Italian Grand Prix
DAY ONE: Rosberg fastest at Monza
World Championship leader Nico Rosberg took the honours at the end of the first day ahead of Sunday’s Italian Formula One Grand Prix. The German was quickest by the slenderest of margins (0.061 seconds) ahead of team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton will not be happy to have lost almost an hour of the 90 minute session sitting in the pits during the afternoon. Nevertheless, he can take some encouragement from his pace despite losing so much time side-lined with an electrical problem on his Mercedes.
Hamilton had set a blistering pace in the morning session finishing over half a second ahead of an improved McLaren in the hands of Jenson Button. Button finished the day sixth behind the two of Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in third and fourth and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas in fifth.
Ferrari’s improvement will be a boost for the passionate Italian “Tifosi” as they look forward to qualifying.
DAY TWO: Italian Grand Prix - Hamilton takes impressive and important pole
Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza after a superlative performance in this afternoon’s qualifying. Hamilton was fastest in each of the afternoon’s sessions and starts the race with his championship rival and team-mate (although he probably uses the term loosely these days) Nico Rosberg alongside him. The lack of a handshake between the two as they stepped out of their cars in Parc Ferme spoke loudly about the relationship that now exists between the two.
Both Mercedes drivers incurred reliability problems in the build-up to the afternoon’s qualifying – Hamilton lost a lot of time on Friday while Rosberg suffered a similar, gearbox related, fate in the Saturday morning free practice session. Mercedes say they are concerned by their race pace and may have good reason to fear the performance of Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Bottas has proved to be the find of the season and with renewed confidence in the Williams camp the Grove team will be looking to challenge the Mercedes twins for victory in Sunday’s race. Bottas will start third on the grid.
Underlining the pace of the Williams, Felipe Massa starts fourth with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen fifth just ahead of his team-mate Jenson Button in sixth. Fernando Alonso leads the charge for home favourites Ferrari in front of the passionate Tifosi in seventh; while the two Red Bulls of reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo are in eight and ninth respectively. Sergio Perez is tenth for Force India with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen a disappointing twelfth.
Hamilton will be both relieved and pleased with pole – his first in four months. He has it all to do with seven races remaining in the championship if he is going to close the 29 point gap between him and Rosberg.
It’s a long run down to the first chicane at the start of tomorrow’s race. The front row nerves will be jangling just like the cogs in the gear box as the lights go out at the start of 53 laps round one of Formula One’s most famous and iconic circuits – the Autodromo di Monza. Expect a dramatic first few laps. With six Mercedes engines in the first six places on the grid and all of them ahead of him, will Fernando Alonso send the crowd into raptures and see Red instead of Silver as the flag falls at the end of tomorrow’s race?
Yallabahrain will bring you the result of tomorrow’s race, which starts at 15.00 Bahrain local time, along with a selection of the best trackside images from the team at Sutton-Images.