Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position with a new lap record at Monza for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix with Valtteri Bottas taking second place in qualifying for another Mercedes front row lock-out. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz posted the third fastest time and is joined on the second one row by Sergio Perez for Racing Point. The session proved another humbling experience for Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel going out in Q1 and Charles Leclerc, who won at the circuit final year, in Q2. This means no Ferrari within the top 10 at Monza for the first time since 1984. Hamilton clocked a fastest lap in one minute and 18.887 seconds to defeat Bottas by 0.069 seconds. In pure speed, Hamilton’s track lap record performance produced an unconfirmed fastest lap in F1 history.
It used to be Hamilton’s record-increasing 94th career pole position, his sixth in seven races and his seventh in Italy. It also extended Mercedes run to eight consecutive pole positions this season.
“It wasn’t too poor,” said Hamilton, with a trace of a smile.
“It used to be an improbable performance from the team — in relation to timing, when they put us out on the track,” said Hamilton, referring to Mercedes’ avoidance of the jostling mass of cars seeking a slip-streaming tow from every other.
– ‘What a mess’ –
“It used to be not the very best as you saw how near it is between us all so it demanded a actually clean lap – and I felt I got that, so I am more than pleased.”
Max Verstappen used to be fifth for Red Bull, Lando Norris qualified sixth in the second one McLaren ahead of Daniel Ricciardo of Renault, Lance Stroll in the second one Racing Point, Alex Albon in the second one Red Bull and Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri.
Bottas also broke the track record twice and said: “It used to be actually near as I expected. I’m really not certain approximately the tow – I did not have any until the end and I roughly felt the benefit, but then on the last lap I used to be on my own again.
In perfect conditions, the air temperature used to be 28 degrees and the track 46 as Q1 began under blue skies at the Autodromo Nazionale.
Eight of the field were fresh back from a summons to the stewards following last practice, which had seen Hamilton forced to swerve onto the grass to keep away from a collision with one of two slow cars running side by side on the approach to the Parabolica.
The introduction of a mandatory minimum lap time seemed to have had little effect and this continued in qualifying as, after much jostling and blocking, Ferrari’s dismal run used to be extended with Vettel’s early elimination.
The German driver used to be trapped in a chaotic train of jostling cars which, eventually left him helpless and frustrated in P17, unable to clock an improved flying lap.
“What a mess,” said Vettel on team radio.
Vettel used to be eliminated from Q1 for the first time since his home German Grand Prix final year.
Also going out were the Williams pairing of George Russell and rookie Nicholas Latifi.
The messy end to Q1 thus consigned team founder Frank Williams and his daughter Claire, the deputy team boss, to seeing their cars start in the back of the grid in the last race before the Williams circle of relatives breaks all ties with F1.
Hamilton topped Q1 and continued to do the same in Q2 lapping in 1:19.092 to lead Bottas by three-tenths, the two Mercedes working for every other in a demonstration of synchronised slip-streaming that kept them out of trouble.
As they did this, the stewards ruled that no further action used to be to be taken for the earlier fracas.
“It is not possible to resolve that any driver used to be wholly or predominantly to blame,” the stewards ruled of Hamilton’s close overlook.
A messy end to Q2 saw Leclerc out as the two Mercedes men sealed the front row in the top 10 shoot-out.
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