Lewis Hamilton was in untouchable form as he secured pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, his fifth pole at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, finishing 0.478 seconds clear of team-mate Nico Rosberg.
It was another session of domination for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team, with Hamilton’s first run of 1:21.358 enough to take the pole, although he returned to the track to improve to a 1:21.135 and confirm his latest P1 effort in qualifying.
Both Mercedes drivers will also have the advantage on running the Soft Pirelli tyre for the first stint of the race, which is set to be the favoured tyre over the Supersoft that the other eight combatants in Q3 will be forced to start the race.
Hamilton however may have a slight disadvantage after a lock-up on his fastest run will leave him with a less-than-ideal flat spot on his right-front tyre, and after going on track again in Q2 with the aim of improving his time to try and prevent this set to be his starting set, was unable to get a faster time.
Sebastian Vettel was the best of the rest in the leading Scuderia Ferrari entry in front of their beloved Tifosi, but was 0.837 seconds shy of Hamilton’s time, but 0.093 seconds ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, despite running slightly wide at the Parabolica on his best lap.
Valtteri Bottas was the sole Williams Martini Racing entry to make it through to the top ten shootout, and secured fifth on the grid, ahead of Red Bull Racing duo Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
Red Bull had attempted to follow the lead of Mercedes by trying to get through into Q3 on the Soft Pirelli tyre, but after slow laps of 1:23.004 for Ricciardo and 1:23.096 for Verstappen meant they were forced to switch to the Supersoft after all for their second runs, meaning both will start on the Supersofts.
Both of the Sahara Force India’s made it through into the top ten, with Sergio Perez out-qualifying team-mate Nico Hülkenberg by just 0.022 seconds, while Esteban Gutierrez completed the top ten, with the Mexican becoming the first Haas F1 Team driver to take part in a Q3 session, although a mistake on his first flying lap perhaps cost him the opportunity of an even better qualifying result.
A flurry of late laps and a sluggish final lap saw Felipe Massa eliminated in Q2 in the second Williams, missing out by just 0.016 seconds to Hülkenberg, while Romain Grosjean was unable to follow team-mate Haas team-mate Gutierrez into the top ten in twelfth, although he will take a five-place grid penalty following a gearbox change that will relegate him to seventeenth.
Fernando Alonso admitted on Friday that it would be hard to make it through to Q3, and he was proved correct as the Spaniard was unable to better thirteenth for McLaren-Honda, while team-mate Jenson Button was fifteenth.
In between the McLaren’s was the ever-impressive Pascal Wehrlein, who for the second weekend running put his Manor Racing machine into Q2, and was less than four-tenths of a second from making it into Q3.
Completing the order in Q2 was the Scuderia Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr, who continued to struggle with the underpowered 2015 Ferrari engine, finishing more than half a second shy of the top ten.
Daniil Kvyat once again dropped out of qualifying at the first hurdle, although by just 0.042 seconds behind Alonso, with his deficit in the session to team-mate Sainz just 0.164 seconds in Q1.
Joining Kvyat on the sidelines early were both of the Sauber F1 Team drivers, Felipe Nasr ahead of Marcus Ericsson, and both Renault Sport F1 drivers, Jolyon Palmer ahead of Kevin Magnussen.
Esteban Ocon will start at the back of the field after failing to set a lap time during the session in the second Manor, which ground to a halt at the first chicane as he started his first flying lap with a repeat of the electrical issue that saw him stop on track in second practice on Friday.
Autodromo Nazionale Monza Qualifying Result
|POS||NO.||DRIVER||NAT||TEAM||Q1 TIME||Q2 TIME||Q3 TIME||LAPS|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:23.158||1:22.638||1:22.389||17|
|7||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:23.229||1:22.857||1:22.411||15|
|8||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1:23.439||1:22.922||1:22.814||15|
|9||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1:23.259||1:22.951||1:22.836||18|
|16||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:23.661||1:23.496||12|
|17||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:23.825||9|
|22||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Manor-Mercedes||No Time||2|