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Hamilton takes record-breaking 69th F1 pole amid treacherous conditions at Monza

Lewis Hamilton took a record 69th career pole position for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix after a long delay due to torrential rain on a thorough...

Hamilton takes record-breaking 69th F1 pole amid treacherous conditions at Monza

Lewis Hamilton took a record 69th career pole position for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix after a long delay due to torrential rain on a thoroughly drenched Monza surface. Hamilton also broke the record for most poles at Monza with his fifth at the historic circuit and a Mercedes will start on the front row for the 150th time in F1.

Max Verstappen took second but he takes a 20-place grid penalty for a new turbocharger on top of his existing 15-place penalty. Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo (third) has been penalised 25 places, a further five-place drop from yesterday, for a new gearbox.

As a result, Lance Stroll will start on the front row for Williams having qualified fourth fastest with Esteban Ocon on the second row ahead of Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes-powered top four. Stroll will also become the youngest-ever F1 driver to start on the front row on Sunday.

Ferrari's torrid Q3 led Kimi Raikkonen to qualify seventh and Kimi Raikkonen eighth as the Tifosi left Monza disappointed on a soaked Saturday of F1, but Red Bull's grid penalties will also push them up the grid in what is expected to be a dry Sunday race.

Q1 was red flagged with 13 minutes remaining as Romain Grosjean spun at high speed on the pit straight having aquaplaned - he came to a stop on the inside of the first chicane.

"Not much to say: in a straight line, and next thing you know you're facing the wall at more than 300kph," said Grosjean.

"I just think the conditions weren't good enough for us to go out there.

"We shouldn't have gone out at all and I'm pretty straightforward on that," maintained the Haas racer.

Q1 resumed after a delay of two hours and 40 minutes but the rainfall showed no signs of ceasing.

Q1

Wets were duly equipped from the get-go as FP3 itself was washed out with Williams' Felipe Massa fastest. Only seven cars completed timed laps before FP3 was cancelled on Saturday morning.

With five minutes of Q1 left, drivers started to equip intermediates, Valtteri Bottas included. The Finn set a fastest Q1 time of 1m35.716 seconds to pip Mercedes team-mate Hamilton by 0.293s.

Sebastian Vettel finished third, behind Hamilton, and 1.482s off the pace while Red Bull's Verstappen finished fourth.

Williams' Stroll ended Q1 fifth fastest with a time of 1m37.653s ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Kevin Magnussen was eliminated by seven tenths in 16th place, behind Carlos Sainz Jr. This marked the ninth time Haas has lost a car in Q1 in 2017.

Also eliminated were Jolyon Palmer, both Saubers and Haas counterpart Grosjean who spun nearly three hours earlier.

Neither Sauber has progressed from Q1 since the Azerbaijan GP and Palmer has failed to outqualify his team-mate so far this season.

Q2

Hamilton went quickest with seven minutes remaining having set a time of 1m36.009s as the intermediates took a number of laps to heat up and grip the surface.

He then improved to a time of 1m34.660s on his final flying lap to consolidate his position at the top of Q2, 0.736s ahead of Bottas.

Max Verstappen was uneasy on intermediates but he overtook Vettel to finish third. Williams rookie Stroll produced another astonishing lap to finish fifth again ahead of Ferrari's Raikkonen.

McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne finished ninth fastest at the expense of Sergio Perez, who finished 11th, just 0.002s behind team-mate Ocon who narrowly made it into Q3.

Along with Perez, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, McLaren's Alonso and both Toro Rossos were eliminated. The Renault duo and Sainz receive significant grid penalties for the race.

Hulkenberg has a 10-place grid drop for a new MGU-H and Palmer has 15-place drop. Alonso (35 places) and Sainz (10 places) also get pushed down the grid for Sunday's race.

Q3

The rain picked up again at the end of Q2 and wets were equipped by all for the final qualifying session, led briefly by the Red Bulls which were eventually eclipsed by a determined Hamilton.

Verstappen found a pocket of clear air to produce a lap of 1m36.702s but Hamilton denied him pole position (and the accolade of youngest polesitter at Monza) having set a time of 1m35.554s on his final flying lap.

Ricciardo took third, seven tenths behind his team-mate but grid penalties push both towards the rear of the grid.

William's Stroll continued his pace to finish fourth, 1.478s off the top spot but ahead of fifth-place Ocon; both youngsters staged a coup as adverse conditions seriously tested the veterans around them.

The Ferraris looked a handful for Vettel and Raikkonen as both wrestled their cars around the circuit only for Vettel to finish eighth behind team-mate Raikkonen.

Felipe Massa finished ninth, 1.219s behind team-mate Stroll while McLaren's Vandoorne rounded out the top 10.

Since 2000, pole position at Monza has been more statistically significant than at Monaco as 13 of the last 17 Italian GP winners have come from pole, compared to 10 at Monaco.

Hamilton will be looking to become the first back-to-back winner of the season come Sunday's race.

Have your say on qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix in the comment section below.

Starting grid:

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR

TIME

GAP

1

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

1m35.554s

-

2

Lance Stroll

Williams

1m37.032s

1.478s

3

Esteban Ocon

Force India

1m37.719s

2.165s

4

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

1m37.833s

2.279s

5

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

1m37.987s

2.433s

6

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

1m38.064s

2.510s

7

Felipe Massa

Williams

1m38.251s

2.697s

8

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren

1m39.157s

3.603s

9

Sergio Perez

Force India

1m37.582s

2.028s

10

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso

1m38.245s

2.691s

11

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

1m40.489s

4.935s

12

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

1m41.732s

6.178s

13

Pascal Wehrlein

Sauber

1m41.875s

6.321s

14

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

1m36.702s

1.148s

15

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

1m38.059s

2.505s

16

Carlos Sainz Jr

Toro Rosso

1m38.526s

2.972s

17

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

1m36.841s

1.287s

18

Jolyon Palmer

Renault

1m40.646s

5.092s

19

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

1m38.202s

2.648s

20

Romain Grosjean

Haas

1m43.355s

7.801s

 
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