Lewis Hamilton’s extraordinary streak of pole positions continued in Monza as the championship leader dominated qualifying. The Briton never came under any serious pressure as he cruised to his eleventh pole of the 2015 season with Kimi Raikkonen springing a surprise to join him on the front row.
After a Friday where both Mercedes drivers appeared evenly matched, the pendulum swung towards Hamilton in FP3 when Nico Rosberg encountered problems with his power unit, forcing him to switch to the Spa-spec engine. Still armed with the updated powerplant, Hamilton went on to top the timesheets in all three sessions this afternoon with a 1:23.397 ultimately proving enough to secure pole.
The fight for second was much closer and Sebastian Vettel had the slightest of edges after the first runs, outpacing Raikkonen by seven thousandths of a second but the Finn turned the tables second time around, clocking a 1:23.631 to knock his teammate off the front row. The Tifosi were understandably thrilled though with Raikkonen and Vettel both edging out Rosberg who could only manage fourth.
The Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will start together on the third row with three more Mercedes powered machines hot on their heels. Sergio Perez is seventh for Force India with Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg close behind while Marcus Ericsson produced a standout performance to round out the top ten in his Sauber.
As predicted due to the deficiencies of their car, neither McLaren was able to break out of Q1 although Jenson Button did salvage something from his afternoon by outqualifying teammate Fernando Alonso, the pair ending the session in 16th and 17th.
The two Marussias of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were two tenths apart in 18th and 19th while Max Verstappen brought up the rear having failed to register a lap time. He did still have time though to litter the circuit with debris when his engine cover came loose, much to the embarrassment of Toro Rosso.
The Dutch rookie qualified 20th but the tail end of the grid is certain to receive an overhaul with both McLaren, Red Bull and Toro Rosso cars incurring grid penalties of varying severity.
2015 Gran Premio d’Italia: Qualifying Classification
|1||44. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:23.397||Q3|
|2||7. Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1:23.631||Q3|
|3||5. Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:23.685||Q3|
|4||6. Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||1:23.703||Q3|
|5||19. Felipe Massa||Williams Mercedes||1:23.940||Q3|
|6||77. Valtteri Bottas||Williams Mercedes||1:24.127||Q3|
|7||11. Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:24.626||Q3|
|8||8. Romain Grosjean||Lotus Mercedes||1:25.054||Q3|
|9||27. Nico Hulkenberg||Force India Mercedes||1:25.317||Q3|
|10||9. Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:26.214||Q3|
|11||13. Pastor Maldonado||Lotus Mercedes||1:24.525||Q2|
|12||12. Felipe Nasr||Sauber Ferrari||1:24.898||Q2|
|13||55. Carlos Sainz||STR Renault||1:25.618||Q2|
|14||26. Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing Renault||1:25.796||Q2|
|15||3. Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Renault||No Time||Q2|
|16||22. Jenson Button||McLaren Honda||1:26.058||Q1|
|17||14. Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||1:26.154||Q1|
|18||28. Will Stevens||Marussia Ferrari||1:27.731||Q1|
|19||98. Roberto Merhi||Marussia Ferrari||1:27.912||Q1|
|20||33. Max Verstappen||STR Renault||No Time||Q1|