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Italian Grand Prix Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton claims seventh pole in succession

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Italian Grand Prix Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton claims seventh pole in succession
Sep 5, 2015, 2:22 PM

Lewis Hamilton claimed his seventh Formula 1 pole position in succession as he beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to the top spot in qualifying for th...

Lewis Hamilton claimed his seventh Formula 1 pole position in succession as he beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to the top spot in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s title rival and Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, could only finish in fourth place, behind the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Before qualifying began, Rosberg had been forced to switch back to the old specification of Mercedes engine after the team had detected a fault with the new upgraded power unit he had been running in FP3.

In the final top-ten shootout, Hamilton set his quickest time on his first run, although his second lap would also have been good enough to take pole. Behind the Briton, Raikkonen usurped Vettel for second place with his final run of the session.

Lewis Hamilton

After securing the 49th pole position of his career, Hamilton said: “[Ferrari] did a great job and they’re very close, so it’s nice to see that we have a good fight. But today and all weekend the car has been feeling good.

“I’m really happy, I don’t really know what to say – my Spa lap was better.”

Raikkonen said: “I think we probably surprised ourselves a little bit. We expected [a] strong weekend but we knew that this place is not our strongest.

“In the end the car turned out to be pretty good in qualifying conditions. It’s been a while so it’s nice to be here, especially [as it’s] a home race for us. It’s probably the best qualifying of the year for us as a team.”

Top three Monza

Felipe Massa beat his Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas to fifth on the grid, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean. Nico Hulkenberg will start in ninth place after his Force India car ground to a halt at the pitlane entry, which meant the German driver could only complete one run in Q3.

Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top ten in his Sauber, but the Swedish driver was investigated by the steward after qualifying and was found to have impeded Hulkenberg in Q1. He will drop three places on the grid as a result.

Marcus Ericsson

Pastor Maldonado missed out on making it through to Q3 by just 0.01s and will start the race in 11th place in the second Lotus, ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, who suffered a huge lock up at the second chicane on his final lap.

Carlos Sainz finished the session in 13th place, ahead of the two Red Bull cars of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo – although the Australian driver didn’t set a time in Q2. Due to the engine changes Red Bull and Toro Rosso opted to make ahead of qualifying, Sainz will lose 30 places on the grid, with losing Kvyat 45 and Ricciardo 50, which means they will line up last tomorrow.

Jenson Button beat his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso to 16th place by one tenth of a second, but both were eliminated in Q1, alongside the Manor drivers of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi. Although Button and Alonso finished 16th and 17th, they will both drop behind the Manor cars thanks to more engine change grid penalties – Button will drop five places and Alonso ten.

Jenson Button

Speaking after the session, Button said: “I’m higher up than I thought I would be, I thought our highest place would be 17th but Verstappen didn’t go out. We’re two tenths closer to Q2 and that’s closer than I expected.

“Tomorrow is going to be a really hard race, but we’ve just got to learn and look forward to the next race. We should be better in Singapore and we can hopefully pay back the fans who’ve supported us.”

Max Verstappen joined the McLaren and Manor drivers in exiting qualifying in Q1, as the Dutchman didn’t set a time. However, after the Toro Rosso team put in a big effort to change Verstappen’s engine before the session, he was able to go out in the dying seconds of Q1. But as he accelerated through Curva Grande the engine cover blew off his car, showering the track in debris and he was forced to crawl back to the pits with his Renault engine on full display.

Max Verstappen

Verstappen said of the incident: “The team did a good job in getting the engine back in and getting me out. We were really on the time limit and some bits were maybe not really 100 per cent tight.

“I saw it coming off and I reported it to the team immediately and slowed down. It will be a hard race [tomorrow] but I think our race pace is not too bad; we’ll fight with the McLarens and maybe the Red Bulls, too.”

Verstappen’s engine change means he drops ten places on the grid, but he will line-up ahead of Sainz, Kvyat and Ricciardo.

Qualifying Results:

Pos

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.397s

2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +0.234s

3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.288s

4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +0.306s

5 Felipe Massa Williams +0.543s

6 Valtteri Bottas Williams +0.730s

7 Sergio Perez Force India +1.229s

8 Romain Grosjean Lotus +1.657s

9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India +1.920s

10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber +2.817s *Has grid penalty

11 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1.128s

12 Felipe Nasr Sauber +1.501s

13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso +2.221s *Has grid penalty

14 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull +2.399s *Has grid penalty

15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull - *Has grid penalty

16 Jenson Button McLaren +2.661s *Has grid penalty

17 Fernando Alonso McLaren +2.757s *Has grid penalty

18 Will Stevens Marussia +4.334s

19 Roberto Merhi Marussia +4.515s

20 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso - *Has grid penalty

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Italian GP: Post-qualifying press conference

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