Lewis Hamilton claimed the 36th pole position of his Formula One career at Monza this afternoon.
The Mercedes driver also headed a dominant session for the German marque, who not only had the other Silver Arrow on the front row, but had six Mercedes-powered cars in the top six (!).
Although the 29-year-old could not improve on his final run, Hamilton’s previous effort of 1:24.109 was more than enough to stay ahead of teammate and title challenger Nico Rosberg. It also marked some relief for Hamilton, who had lost plenty of time during Friday practice with an electrical issue.
With the track markedly losing pace as the final qualifying session aged, Rosberg’s minor improvement in his second Q3 run left him over a quarter-of-a-second shy of Hamilton. The German who went ‘purple’ in the first sector of his last qualifying run, then dropped a chunk of time in the middle sector, nullifying his threat instantly.
Valtteri Bottas lines up 3rd with Williams teammate Felipe Massa alongside; however the Martini-sponsored cars were still 0.5s and 0.7s adrift of the pole time come the chequered flag.
Mercedes power completed the rout as Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button rounded out the third row.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso could do no better than 7th for an Italian crown desperate for some success. The Spaniard improved on his final run, setting a 1:25.430, some six-thousandths quicker than reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull).
Judging by the slightly lacklustre Renault –power unit, it is unlikely that the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo will repeat his famous win at Spa-Francorchamps. The Australian took 9th, just ahead of the leading Force India on Sergio Perez.
Daniil Kvyat was the first out come the end of Q2; however the Russian will start from 21st after he incurred a penalty for switching to his sixth power unit of the season.
Kimi Raikkonen and Jean-Eric Vergne therefore move up to the sixth row. Nico Hulkenberg (13th), heads both Sauber’s of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez, while Pastor Maldonado rounds out row eight.
Romain Grosjean missed much of Q1 due to a mechanical glitch. The Frenchman managed a single run which allowed him to take 17th on the grid, ahead of the returning Kamui Kobayshi (Caterham) and Marussia pairing Jules Bianchi (19th) and Max Chilton (20th).
Marcus Ericsson had qualified last, but will be required to start from the pitlane after it was adjudged he had ignored double-waved yellow flags.