Hamilton beats Michael Schumacher’s pole record in rain-delayed Monza qualifying

Lewis Hamilton claimed a record 69th Formula 1 pole position in a rain-delayed Italian Grand Prix qualifying session, beating Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen as Ferrari struggled.

Qualifying was delayed for more than two and a half hours, after a heavy crash for Romain Grosjean’s Haas on the pit straight caused the session to be halted and then suspended as heavy rain deluged the Monza circuit.

The intensity of the rain varied throughout qualifying when it finally resumed, and a break in the rain in the closing minutes of Q3 allowed Verstappen and Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to briefly lock out the front row before Hamilton’s late show – which helped him surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of 68 Formula 1 poles that he equaled last time out in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Though exciting, the battle was rendered meaningless by grid penalties for both Red Bulls for making illegal engine component changes ahead of practice.

Verstappen is set to receive a 20-place grid penalty and Ricciardo a 25-place penalty, which will promote Williams rookie Lance Stroll to a sensational front row start for the race.

Stroll lapped inside the top five in Q2 and was fourth fastest in Q3, only three tenths slower than Verstappen.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon was fifth quickest, while Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who set the pace in Q1, abandoned his final flying lap so ended up only sixth on the final timesheet.

That was one position better than the Ferrari drivers managed, with Kimi Raikkonen seventh and championship leader Sebastian Vettel eighth as they struggled for grip on the Pirelli wet tyres.

Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne rounded out the top ten.

Sergio Perez looked to have joined Force India team-mate Ocon in making Q3 after a late improvement in Q2, but his lap was 0.002 seconds slower than Ocon’s and failed to get the job done after a last-gasp effort from Vandoorne.

Perez should start inside the top ten anyway, owing to those grid penalties for the Red Bull drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg sat inside the top ten after the initial Q2 runs, but his Renault struggled for grip on intermediates on his second run and slipped to P12. He will drop further back thanks to a 10-place grid penalty for changing his MGU-H before final practice.

Fernando Alonso, who faces a 35-place grid penalty of his own, made only one run in Q2, but it was good enough to put his McLaren-Honda P13, ahead of Toro Rosso pairing Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr, who also faces a 10-place grid penalty.

Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, Jolyon Palmer’s Renault and the Saubers were eliminated in Q1, along with Grosjean.

Magnussen made a late improvement on intermediate tyres after the initial runs on full wets, but this was not enough for him to escape the drop zone.

The Haas driver finished up 0.701 seconds adrift of Sainz’s Toro Rosso, while Palmer’s Renault was bumped to P17.

Palmer is set to take a 15-place grid penalty for engine component swaps ahead of final practice, so will drop behind Marcus Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein and Grosjean in the final reckoning.

Ericsson trailed Sauber team-mate Wehrlein by almost a second after the wet-tyre running, but beat him to P18 by 0.143 seconds with a late improvement on intermediates.

Grosjean didn’t take part in the restarted session after his earlier crash.

So a lengthy rain delay, the wait was worth it. Lewis Hamilton set a new record in Formula 1 as the most successful driver with pole position. Lance Stroll earning his best ever grid position after an impressive qualifying run. Will start the Italian Grand Prix alongside the triple champion.

Italian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m35.554s
2    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1m37.032s
3    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1m37.719s
4    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m37.833s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m37.987s
6    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m38.064s
7    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m38.251s
8    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1m39.157s
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m37.582s
10    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m38.245s
11    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1m40.489s
12    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m41.732s
13    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1m41.875s
14    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m36.702s
15    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1m38.059s
16    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m38.526s
17    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m36.841s
18    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m40.646s
19    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m38.202s
20    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m43.355s

7 thoughts on “Hamilton beats Michael Schumacher’s pole record in rain-delayed Monza qualifying

  1. Italian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has more poles than any man in history – 69 – after topping a wet and rain-disrupted qualifying session in Monza on Saturday. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished second and third, but after grid penalties for both, Williams rookie Lance Stroll will start the race alongside Hamilton on the front row.

    Fifth fastest was Force India’s Esteban Ocon, ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Williams’ Felipe Massa and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top ten.

    The session initially started on time, but as the rain worsened Haas’s Romain Grosjean aquaplaned off on the main straight, bringing out the red flags just four minutes in. The Frenchman was unhurt, and wheel rims aside, damage to his car was light, but his afternoon’s work was over.

    Two hours and 35 minutes later, conditions were finally adjudged to be safe to resume the remaining 13 minutes and 31 seconds of Q1. Verstappen reported: “It’s better than when we started qualifying,” but had been happy to run much sooner.

    Hamilton and Bottas were fastest on wets with 1m 36.009s and 1m 36.582s right into the dying moments, when the Finn went faster after switching to intermediates, with 1m 35.716s. Vettel was third on inters, in 1m 37.198s.

    Raikkonen had a bit of a drama with a brake fire, and a near miss when his crew almost released him into the path of one of the Force Indias as the latter swept into its space immediately in front of the Ferrari pit.

    Further down, Carlos Sainz made Q2 with 1m 39.788s for Toro Rosso, leaving Haas’s Kevin Magnussen 16th with a last-moment 1m 40.489s on inters, ahead of Renault’s Jolyon Palmer on 1m 40.646s on wets, the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein on 1m 41.732s and 1m 41.875s, and Grosjean in 20th on the strength of his originally third-fastest lap of 1m 43.355s.

    There was a threat of further rain at the start of Q2, so everybody was in a rush to get a time in before conditions changed again.

    All the quick times came on inters, with Hamilton improving further right at the end to stay on top with 1m 34.660s, despite some rain out on the back straight. Bottas also went quicker to 1m 35.396s as Verstappen did 1m 36.113s to beat Vettel’s 1m 36.223s set quite early on.

    The biggest improver was Stroll who jumped from nowhere to fifth, ahead of Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Massa. Vandoorne bumped Sergio Perez right at the end, the Mexican missing out on 10th place by two thousandths of a second to Force India team mate Esteban Ocon.

    Behind the Force India’s 1m 37.582s, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was 12th on 1m 38.082s, with Fernando Alonso only running at the end to record 1m 38.202s for McLaren. That left the Toro Rossos 14th and 15th, with Daniil Kvyat on 1m 38.245s and Carlos Sainz on 1m 38.526s.

    Could Ferrari beat Mercedes to the pole in Q3, giving the soaked spectators something to cheer, or would Hamilton set a new all-time record of 69?
    The rain had come back, so again there were some brave tyre choices and some initially still went for intermediates – notably Ferrari and Mercedes – as the full wets made a comeback. But the rain was by now so heavy that surely the green-banded rubber was a mistake.

    This was one of those sessions when times were improving continually as conditions did. Ocon, Verstappen and Hamilton all had turns at the top, but right at the end Mercedes pitted both their drivers for fresh wets. That was just as well, as Verstappen lapped in 1m 36.702s to beat Hamilton’s mark of 1m 36.913s. Team mate Ricciardo was also fast with 1m 36.841s, temporarily putting red Bull 1-2. But right at the end the triple champion put another super-neat lap together, even though he said conditions did not feel as good, and when he stopped the clocks with 1m 35.554s a sensational lap earned him a new record of 69 pole positions.

    Stroll did a superb job to put his Williams fourth on 1m 37.032s, ahead of the also impressive Ocon on 1m 37.719s. Bottas didn’t get his run on new wets, so was sixth with 1m 37.833s, while Ferrari had a simply disastrous session with Raikkonen only seventh on 1m 37.987s and Vettel eighth after failing to better 1m 38.064s.

    Massa was ninth on 1m 38.251s, and Vandoorne completed the top 10 with 1m 39.157s.

    Both Red Bulls, of course, have heavy grid penalties for using additional power unit elements and will thus start Sunday’s race from the back of the field – likewise Hulkenberg, Palmer, Alonso and Sainz. That at least throws Ferrari a lifeline as their drivers will move up two places apiece.

    And Stroll will start from the front row – the youngest driver to do so in history and the first Canadian in 19 years.

  2. The resurfaced pit straight at Monza contributed to the difficulties that F1 drivers faced in the rain on Saturday as the new section is much smoother than the remainder of the circuit.

    Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix was delayed for over two hours after it was red-flagged when Romain Grosjean lost control of his Haas on the straight.

    Pirelli assesses each venue by measuring the macro roughness of the surface, and its engineers calculated at the start of the weekend that pit straight is now half as rough as the rest of the Italian GP venue.

    “That’s the worst place,” said Daniel Ricciardo of the straight during the rain delay. “Around the chicane it’s super wet as well, but that’s low enough speed, it’s no longer deemed dangerous. It’s really towards the end of the straight, where the pit exit kind of starts.”

    “They resurfaced from the exit of the Parabolica to the first chicane,” said Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola.

    “The roughness is quite different compared to the older tarmac. It’s much smoother. If the roughness of the old tarmac is at 120 percent in the measurement we give to the teams, the new one is 60 percent, so it’s half of the macro roughness.

    “We wanted to check the level of grip, because obviously when you have such a big change in roughness you can have this part of the surface that is a lot more slippery compared to the rest of the circuit.”

    Although the straight was clearly challenging in the wet, Pirelli is not expecting any particular issues with wheelspin at the start on Sunday, when conditions are expected to be dry.

    “If the level of grip is good, we shouldn’t expect any issue with the start. The worry was with this new tarmac it would be slippery and difficult to start. Also the pitlane has the same tarmac. But looking at what we collected in terms of information, the grip is good.”

    Pirelli has found it harder to assess a representative track temperature, because of the different surfaces.

    “The new tarmac is very black so to measure the track temperature we asked the guys to find a place that is representative of the rest of the circuit, because most of the circuit has a different tarmac with a different colour and a different heating process. If we measure on the very black one, we take the risk to have a measurement that is not fully representative, and is much hotter.

    “This means under braking at the first chicane at that specific part the tarmac will be hotter than the rest of the circuit.

    “But you arrive from a long straight, you cool down the tyre, and I don’t think it’s going to affect the tyre behaviour or performance.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  3. Force India driver Esteban Ocon declares: “I want my podium” after a solid qualifying performance at the Italian Grand Prix. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Esteban Ocon believes he can turn his third position on the Italian Grand Prix starting grid into his first-ever F1 podium finish on Sunday.

    Ocon qualified fifth fastest in the wet qualifying session at Monza on Saturday, but is elevated to third due to Red Bull pairing Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo taking grid penalties.

    Ocon only just squeezed into Q3, beating his teammate Sergio Perez by 0.002s, but revelled in the wetter top-10 shootout.

    “It’s amazing,” said Ocon. “That’s what the team deserves, they work so hard on every aspect. To get that P3 is something amazing.

    “The car was brilliant today, a perfect balance, and I managed to push it to the limit. Now we have to keep P3 in the race – I want my podium!

    “I adjusted the car [for the conditions] but it will work in the dry like it did on Friday, so starting from there we have a big opportunity ahead and we need to keep our head down to get it.”

    The 20-year-old Frenchman, whose best finish so far has been fifth in Barcelona, said he enjoyed the wet conditions of qualifying: “I’ve been growing up with the rain and it’s fantastic to see that in a Formula 1 car I can still manage to do good stuff.

    “The team have put so much effort to get those results, and now we start third. I will go give them a big hug right now!”

  4. Furious Romain Grosjean says Monza qualifying should never have started in the rain. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean says qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix should not have started because it was “just too dangerous” – after he crashed heavily.

    Grosjean shunted on the start/finish straight at Monza in Q1, just after completing a time that was third quickest.

    His car appeared to aquaplane twice, before he speared left into the guardrail, then bounced back across the track to hit the wall on the other side too.

    “I’m going to try to be calm, and not say anything I may regret, but I think we shouldn’t have launched qualy,” Grosjean told NBC.

    “From the out-lap onwards, I complained a lot saying that it was too dangerous, we couldn’t see where we were. I don’t think I was the only one.

    “Clearly, crashing in a straight line shows that the car cannot take it. There was too much water. I’m disappointed that we started qualy in those conditions, what can you do?

    “You cannot back off, if there’s someone behind you he’s straight in the back of you. You don’t know what’s in front. We should have waited.”

    When asked if the aquaplaning was worse on the 2017 tyres, the GPDA director replied: “It felt alright on the first lap, but the rain came stronger I believe for the second push lap.

    “We know we have more aquaplaning on these tyres, it was fine most of the track, just the straight line, brand new tarmac, not clearing the water. It was just too dangerous.

    “I think when the FIA brings the safety, to slow down a lot under double waved flags, the Halo is coming in… But launching a qualy which shouldn’t have taken place, or at least after the out lap didn’t seem that it was possible to run, I believe that decision should’ve been made a bit more differently.”

    Asked about the severity of crash by Sky Sports F1, Grosjean replied: “The impact wasn’t strong, I was lucky, I hit the barriers and the move was still going towards the track, so I was happy with that, and lucky with that.

    “But spinning on a straight is not what you should see in Formula 1. We shouldn’t have gone out at all, I’m pretty straightforward on that.”

  5. This was a challenging qualifying session for the championship leader Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver was left feeling puzzled by the qualifying slump. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel admits he is at a loss over the Ferrari’s disappointing performance in the wet-weather qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix.

    Vettel, who entered his team’s home event with a seven-point cushion over title rival Lewis Hamilton, was among frontrunners in Q1 and Q2 on intermediate tyres – even though he was noticeably adrift of the pace-setting Mercedes cars.

    Rain picked up slightly ahead of the final qualifying segment and Vettel’s session took a turn for the worse, as he finished eighth on full wets, 2.5s off poleman Hamilton.

    Penalties for Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo ahead will promote the German to sixth, but that will still mark his lowest position on the starting grid in 2017.

    Asked if he was surprised by his team’s underwhelming performance, as teammate Kimi Raikkonen had qualified just one place ahead, Vettel said: “Surprised, let’s say, by how quick the others went. Clearly we couldn’t go the same pace.

    “At this stage we don’t know why, I’m sure there’s a couple of things we’ll look into and try to understand, nevertheless it was an important day. Something didn’t work, it didn’t come together.”

    He added: “We were just not quick enough today, both of us, struggling, I guess, and not being able to do the same what other people are doing.”

    The German reckoned set-up woes were not a likely cause of the disappointing performance – and dismissed suggestions that other teams could’ve excelled by setting up their cars for the wet conditions.

    “You set up the car to go as fast as you can, and the classic rain set-ups don’t exist any more. I doubt if anyone set up the car for the wet today.”

    Asked why he ended up further off the pace at the end of qualifying, he said he didn’t know.

    “I mean, all of the laps were pretty much the same, the conditions didn’t get better in my point of view, so we were doing more or less the same every lap.”

    Raikkonen, who was well off Vettel’s pace in Q1 and Q2, but ended up just under a tenth quicker in the final segment, said: “We are not fast enough. From my car, I don’t know about the other car, but I struggle a lot with the grip.

    “Either we didn’t make the tyres work, or whatever it is, it’s very slippery, that’s for sure. Especially with the low downforce, you cannot put enough force in the tyres and it’s a never-ending story then.”

  6. Lance Stroll beats MAx Verstappen’s youngest-ever front-row F1 start record after an impressive display in wet qualifying. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Williams rookie Lance Stroll will become the youngest-ever front-row F1 starter in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, and says breaking another record “feels good”.

    Stroll – who became the youngest-ever podium finisher in Baku this year – was strong throughout the qualifying sessions, and was fourth fastest when it mattered in Q3.

    With Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo taking grid penalties, Stroll is elevated to the front row and will start alongside Lewis Hamilton, who also broke the record for all-time pole positions.

    Stroll beats the record of youngest front-row starter Max Verstappen by 23 days from last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

    “It’s a couple of ‘youngest-evers’ this season now, so it feels good,” said Stroll. “[The] podium at Baku was great, and now starting on the front row here in Monza is great. Just keep it going.”

    About his qualifying session, Stroll added: “I just put it together there at the end. Throughout the whole sessions I knew we were competitive, I had an idea where the best grip was under braking and the high-speed corners, Lesmo 1 and 2.

    “I just built up to it throughout the sessions, and in Q3 I put it all together and it worked out.”

    Stroll believes that the recent qualifying woes for Williams spurred him on, as rain levelled the playing field in terms of his team’s lack of downforce.

    “We know it’s been really difficult in the last few races, easy to make mistakes because we’re almost over-pushing the car, knowing it’s tricky for us to get out of Q1 sometimes,” he said.

    “Today, everything was under control and we were able to go from the back of the grid to the front today.”

  7. Red Bull bosses Helmut Marko and Christian Horner insist they have no regrets about Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo taking grid penalties at Monza after the pair qualified second and third today.

    Both drivers will go back 20 places after the team opted to introduce new power units in order to maximise their chances at the upcoming races, which are expected to be better suited to the RB13.

    Ricciardo also takes an extra five places for a new gearbox.

    Marko admitted it was frustrating to lose so many positions after such a strong showing, but insisted there were no regrets as he hopes it will pay off in the upcoming races.

    “It’s frustrating not only for the penalties, but we have nearly no downforce on,” Marko told Motorsport.com.

    “And that in the rain is why we lost out so much in Sector 3. So not to make a mistake, and be second and third under these conditions, shows what potential is the car.

    “But we don’t regret anything. It’s not just about Singapore, it’s Malaysia, and Suzuka, they’re all circuits for us.”

    Horner agreed that the team had to look at the upcoming races.

    “Absolutely,” he said. “It’s a shame that we have to take the penalties, but we’re enjoying the qualifying for now.

    “Second and third is a fantastic performance from both of the drivers. Even with the penalties from where we start on a mixed up grid, there are still opportunities at a track where you can overtake.

    “I think we got all the timings right today. The pit wall did a great job, and we picked the right tyres for the right conditions. Both of the drivers today have done a phenomenal job.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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