Mercedes have been dominating the sport for a couple of years now, so the new upgrade was probably the last thing their rivals wanted to see. The practice and qualifying sessions have shown that the upgrade has had a positive result and that’s potentially bad news for anyone who wants to see more competition up front.
After dominant performances in practice, Lewis Hamilton took pole for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. That’s his seventh straight pole and 23 in a row for Mercedes, another pole by the team in the next race will equal the individual and team records.
However, it wasn’t to be a 1-2 for Mercedes because Ferrari were in great form too on home territory. They certainly put a big smile on the face of their legion of supporters. Kimi Raikonnen finished second and Sebastian Vettel in third with Nico Rosberg in fourth.
Hamilton was delighted with his day’s work and said afterwards “I’m very happy. The guys have done a great job with the car and we have improved reliability really well.” Even more delighted though were the Ferrari drivers. Raikkonen, who secured his first front row start since 2013 commented: “We expected a strong weekend, knew this place is not our strongest and the car turned out to be pretty good. Nice to be here, it’s a home race for us. This was our best qualifying performance this year as a team and I will try and have another go to get a good result tomorrow.”
Sebastian Vettel was also in a great mood after qualifying third but accepts that Ferrari faces an almighty battle on Sunday. “We have finished second and third and we are close to Lewis and that will give us confidence for tomorrow. I hope we both finish ahead of him, which would be a dream come true. But the Mercedes have serious pace which we have found out many times this year and we will have to fight and do all we can.”
The big worrier overnight though is likely to be Nico Rosberg. It’s become almost a tradition in recent years that whoever starts on pole at Monza wins the race. Rosberg is already 28 points behind Hamilton and a bad result here if he can’t get ahead of the two Ferrari’s who’ll start ahead of him, will really damage his title hopes.
Italian Grand Prix Fact file
- The first Italian Grand Prix held at Monza was in 1923.
- Lewis Hamilton has won two of the last three races
- Nico Rosberg has yet to win the Italian Grand Prix
- Ferrari have won the race 19 times but their last win was in 2010 when Fernando Alonso was the winner.
- The last five races have been won by the driver starting on pole
- Sebastian Vettel has won the Italian Grand Prix on three occasions. A win this year would put him level with Nelson Piquet on four wins.
- Michael Schumacher has won the race more times than any other driver with five wins between 1996 and 2006.
- After Schumacher won the race in 2006 he announced his retirement at the end of the season