honda power unit on either vehicle was found to be damaged and Verstappen and Albon will use the same engines again for this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix. "The direction we took seems to be the right one". We know where the auto is at, driving and set-up wise, we know what's needed, so there are less unknowns and now it's just time to do the business.
As the Formula 1 season got under way last weekend in Austria, Valtteri Bottas again punished those who refuse to acknowledge the Mercedes number two as genuine World Drivers' Championship material, as the quiet but increasingly metronomic Finn picked up the opening win of the campaign.
Sunday will be the first time one circuit has hosted two Formula One world championship races in the same season.
But Verstappen could have already sealed pole position for the race if qualifying becomes a wash-out on Saturday and cannot take place on Sunday morning either, with torrential rain forecast over the next 24 hours.
"It will suck if we don't get to qualify, because it wasn't great, I'll be starting further back than even last week, so it will definitely make it challenging", he said.
"Some people anticipated maybe rain tomorrow, and just prepared in case this is the qualifying for Sunday".
By contrast, team-mate Alex Albon struggled, ending the day seventh after twice spinning in FP2, notably late on when he slid across the gravel.
"So if we find a way around of protecting the auto next weekend, we should be fine".
Having won twice, in 2018 and 2019, on his team's home track, Verstappen looked to have recovered his best form after an electrical failure forced him to retire last weekend.