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GP Week : Issue 227
pOs DrIver teaM Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps 1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.251 1:23.383 1:23.397 15 2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.662 1:23.757 1:23.631 17 3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:24.989 1:23.577 1:23.685 20 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.609 1:23.864 1:23.703 19 5 Felipe Massa Williams 1:25.184 1:23.983 1:23.940 19 6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:24.979 1:24.313 1:24.127 17 7 Sergio Perez Force India 1:24.801 1:24.379 1:24.626 19 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:25.144 1:24.448 1:25.054 19 9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:24.937 1:24.510 1:25.317 18 10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:25.122 1:24.457 1:26.214 20 11 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:25.429 1:24.525 16 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:25.121 1:24.898 15 13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.410 1:25.618 10 14 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:25.742 1:25.796 11 15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:25.633 No time 3 16 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.085 7 17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:26.154 7 18 Will Stevens Manor 1:27.731 9 19 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:27.912 9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso No time 1 Q1 107% Time 1:30.148 formula 1 round 11 italian gp – Qualifying QUALIFYING That lewis Hamilton was on pole was about the only thing that made sense on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton utterly decimated the field in opening Friday, and while his advantage had shrunk as the weekend wore on it was entirely expected that the Mercedes driver would claim his seventh successive pole. What wasn’t expected was just how close the Ferrari’s would get, and that the leading red car would be that of Kimi Raikkonen, not Sebastian Vettel. While not unduly bothering Hamilton’s grip on top spot they did get close enough to pose Mercedes a few nervous moments leading into the race. That was especially so given the fact Nico Rosberg was just fourth fastest following an engine change but also because Ferrari had typically shown itself to be better off the line than the Mercedes. Rosberg’s engine change was also unusual. Mercedes have an almost unblemished reliability record, meaning a failure tends to catch the attention all the more. Perhaps it’s the result of a development engine having been introduced in Monza, perhaps it was just bad luck, but whatever the case it hurt the German. Still, it made for a fascinating moment after the session when Niki Lauda attempted to blame Rosberg’s efforts on a poor handling car while Rosberg pointed the finger directly at the engine. Of course Ferrari had updates too, it had used three of its tokens and on the evidence of qualifying one could suggest they’ve more or less kept pace with the Mercedes power unit. That’s supported by Rosberg’s performance and subsequent comments, suggesting Ferrari is a generation behind Mercedes in the development race. But if Mercedes and Ferrari have made progress, what does that say of Renault’s efforts? The French manufacturer locked out the final two rows of the grid to make the worst ever performance for Dietrich Mateschitz’s two teams. Combined, they suffered 150 places worth of grid penalties for various engine changes, not to mention the fact Max Verstappen was made to trundle down the pit lane after his engine cover exploded in the first session. Of course they were putting on a brave face but the simple fact of the matter is in 18 months Red Bull has gone from the front of the pack to the rear. That’ll change in future races, no doubt, but it made for a particularly unhappy Christian Horner. Daniel Ricciardo went desperately looking for positives. An engine failure in final practice saw the team change his engine in a new record, shaving 20 minutes of their previous best he boasted. Still, it’s difficult to see how that is a positive when a brand new engine went pop and left the team with no option but to bolt on the only other engine it had. The Australian’s trademark smile is increasingly looking like a grimace. 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ITALY PARTNERS: No surprises