Hamilton Leads Rosberg With Mercedes Power The Factor In Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton got the trouble-free qualifying session dry conditions that he had hoped for to end qualifying at Monza in pole position. His laptime of 1:24.109 was more than enough to fend off his team-mate Nico Rosberg for his first pole position for four months and give Hamilton a strong shot at cutting the 29-point deficit to Rosberg in the driver’s championship.  Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will start the Italian Grand Prix from third and fourth place, respectively. At a track renowned for pure speed, the leading six drivers on the grid have a Mercedes engine powering them, a display of how dominant the Mercedes engines have been this year.

With this pole, Hamilton took the 36th pole position since he began his F1 career in 2007. It is his fifth pole of the season and his first since the Spanish Grand Prix in May, which he went on to win from the head of the grid. Finishing as quickest in all but one of the sessions so far this weekend, he has been the form man in Italy as he has topped two of three practice sessions and all three segments of qualifying – including the pole-deciding Q3.

It was with great relief that the British driver spoke in the post-qualifying press conference and paid tribute to his Mercedes pit crew for the work they have done over the weekend.

“I feel excited for tomorrow. I’m very proud of my guys. My guys on the side of the garage have also been through the difficult time with me and they’ve done a remarkable job in terms of every time bouncing back and fixing the car and dealing with the difficulties so we’ve done this as a team and it’s great to have another one-two for the team and I’m really proud that I can be up there for them.”

Some fans showed their feelings towards Rosberg

Some fans showed their feelings towards Rosberg

Nico Rosberg had to settle for second at a weekend which has not been smooth sailing for the championship-leading German. He was out-paced by Hamilton during Friday’s two practice sessions and did not get a lap done in the third and final practice session before qualifying due to an electronics issue. Nevertheless, he was hopeful of a good result in the race, both for himself and the team.

“It was an OK lap, so from that point of view second place is still a good position for tomorrow. It’s a long race you know, everything can happen and so just need to now work towards the race and try to get a good start and have a good race. Anyways, also, I mean, definitely the team again. It’s so great. Even on a track like Monza, where it’s such a different track to all the others and even coming here, still we’re so dominant and that’s great to see. Of course it’s only qualifying and the race remains to be seen but it’s really awesome. The team is doing a fantastic job.”

Bottas has driven well this year

Bottas has driven well this year

Valtteri Bottas beat his team-mate Felipe Massa this season as has been the standard Saturday setting. Bottas said after qualifying that he hoped his Williams team could put up a fight to the Mercedes drivers in the race, as they had showed strong and consistent laptimes during Friday’s practice sessions.

“I really hope so. From Friday to today they seem to have a bit more pace. In qualifying we expected that maybe we could be a little bit closer to them today but yeah, I really hope so. I think we have solid race pace and it just depends how much more pace they have left than on Friday.”

 

One man who was very happy with his qualifying performance was Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Alonso remarked that he had done all he could to put his Ferrari into seventh position, the highest-placed non-Mercedes powered car on the grid.

Alonso gave his all in front of the Italian fans - who always dream of a Ferrari win

Alonso gave his all in front of the Italian fans – who always dream of a Ferrari win

“I was completely on the limit today,” said Alonso, who outqualified team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for the 11th time in 13 races.

“I could put 100 sets of tyres on and I would do identical laptimes. It was absolutely the maximum.

“It was positive for me because I see two Mercedes, two Williams, two McLarens, one Ferrari, two Red Bulls [in grid order].

“Personally I think I extracted the maximum.”

Jenson Button was pleasantly surprised to qualify sixth, one position behind his McLAren team-mate Kevin Magnussen, but said that his quickest lap could have been better.

“It’s been pretty good all weekend actually, in terms of balance. But the middle sector wasn’t very clean through the Lesmos so I lost a bit of time there.

“But still, we’re quite far up – probably better than what we expected so it’s not too bad.”

Italian GP Grid

* -Ten-place grid penalty

** – Starts from pit-lane

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.109s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.383s 0.274s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m24.697s 0.588s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m24.865s 0.756s
5 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1m25.314s 1.205s
6 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1m25.379s 1.270s
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.430s 1.321s
8 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 1m25.436s 1.327s
9 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m25.709s 1.600s
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m25.944s 1.835s
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m26.110s
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 1m26.157s
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m26.279s
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1m26.588s
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1m26.692s
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1m27.520s
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1m27.632s
18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham/Renault 1m27.671s
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia/Ferrari 1m27.738s
20 Max Chilton Marussia/Ferrari 1m28.247s
21 Daniil Kvyat* Toro Rosso/Renault 1m26.070s
22 Marcus Ericsson** Caterham/Renault 1m28.562s
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