Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the qualifying session for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix, with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg coming second and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel qualifying third at the Monza racetrack. Photo: Antonio CalanniFor all the intrigue about Ferrari’s lack of success this season, fans of the Scuderia can cheer all they like but probably still expect to watch a couple of Mercedes finish one-two at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ensured it was situation normal in formula one when they qualified first and second at Monza, but the Ferrari’s finally had something to cheer about with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen filling the second row.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo will start from sixth, alongside fifth-placed Valtteri Bottas in a Williams. In the other Red Bull Max Verstappen was seventh followed by the Force India cars.
After qualifying Ricciardo said that it was close between the Red Bull and the Williams, and joked that was why he’d downsized his pizza intake for the weekend.
“I only had one [pizza] last night not one and a half, normally when I come here I have two a night,” he said on Skysports. “So I’m not going to blame the pizza, I would say that if I had my usual serving I might even be behind Max, but yeah, it’s pretty close between us three.
Ricciardo said there was not much Red Bull could do to keep pace with the faster cars on the fastest circuit in formula one.
“I don’t think we’ll do more than two stops tomorrow … we might need to rely on a bit of strategy, but with some DRS I think we can still pull off a move [on Williams],” he said.
“We are pretty strong on the brakes normally and I think that they are so quick on the straight we might be able to find a way past them.”
Hamilton was fastest in a time of one minute 21.135 seconds, improving his time on the final flying laps, while Rosberg could go no better than his first run, finishing .478 behind his teammate.
However, the world champion will begin the race with a tyre issue, having flat-spotted his starting tyre in Q2 and will likely need to apply to race officials to replace it with a tyre of similar age.
The last six Grands Prix at Monza have been won by the pole sitter and Hamilton’s dominating performance saw him match the record of five career pole positions at the Italian Grand Prix, joining racing legend’s Ayrton Senna and Juan Manuel Fangio.
“Obviously very happy today, I was only made aware of that record at the start of this weekend, so that was at the back of my mind hoping that it wouldn’t steer me off course,” Hamilton said.
“Yeah I feel incredibly proud and honoured to be up amongst Senna and Juan Manuel, I mean incredible drivers and I never in a million years thought my name would be mentioned in the same sentence as theirs, so I’m very proud of that.”
“It’s such a great track and has got such a great crowd … but what this team has achieved, race by race I continue to say, it is just phenomenal and I am so fortunate to be driving for this team and to be representing them and to drive a car as it was today I got it right in the sweet spot and was able to do an exceptional time with it.”
For his part Rosberg was brief, offering this reason for being so far behind his teammate: “I think the explanation is that he did some good laps and that’s it because I had a decent weekend up to now and got some good laps today, but just not quick enough.”
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