Italian GP 2016
SEPTEMBER 3, 2016
Qualifying Report - Heading for 50
By Dan Knutson in Monza
Lewis Hamilton has won 49 Formula 1 races. He took a big step towards heading for his 50th win by earning his 56th career pole position during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.
The ambient temperature at the start of qualifying was 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Centigrade.)
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen . Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault - Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.
Wehrlein and Magnussen were the first out in the 18-minute session.
It was Rosberg, however, who set the first fast time - a 1:22.497 - only to have Hamilton cross the line with a time of 1:21.854. Both were on the super soft Pirelli compound. Meanwhile, Ocon's Manor had broken down at Turn 1.
With nine minutes remaining in Q1, only eight drivers had set lap times. Vettel was third ahead of Raikkonen and Verstappen.
With five minutes remaining, all the drivers but Ocon had turned a flying lap. Gutierrez was 16th and right on the cut line, with Nasr 15th and Alonso 17th.
Soon just about everybody was in the pits, and those who were not certain of staying in the top 16 and those outside that group were getting ready for one final run.
Gutierrez jumped up to eighth and Grosjean to ninth. Now Wehrlein was 16th, Button 15th and Nasr 17th.
The drivers did their last gasp laps, and when it was over, the six who were eliminated at the end of FP1 were: Kvyat, Nasr, Ericsson, Palmer, Magnussen and Ocon.
The fastest 16 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Perez, Massa, Sainz, Button, Wehrlein and Alonso.
Q2 lasted 15 minutes, and Hamilton and Rosberg were the first on track. Both were on the soft compound Pirellis. Rosberg turned a 1:21.809, Hamilton a 1:21.498.
Soon the other 14 drivers were out lapping. Vettel, using the super softs, took third place ahead of Bottas and Raikkonen. Ricciardo and Verstappen, who used the soft Pirellis, were ninth and tenth.
Sainz, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Wehrlein, Alonso and Button were out of the top 10 with four minutes remaining.
With three minutes to go, everybody was in the pits. Then the action began. Everybody but Bottas and Vettel was in action. The two Red Bull drivers were now on the super softs.
Verstappen went from tenth to sixth. Then Ricciardo took sixth. Perez was out of the top 10 but got back to ninth.
In the end, the six drivers who were eliminated at the end of FP2 were: Massa, Grosjean, Alonso, Wehrlein, Button and Sainz. Massa missed out making the cut by 0.016 of a second. Grosjean would get a five-place grid penalty as his car needed a new gearbox.
The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Gutierrez, Verstappen, Perez and Hulkenberg.
All 10 drivers were soon in action in the 12-minute Q3.
Rosberg drew first blood with a time of 1:21.646. Hamilton beat that with a 1:21.358.
After the first runs, Raikkonen, Vettel, Bottas, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Perez and Gutierrez rounded out the top 10.
With five minutes remaining, all 10 drivers were in the pits.
Just three minutes remained when Bottas headed back out. Others soon followed, and all 10 were back in action.
Rosberg was ahead of Hamilton on the track, so he set the first time - 1: 21.613 - and then Hamilton got down to a 1:21.135. So they remained one/two.
The top 10 qualifiers were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez, Hulkenberg and Gutierrez.