Saturday, 6 September 2014

Italian Qualifying: tension at the top...

Going in to qualifying, for the Italian Grand Prix, there was a real sense that we wouldn't be watching Mercedes simply attempting to secure the front row of the grid. Rosberg needed to assert himself, after a week of ridicule and scolding, from the media, fans and his team. Hamilton, on the other hand, went in to this weekend needing to prove that he is no push over or quitter. With the point difference between the two Mercedes drivers being so large now, Hamilton needed to display his mental strength. It's fair to say he has done exactly that in Monza, so far.

Hamilton dominated from Q1 and was consistently quicker than Rosberg through all three sessions. Lewis failed to put in a final fast lap and yet Nico was still unable to match his teammate, rival and childhood friend. Many fans will feel that pole position is the least that Hamilton deserves after the underhand move Rosberg made on him at Spa. If he keeps the lead, away from the line and in to the first few corners, Lewis will be nervously looking in his mirrors, for a looming, wild German. Their newly established relationship certainly gives Mercedes' dominance an edge of excitement.

As the session went on, it became clear that Williams are creeping nearer and nearer to Mercedes. Disappointingly, it will be impossible for them to challenge Mercedes, but as we all know, Formula One is regularly about the the next move, the next Grand Prix or the next season. Williams are progressing nicely towards being a serious title contender for 2015. Amazingly, whilst Williams are back near the top, a couple of the big hitters, McLaren and Ferrari, have struggled all season. This time it was Kimi Raikonnen's turn to fall by the wayside, hanging up his boots before the top ten shootout. There seems to be a shift in power and speed, out on the circuit.

The Grid:
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:25.3631:24.5601:24.10920
26Nico RosbergMercedes1:25.4931:24.6001:24.38319
377Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1:26.0121:24.8581:24.69716
419Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:25.5281:25.0461:24.86517
520Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:26.3371:25.9731:25.31418
622Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:26.3281:25.6301:25.37918
714Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:26.5141:25.5251:25.43017
81Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:26.6311:25.7691:25.43618
93Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:26.7211:25.9461:25.70917
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:26.5691:25.8631:25.94423
1126Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:26.2611:26.07016
127Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:26.6891:26.11013
1325Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:26.1401:26.15715
1427Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:26.3711:26.27918
1599Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1:27.0341:26.58817
1621Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:26.9991:26.69217
1713Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1:27.5208
188Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:27.6325
1910Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:27.6719
2017Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:27.7388
214Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1:28.2478
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1:28.5629