Hamilton Makes His Mark At Monza Captures Pole
Lewis Hamilton stamped his dominance at Monza comfortably securing pole position for the Italian Grand Prix.
Fellow title contender, Nico Rosberg, was nearly a half-second adrift from Hamilton and will start next to him on the grid.
Behind them is an all Ferrari lock-out of the second row with Sebastian Vettel in third – finishing 0.837 seconds off the pace – and Kimi Raikkonen in fourth.
Williams’ Vatteri Bottas secured fifth spot on the grid and the Red Bull’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen could only manage sixth and seventh places.
At a track rewarding raw pace, Mercedes was always going to be strong and the clear-frontrunner in the race.
That the Ferrari’s couldn’t get near Mercedes despite installing their last engine performance upgrade speaks volumes of their respective positions.
But the sheer gap between Hamilton and Rosberg through all three qualifying sessions was remarkable.
The reigning world champion consistently punched out strong laps and was never seriously pressured by his team-mate.
The eventual gap of 0.478 seconds is even more astonishing at a track with few corners and driven mostly at full throttle.
Hamilton now sits alongside Ayrton Senna and Juan Manuel Fangio with each having five poles at Monza.
“I feel incredibly proud and honoured to be up amongst Senna and Juan Manuel, incredible drivers,” said Hamilton.
“I never in a million years thought my name would be mentioned in the same sentence.”
FERRARI TROUBLES CONTINUE
Only a victory would be acceptable to Ferrari at their ‘home’ grand prix in front of passionate supporters.
But Ferrari President, Sergio Marchionne, landed a stark reality check before qualifying saying that “we failed the targets. I don’t think there’s a doubt in my mind.”
“It’s no use putting sweeteners on the stuff. The car isn’t there and I don’t think we developed it.”
And their day worsened during qualifying with the Prancing Horse being a long way off the pace set by Hamilton and Rosberg.
“I’m very happy for us to lock out the second row,” said Sebastian Vettel, “but I can’t be entirely happy because the gap is quite big.”
Elsewhere, Haas secured their first ever entry to Q3 and Esteban Gutierez will start from tenth in a great result for the new team.
And after turning in a superb Qualifying session in Spa, Manor’s Pacal Wehrlein proved it wasn’t luck with another impressive result. The German is ‘excited and confident’ heading in to the race and will start from 13th after Romain Grosjean takes a grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Starting behind Wehrlein will be Jenson Button who announced before qualifying that he will not race in Formula 1 in 2017 but will remain at McLaren as an ambassador and reserve driver. It opens the door for Stoffel Vandoorne to be promoted but with another two years running on his contract Button can still race for the team in 2018.
The Italian Grand Prix will start at 14:00 local time and will run over 53 laps.