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GP Week : Issue 209
QUALIFYING from second place is still a very good position to win here at Monza. I will need a good start and good race pace, but I'm quite confident to get it all right tomorrow.” Any thoughts that Williams might snag a front row here were soon dispelled – Valtteri Bottas a good three-tenths away, a couple of tenths up on his tem-mate – nevertheless a strong result for Didcot. A lot would depend on the start “I am really happy with the qualifying lap and the car is set-up for the race so I am confident we can push the Mercedes, it's just a question of how much can we push them. If we have a great start it could open a lot of opportunities, and the pitstop lap could be critical depending on our strategy.” The McLarens were next, albeit with a half second gap in between them and the Williamses: "I'm a little surprised at how quick the Williams cars have been,” confessed Jenson Button.”We didn't expect them tobethatfarinfrontofus–but we're the third-best team on single-lap pace, which is nice. I think things will be a bit more competitive in the race.” Best non-Merc, Fernando, was his usual up-front self: "We knew that, as usual in qualifying, it would be tough and that the encouraging signs we saw in free practice should not create false expectations. Unfortunately today, we could not have done better, because even though I was trying my hardest, we set very similar times with all four sets of tyres. “Now, we must look ahead to the race, which will be a tough one and, given how small the gaps are, it could also be very interesting. Usually here, at the first chicane, there's a lot of action and you need to be very careful if you want to be in the game. On top of that, it will be very important to manage the tyre degradation, given that the best strategy would seem to be a one-stop.” How strange it is to see the Red Bulls clinging to a top 10 spot, but that’s the way it was, and it was expected ... almost ... Daniel Ricciardo summed up the situation: ”Even though we expected a tricky qualifying, I’m still disappointed. Ninth is not something to get really excited about. Seb’s in front, but he’s only in eighth as well and as a team we would have loved to have been a bit closer to the top five. We knew we wouldn’t challenge for the front two rows, but we thought that maybe sixth could be possible. “Fingers crossed we’ve got better race pace tomorrow and we’ll try and do something with that.” Indeed. Always optimistic, but here at Monza ..... naaaargh. Among the rest, things were basixcally normal, although you had to feel for Danii Kvyat. The Russian was a strong 11th, but he'd,literally, run out of allocated engines and would have to drop 10 grid spots as a result. Gris 21 ... frustrating. But he won't be the last as this first season of 1.6 litre turbocars winds to its conclusion. 2014 FORMULA 1TM GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 53 LAPS ROUND 13/19 << Last Race – Belgium Two Weeks Ago 1 Next Race – Singapore >> Two Weeks’ Time 2014 FORMULA 1TM GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – Leading the first 1-2-3-4-5-6 on the grid by a single engine manufacturer since Ford did so at the 1980 Argentine GP, Lewis Hamilton is on pole for the first time since Spain, 8 races ago. He is looking to become the 12th polesitter to win at Monza in the last 15 runnings of the race here. Alongside him and making up the 6th Mercedes front row lockout of 2014 is Nico Rosberg, who had never previously qualified in the top-4 here. 2 – Williams did not have a top-10 start in Italy since 2010, but Valtteri Bottas is in the top-3 on the grid for the 4th time in the last 6 races, while Felipe Massa has kept up his streak of qualifying in the top-6 at every Italian GP since 2005. The speed trap figures between Rosberg and Bottas, and then Massa and Hamilton, are almost identical. 3 – Kevin Magnussen has now outqualified Jenson Button 7-6 on the year, and this is the first time there have been 2 Mclarens in the top-6 on the grid in a dry qualifying this year (it did happen in the wet at Silverstone). Fernando Alonso is down in 7th place, but he was on the podium here for Ferrari from 10th on the grid in 2012. Sebastian Vettel has his worst start at Monza in this decade, but he has now outqualified Daniel Ricciardo 4 times in the past 5 races. For Ricciardo, it’s the first time any teammate has outqualified him at Monza. 4 – Speaking of teammate battles, Sergio Perez outqualified Nico Hülkenberg for only the 4th time all year, on the track where he scored one of his 2 x 2nd place finishes in his career in 2012. Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen failed to reach Q3 for the 4th time in the last 5 Grands Prix. Jean-Eric Vergne starts 12th just as he did at Spa, while Nico Hülkenberg is the slowest Mercedes-powered car on the grid in 13th. 5 – While 14th and 15th may seem unspectacular, it is only the 2nd time in 2014 that both Saubers have been in the top-15 on the grid, and on totally different tracks (the other one was the Hungaroring). Neither Lotus advanced from Q1, the first time that’s happened since Australia (also the last time Grosjean was eliminated in Q1), while Kamui Kobayashi kept up Caterham’s record of always outpacing Marussia in all 5 of their visits to Monza. It is the first time Marussia have not beaten Caterham in qualifying since the Chinese GP. 6 – Daniil Kvyat’s engine penalty means he has a career-worst 21st on the grid. Had he not qualified so high, some/all of those 10 places in the penalty would have rolled over to Singapore, as per the regulations concerning use of a 6th engine. 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ITALY PARTNERS: