Hamilton Claims Italian Pole

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Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza. No surprise that the current world champion looked impressive and on form but he admitted that he was more competitive than McLaren had initially thought they would be heading in to this weekend at the world’s fastest race circuit.

Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari qualified 3rd for the race with Force India’s Adrian Sutil sandwiched between the KERS equipped cars of both Hamilton and Raikkonen. There is no question that a low-down force circuit with minimal drag has been the shining setup for Force India and to some point McLaren as well. Force India shares the Mercedes power and strategic engineering consultancy of a resurgent McLaren and the results speak for themselves. The question is; will Sutil be lucky to find himself 5th after the first chicane?

With declared car weights, you can start to see an interesting tale. Red Bull banking on long runs limiting their qualifying pace and perhaps the more dangerous assault on a potential win could be offered by Kimi Raikkonen or the Brawn GP cars of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button. The challenge for Brawn is staying out of turn one incident and staying close to the front runners that will be using KERS.

Number Car Driver Weight [kg]

01 McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 653.5
02 McLaren Mercedes Heikki Kovalainen 683.0
03 Ferrari Giancarlo Fisichella 690.0*
04 Ferrari Kimi Räikkönen 662.0
05 BMW Sauber Robert Kubica 697.5*
06 BMW Sauber Nick Heidfeld 697.5*
07 Renault Fernando Alonso 677.5
08 Renault Romain Grosjean 699.8*
09 Toyota Jarno Trulli 703.0*
10 Toyota Timo Glock 709.8*
11 STR Ferrari Jaime Alguersuari 706.0*
12 STR Ferrari Sébastien Buemi 706.0*
14 RBR Renault Mark Webber 683.0
15 RBR Renault Sebastian Vettel 682.0
16 Williams Toyota Nico Rosberg 708.6*
17 Williams Toyota Kazuki Nakajima 706.2*
20 Force India Mercedes Adrian Sutil 655.0
21 Force India Mercedes Vitantonio Liuzzi 679.5
22 Brawn Mercedes Jenson Button 687.0
23 Brawn Mercedes Rubens Barrichello 688.5

The unfortunate story of the qualifying has to be the retirement of both BMW’s of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld. BMW looked competitive this weekend and with two engine failures that hobbled what looked to be a good weekend for Nick Heidfeld who was on pace Friday and through Q1.

Is it a good sign to See Ferrari’s stand-in driver Giancarlo Fisichella place 14th for the race? As with Luca Badoer, pundits expected more but like Badoer, Fisichella has to learn a lot about this new car and no in-season testing ruins any chance that a third driver or substitute could actually get in a car this year and put on a good show. Fisichella’s former teammate qualified 2nd and although he says moving to Ferrari was the right move, an I am inclined to believe him, it remains factual that he may have done better had he stayed where he was. Time will tell but for his future in F1, moving to Ferrari was most likely the right move.

The grid will look like this for the start of tomorrow’s race:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:23.375 1:22.973 1:24.066
2. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:23.576 1:23.070 1:24.261
3. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:23.349 1:23.426 1:24.523
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:23.515 1:23.528 1:24.845
5. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:23.483 1:22.976 1:25.015
6. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:23.403 1:22.955 1:25.030
7. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:23.578 1:23.207 1:25.043
8. Alonso Renault (B) 1:23.708 1:23.497 1:25.072
9. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:23.558 1:23.545 1:25.180
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:23.755 1:23.273 1:25.314
11. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:24.014 1:23.611
12. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:23.975 1:23.728
13. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:24.001 1:23.866
14. Fisichella Ferrari (B) 1:23.828 1:23.901
15. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:23.584 1:24.275
16. Glock Toyota (B) 1:24.036
17. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:24.074
18. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:24.121
19. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:24.220
20. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:24.951

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