Hamilton takes pole record for Italian Grand Prix

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Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

The sunny weather on Friday’s practice sessions gave way to a rainy Saturday and as qualifying began, the rain and spray were not good with the conditions getting worse.

Regardless, qualifying for Q1 began and the drivers were having to put in the best lap they could get in very poor conditions in case a red flag or canceled session might happen. As it was, Romain was one of only seven cars that set a hot lap prior to the red flag and slotted in third behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

The other challenge is that the teams and drivers have had no running time on the full wet tires from Pirelli except for the brief runs in FP3 just ahead of qualifying. No running means that the teams aren’t completely confident of how the tires will react on their cars.

The session was delayed but eventually restarted in changing conditions.

Q1

With 13 minutes left in Q1, Romain Grosjean spun, hit the wall and brought out the red flag. The Frenchman was not happy as he had just be radioing his team that he couldn’t see and he couldn’t stop the car. He was adamant that the conditions were not safe enough.

After a long delay, the session got under way with 13 minutes left and the track was improving with each lap but still seriously slick. A dry line started to form and teams began speculating on intermediate rain tires.

With 5:45 left, Ferrari’s Vettel switched to inters to make a run and the other teams followed suit. Vettel was setting personal best sector times but not purple sectors on the inters. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen radioed that it was still slippery on the inters and it seemed that the teams may have been slightly premature on the crossover.

Q2

It was a bit of a gamble to start on inters or full wets and in the beginning stages of Q2, both compounds were setting quick times. It was certainly on the edge of the cross over period but ultimately the Mercedes of Hamilton and the Ferrari of Vettel were on inters setting the quickest times.

The dry lines were forming and the track was improving lap by lap but that could go at any minute as the rain was lingering over Monza.

Q3

As the Q3 session started, the rain had begun to fall in between Q2 and Q3 leaving some teams to go back to full wet tires and some teams remaining on inters.

The Red Bulls started on full wet tires and Mercedes quickly changed to full wets as the two teams delivered traded fastest laps. Surprisingly, the Ferrari’s were also on full wets and not setting as competitive of times. Ferrari left it too late for the switch to full wets.

The rain didn’t let up and the track worsened leaving Vettel on the back foot to try and get pole or least mitigate the damage and get amongst the leaders. Meanwhile, the outstanding laps from Esteban Ocon and Williams F1’s Lance Stroll were terrific performances. Lance Stroll is the youngest to sit on the front row.

The two Red Bulls looked set to spoil Lewis Hamilton’s bid to break the pole record at 69 but in the end, Lewis dug deep and found the pace to take the pole and record. When it counted, Lewis delivered and put together a monumental effort to take pole which could pay huge dividends this weekend in the championship title battle.

PosDriverCarTimeGap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m35.554s
2Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes1m37.032s1.478s
3Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes1m37.719s2.165s
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1m37.833s2.279s
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m37.987s2.433s
6Sebastian VettelFerrari1m38.064s2.510s
7Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m38.251s2.697s
8Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Honda1m39.157s3.603s
9Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m37.582s2.028s
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Renault1m38.245s2.691s
11Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari1m40.489s4.935s
12Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m41.732s6.178s
13Pascal WehrleinSauber/Ferrari1m41.875s6.321s
14Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1m36.702s1.148s
15Nico HulkenbergRenault1m38.059s2.505s
16Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault1m38.526s2.972s
17Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m36.841s1.287s
18Jolyon PalmerRenault1m40.646s5.092s
19Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1m38.202s2.648s
20Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m43.355s7.801s
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subcritical71

Thanks for the starting grid, I couldn’t find it posted anywhere (only the qualifying results were being reported). It will be interesting to see how the two rookies handle being so far up the grid.

subcritical71

I know this is a dead horse topic but this weekend seems to be the most extreme penalty situation that we’ve seen in a while. As most will concede the penalty points are a disaster! It’s being reported that Vandorne will now receive a 25 place grid penalty. Looking at the table above you have no idea where that will slot him in. Maybe the virtual position needs to be added. So if someone qualifies first and has a 45 place grid penalty his virtual position would be 46th vs say the 20th he may be physically starting in. This… Read more »

jakobusvdl

They way these penalties are working out this season, it really is a step too far.
If you could come up with a graphic that shows in a simple way how they are applied I’m sure the F1 world would beat a path to your door, and universities would be offering an honorary PhD!
Looking at the grid run down this afternoon was mind boggling, a driver with 35 grid place penalties is ahead a drivers with a 10 grid place penalty on a 20 car grid? WTH????

Mark Leel

Great record breaking pole by Lewis. Good Job from Redbull. Fantastic job by Stroll & Ocon. Ocon will be a future champion.
Most importantly what happened to Ferrari?

subcritical71

Ferrari seemed to fade in Q3… very strange. I don’t see how they would have a ‘dry’ setup as some were speculating as they were within striking distance in Q1 and Q2, something just didn’t work in Q3.
I’m also glad to see the new talent shine. Maybe with some distance to Perez, Ocon will be able to get a good finish!

Samouri

A magnificent performance from Lewis in such treacherous conditions today, which clearly shown he is the dominating force when the rain drops start to fall.

No question that Ocon is the real deal, and a force to be reckoned with.

Andrea_Rae

It will be fun watching the Red Bulls make their way thru the crowd.

jakobusvdl

The Headline understates the most unpredictable qualifying session for years. After Grosjean’s spin stopped Q1, it was a very long wait for it to be completed, but well worth hanging around for. Hamiltons pole by 1.1 sec was remarkable enough, but the performances of Verstappen, Ricciardo, Stroll, Ocon and Perez in those conditions were really impressive. All qualifying ahead of the two Ferrari and the second Mercedes. The race should now be really interesting, with poor qualifying and grid penalties meaning faster cars are out of position, a predicted dry race and Monza being a track where its difficult to… Read more »

subcritical71

With the fresh faces in the front what are the odds that Hamilton needs to take to the runoff road at lap 1 turn 1?

I was wondering the same thing during qualy on Grosjean’s car. It didn’t look that badly damaged. The wheels were obviously bent but the suspension didn’t look obviously tweaked from the view I saw. It was a red flag situation but I believe cars could have been worked on.

jakobusvdl

Here you go – found a reference to it on line;
‘Any driver whose car stops on the circuit during the qualifying session will not be permitted to take any further part in the session.’
https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/inside-f1/rules-regs/Practice_qualifying_and_race_start_procedure.html
So he was excluded because he stopped on track, seems harsh in the circumstances, but as they say “rules is rules”.