Grand Prix of Italy – Qualifying

Just a week after the GP of Belgium the F1 circus moves to Italy.

The good news is that “Kevin Magnussen has been passed fit by the FIA to take part in this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.” [Autosport]
MAG is using a spare chassis with a total rebuild after his high-speed off at Spa.

Sad (but not surprised) to hear “Williams driver Felipe Massa has announced he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season.” [BBC]
“The 35-year-old Brazilian, who made his F1 debut with Sauber back in 2002, is in his third year with Williams, having joined the team in 2014, and has scored five podium finishes for the British squad.” [F1]

VES has apparently been to see Charlie Whiting (Race Director) and was told that perhaps he should have been black+white flagged in Belgium for unsporting behaviour. [BBC] No-one’s convinced that he’ll change his driving style though 🙂

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: ROS (1:22.959), HAM, RAI, VET, PER
    RAI & VET have upgraded engines
  2. FP2: HAM (1:22.801), ROS, VET, RAI, VES
    OCO parked his Manor car just after the first chicane; VSC deployed while marshals push him off the track
    ALO pushed back into the McLaren garage with a clutch problem
    Big lockup from SAI as he approaches the pit lane speed limit
    Few laps later, SAI’s teammate KVY also lockups up at the pit entrance
  3. FP3: HAM (1:22.008), ROS, VET, RAI, BOT
    VSC as GRO has gone off at the Ascari chicane and gets stuck in the gravel trap
    ROS 0.5sec faster than VET – that could be a big gap in the race, assuming they’re on similar strategies

GRO’s Haas needs a gearbox change after FP3, so that’s a 5 grid-spot penalty

Air temperature 29°C, track 41°C; sunny

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Renault, Manor and Toro Rosso first to send their drivers out
MAG 1:25.074
KVY 1:24.440
GUT 1:23.984
Cheers as VET leaves the Ferrari garage
ROS 1:22.497
OCO has gone off at the first chicane; looks like he’s parked his Manor
HAM 1:21.854
5mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are ALO, GRO, PAL, MAG, ERI, OCO
GRO sliding a bit sideways through the chicane
Everyone from HUL (P12) down is on track for the final couple of minutes
Chequered flag; bottom 6 are NAS, ALO, PAL, MAG, ERI, OCO
MAG runs wide, kicks up some dust
ALO to P14; WEH to P17
WEH to P14; KVY pushed to P17
Back of the grid: KVY, NAS, ERI, PAL, MAG, OCO

Qualifying session 2
ROS first on track, on soft tyres
HAM exits the pits, also on softs
ROS 1:21.809
HAM 1:21.498
Radio from HAM thinking about another run with a new set of softs because he flat-spotted his front right
The two McLarens propping up the timing chart; will either ALO or BUT make it in to Q3?
4mins left of Q2; bottom 6 are SAI, GRO, HUL, WEH, ALO, BUT
Everyone except VET & BOT heading out for a last run, even the two Mercedes
Chequered flag; ROS didn’t cross the line in time for another run
ALO P11
HUL P7, bumps RIC to P11
WEH P13
GRO P12
RIC P6, PER to P11
PER P9, MAS to P11
Middle of the grid: MAS, GRO*, ALO, WEH, BUT, SAI
*GRO has a 5 spot penalty for a gearbox change

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, ROS, VET, BOT, RAI, RIC, GUT, VES, PER & HUL
First time for a Haas in Q3
ROS 1:21.646
HUL P2
VET P2
HAM 1:21.358
RAI P3
PER P6
VES P5
RIC P5
BOT P5
GUT runs wide in Second Lesmo; abandons his lap
Order after first run: HAM, ROS, RAI, VET, BOT, RIC, VES, HUL, PER, GUT (no time)
Everyone heads out for the final run
ROS still P2
HUL P8
HAM 1:21.135
PER P8
VES P6
GUT P10
VET P3
RIC P6
Front of the grid: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, RIC, VES, PER, HUL, GUT
HAM almost 0.5sec faster than ROS!

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, BOT, RIC, VES, PER, HUL, GUT, MAS, GRO*, ALO, WEH, BUT, SAI, KVY, NAS, ERI, PAL, MAG, OCO
*GRO has a 5 spot penalty for a gearbox change

HAM’s 5th pole at Monza equals Juan Manuel Fangio & Ayrton Senna.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also said that Hamilton’s flat spot “isn’t really bad”, but that the team will assess it overnight. They could look at getting it changed on safety grounds.