F1 – Italian GP – Qualifying
Monza is unique, is the temple of speed, and if rain is here, then everything changes. A shame first session of qualifying gave us a battle for the pole position for the Italian Grand Prix and a lot of surprises for tomorrow’s grid because half of the grid has penalties.
The poor conditions due the rain caused the drivers caused a quite session because the drivers can have aquaplanning in every turn of the circuit. Haas was saying to Grosjean that conditions will get worse and they need a lap, but the french driver only could make a lap because he crashed at the main straight of the track causing a red flag.
When the time was passing, the safety car was making a lap every 15 minutes… and the session was delayed time after time and we were enjoying great highlights like mechanics making jokes, interviews to some drivers, or Hamilton playing with the playstation at this hospitality.
Two hours and a half later, session could start again and drivers went to the track. Hamilton made the best time during the first minutes followed by Verstappen and Stroll. The times were 2-3 seconds faster than the lap times that we had before. Track was improving and the drivers started to say that they could use the intermediate tires. Bottas improved and we saw that Vettel and Alonso were the first drivers to wear the green tires. Raikkonen when he changed the tires he almost crashed with a Force India, and he started to going out of the pitlane with fire on his front right brake. Chequered flag and Bottas finished the session on top with Magnussen, Palmer, Ericsson, Wehrlein and Grosjean were at the knockout zone.
Time for the second qualifying session and track didn’t improve, waching how Vandoorne was sliding making the last turn of the track, and Massa having a few problems. Half of the grid made their lap with intermediate and the other half with full wet. The battle for the first position was between Vettel and both Mercedes while everyone was improving their times. Alonso was the only driver who stayed on boxes during the whole session and started their lap with 4 minutes to go. Chequered flag and Hamilton finished on top with Pérez, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Kvyat and Sainz at the knockout zone.
Rain was increasing before the start of the last round of qualifying. Probably the first lap will be the good one for the teams, so everyone was giving the max of their cars to finish on pole position. Verstappen and Vettel had a battle on track on their out lap while Mercedes was preparing the full wet tires. Both silver arrows and Vettel went to boxes to change their tires to the full wet ones while the rest of the drivers made their first, and probably only lap, with the blue tire compound. Verstappen made the fastest lap with Ocon 2nd, Raikkonen was 3rd with more than 2 seconds of distance between him and the Red Bull driver while Ricciardo took the second position. Ocon was improving again and was on second position, being the major surprise of the session.
Both Mercedes could make their lap with Hamilton on provisional pole and Bottas 3rd while Vettel was 8th. Ricciardo improved the time of the British driver by only a tenth. Times were improving and everyone can get the pole. Hamilton pitted to change the tires and making a risky movement to get the pole while both Ferrari couldn’t improve their times being at the back of the top 10.
Chequered flag and the pole position was finally for Lewis Hamilton who is now the driver with more pole positions in F1 history with Max Verstappen 2nd and Daniel Ricciardo 3rd, but both Red Bull will receive penalties for a few changes on their cars, so in first row Lewis will start with Lance Stroll who made the 4th best time. The top 10 was completed with Ocon, Bottas, Raikkonen, Vettel, Massa and Vandoorne.
Tomorrow we will have a really exciting race where everything can happen. Ferrari made a mistake on this qualifying and this could mean a major problem for tomorrow’s race, but this is F1 and everything can happen. Stay tuned for more updates.