Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

lauantai 6. syyskuuta 2014

Italian GP / Qualifying: Hamilton lead the Mercedes duo to a front row lock-out!

Conditions were warm and sunny when qualifying got underway at Monza this afternoon. Q1 was pretty much business as usual: the top teams set their fastest lap times on the hard-compound tyres whilst the midfield teams chose the option tyres for their second run. Hamilton showed storming performance right from the very first session and topped the time sheets with his team-mate Rosberg second. The Williams duo Massa and Bottas could almost match Mercedes´ pace. Lotus´ setbacks seemed to go on and on: both E22s got knocked out of Q2 and their qualifying was filled with technical worries.

Mercedes and Williams continued their strong performance also in Q2. Hamilton was once again the fastest man on track with Rosberg second but this time Bottas managed to set a faster lap time than his team-mate Massa. There was a nasty surprise in the second session as Kimi was unable to progress into the final session! At Spa a fortnight ago Kimi´s driving had looked so smooth and it was a pleasure to watch but suddenly everything had changed! Kimi really seemed to be struggling with his F14T again and the Iceman couldn´t make his way any higher on the grid. Which is such a pity as it makes tomorrow´s race a tough one. His team-mate Alonso, however, made it as high as P5 in the second session. Red Bull couldn´t match Mercedes´ or Williams´ straight line speed as expected and Vettel could only make it in P7 being the faster one of the Red Bull team-mates but still over a second off Hamilton. Both Toro Rossos were out of Q3 with Kvyat 11th and Vergne 13th. Kvyat will face a 10-place grid penalty due to an engine change so the Russian will start to the race from the very back of the grid.

Although Williams could quite match Mercedes´ pace today there was no real fight for pole. Hamilton took the provisional pole eclipsing Rosberg by 4 tenths of a second. Rosberg managed to improve his lap time by a couple of tenths on his last run but it was insufficient to unseat Hamilton. The flying Finn Bottas snatched P3 so the Finn kept up his brilliant job at the wheel of his FW36. In the end, however,  he was half a second off Hamilton´s pace. Massa completed the second row by qualifying 4th. The third row was conquered by the McLaren drivers with Magnussen 5th and Button 6th. Alonso managed to make it in P7 with Vettel 8th and Ricciardo 9th. Perez in his Force India rounded out the top ten. I would have wanted to see Sebastian higher up on the grid but I was prepared for a difficult qualifying on the long straights of Monza.

What to expect from tomorrow´s race then? I know the Mercedes duo can´t afford another collision so they have to be very cautious when heading into the first corner maybe side by side. I hope Bottas in his Williams could benefit from Mercedes team-mates´ rivalry and maybe pass them both in the first corner! Both teams have excellent race pace, I hope Williams´ pace is good enough to challenge Hamilton and Rosberg for the victory for real. McLaren´s performance looked promising in the qualifying but I´m not convinced that they could challenge the Ferraris and the Red Bulls in the race. In terms of Red Bull it´s all about damage limitation I would say... All points are valuable and I´m hoping to see a strong and problem-free race from Sebastian tomorrow! This implies to Kimi as well. I always support Sebastian and Kimi, no matter what!

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