F1 – Italian GP – Qualifying
Round 14 of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship takes place in the idyllic little city of Monza, Italy. Sebastian Vettel comes here hunting down championship leader Lewis Hamilton after cutting the championship points gap down to 17 points last time out in Belgium.
Qualifying one ran with two major shocks; Sergio Perez knocked out in 16th place due to a simple mis-calculation by his team. The Mexican driver was still in the pits with two minutes to go and just remained there as the clock ran down; the team clearly believed he was safe. Meanwhile, the bigger shock of the session was that both Williams cars squeezed into Q2! Excellent job. Clearly the FW41 suits the low downforce nature of this circuit. Vandoorne, Ericsson, Hartley, Leclerc and Perez were the drivers out of qualifying.
The highlight of Q2 was the impromptu race that erupted between Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen. The pair of them ruined their hot laps, and that ultimately cost them any chance of reaching Q3. Naturally, they both blamed each other. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg both didn’t set a lap during the session. Both drivers have grid penalties anyway, so opted not to challenge for Q3; allowing them to have a free choice of tyres tomorrow. Sergey Sirotkin was also knocked out in Q2, meaning his team mate, Lance Stroll, had reached Q3 for Williams!
The battle for pole was intense between Ferrari and Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas had been off the pace all weekend compared to his team mate, and qualified in 4th place. Meanwhile, the home crowd roared as Sebastian Vettel came across the line to take provisional pole position. An even bigger roar would erupt moments later when Kimi Raikkonen would steal pole by an impressive 0.161 seconds! It’s a Ferrari 1-2, in Italy. The tifosi will be delighted. The Mercedes cars will line up 3rd & 4th with Max Verstappen in 5th. Romain Grosjean will start 6th with Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon occupying row four. Pierre Gasly will line up 9th, and Canadian driver Lance Stroll will be 10th.
Do you think Ferrari would allow Kimi Raikkonen to challenge for the win tomorrow, or will team orders come into play? Can Hamilton challenge the pair of them? Let us know how you think it will play out in the comments below.