Pole for Hamilton in Monza as Ferrari split Mercedes

2015 Italian Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2015Lewis Hamilton took his record-equalling seventh consecutive pole position in a single season at Monza ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

But it will be the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel – not Nico Rosberg – who will line up behind the championship leader tomorrow after a strong home performance by the Scuderia.

Rosberg will start from fourth on the grid, with the Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas behind.


There was trouble for Nico Rosberg before the session began, with Mercedes changing the new engine on Rosberg’s car back to the unit used for the Belgian Grand Prix.

After the damp start to practice, the Monza circuit was done dry at the start of qualifying. Both McLarens and Manor cars wasted no time in putting the Soft tyres onto their cars.

Nico Hulkenberg was one of the first drivers to set a timed lap, but the Force India driver was clearly held up by the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson into the Parabolica. The stewards will investigate the incident after the session.

Technical issues appeared to have sidelined Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, but Red Bull were just able to get Ricciardo out onto the circuit in the dying minutes for a single flying lap with Verstappen out too late to begin a timed run.

This left McLaren and Manor to battle it out to try and make it into Q2, but with Ricciardo able to go P14 with his only flying lap both McLarens and both Manors were ultimately eliminated with Jenson Button qualifying ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso and Will Stevens beating Roberto Merhi in the battle of the Manors.

There was late drama as the chequered flag fell when Max Verstappen’s engine cover suddenly ripped off his Toro Rosso under power in the Curva Grande, littering the circuit with large chunks of carbon fibre debris. Thankfully, this did not interfere with any drivers’ final laps and the circuit was cleared before Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

Pos.No.DriverBest lapLaps
1622Jenson Button1’26.0587
1714Fernando Alonso1’26.1547
1828Will Stevens1’27.7319
1998Roberto Merhi1’27.9129
2033Max VerstappenNo time set1


As the second session began, all teams opted for the faster soft compound tyres. Nico Rosberg was the first of the Mercedes to put in a flying lap, but Lewis Hamilton immediately eclipsed his team mate’s effort by over seven tenths.

Then it was the turn of the Ferraris to make their first runs on the soft tyres, with both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen able to split the two Mercedes on the timing screens to the very vocal approval of the Tifosi.

Neither Mercedes opted for a final run in the closing stages of the session, but Sebastian Vettel did improve to P2, just over a tenth slower than Hamilton’s benchmark.

In the closing minutes, many drivers were still yet to set a time, choosing to do just a single timed run. Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat were unable to break into the top ten on their one flying lap.

Pastor Maldonado just missed out on an appearance in Q3 after being beaten by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India by less than a tenth, while Marcus Ericsson put his Sauber into the final session – a feat his team mate, Felipe Nasr, was unable to emulate. Daniel Ricciardo did not set a time in the second session.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

Pos.No.DriverBest lapLaps
1113Pastor Maldonado1’24.5256
1212Felipe Nasr1’24.8986
1355Carlos Sainz1’25.6183
1426Daniil Kvyat1’25.7963
153Daniel RicciardoNo time set


Nico Rosberg was the first of the Mercedes to make an attempt at pole position, posting a 1’23.942, but was immediately beaten by his team mate, Lewis Hamilton, who lowered a 1’23.297 to take provisional pole

Once again it was the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen who were closest to the championship leader’s time, both just over three tenths adrift of Hamilton, with Felipe Massa quicker than the second Mercedes too.

After his first attempt of the session, Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India slowed to a halt at the entrance of the pit lane, ending his qualifying with an apparent mechanical issue.

The final shoot-out for pole saw the two Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen first to cross the line, with Raikkonen jumping ahead of his team mate by less than a tenth. Nico Rosberg then improved his own best time, but he was still slower than both of the Ferraris, dooming him to a fourth place start.

Williams will line up fifth and sixth, with Felipe Massa out-qualifying Valtteri Bottas once again. Sergio Perez will start seventh after another strong qualifying performance, followed by Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, Hulkenberg and Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.

Top ten in Q3

Pos.No.DriverBest lapLaps
144Lewis Hamilton1’23.3976
27Kimi Raikkonen1’23.6316
35Sebastian Vettel1’23.6856
46Nico Rosberg1’23.7036
519Felipe Massa1’23.9406
677Valtteri Bottas1’24.1276
711Sergio Perez1’24.6264
88Romain Grosjean1’25.0546
927Nico Hulkenberg1’25.3173
109Marcus Ericsson1’26.2143

*Full grid will be posted after official FIA confirmation of grid penalties

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    53 comments on “Pole for Hamilton in Monza as Ferrari split Mercedes”

    1. Did Lewis back off in S3 on his last lap? Seems like it…

      1. I wouldn’t call 0.02 sec slower backing off.

        1. Well, dont have the exact figures yet, but on his 2nd Q3 run, he was up on the S1 & S2 times that he did on his first Q3 run – and that run was good enough for pole.

          1. Maybe he ran to wide at the exit of Ascari or made a mistake in Parabolica?!

            1. Hamilton only made a slight mistake at the second chicane otherwise it was a good lap.

        2. That’s the split second I needed for my pole time prediction :(

    2. Hulkenberg said after Quali that his car ran out of fuel on the inlap.

      What a stupid mistake from his team.

      1. When was the last time that happened? I remember it happening more often during Vettel era as cars were much closer and some people were desperate to get a better quali even with the slightest margin. Even Red Bull did it repeatedly.

      2. Obviously Pirelli’s fault.

    3. Well Monza is a very PU-dependant track, if not the most of the season. The track length is average. The fact that the Ferraris are only 0.2s behind Lewis with a new, upgraded engine is encouraging.

      It shows that Ferrari isn’t too far away from Mercedes in term of engine performance, and remember that they still have 7 tokens to use until the end of the season. So we can still hope for a competitive 2015 ending or a competitive 2016.

      What surprises me is how slow Rosberg is. Rosberg, Vettel, Kimi are all using engines that they used at Spa. So is the Mercedes old engine actually slower than the Ferrari engine here?

      With the Merc-powered cars dominating the qualy, I’d say it’s due to lack of set-up for Rosberg.

      1. @ducpham2708, You got your facts wrong. Ferrari had 7 tokens left, used 3 and thus have 4 more to use this season. So Kimi and Vettel were on new updated engines. Rosberg was indeed on a old one which has done 5 GP’s.

      2. The Merc Spa engine had already done 6 races, it will have been more down on power from new than the Ferrari engines were.

    4. A few surprises there: the close proximity of Ferrari; Kimi sneaking ahead of Seb after FP, and Nico unable to respond to the Ferrari pace even considering the engine change.

      1. Um..guess it was just another poor Saturday performance from Rosberg compared to Lewis, but the old engine looks slower than the current Ferrari one…

        Either way, i’m hoping for a thriller tomorrow.
        Keeping these fingers crossed for Kimi ;)

        1. Hamilton’s lap was already poor. I don’t think all that deficit came from Rosberg. One of them was driving with a brand new upgraded engine while the other was driving his 6th race with an older spec engine.

      2. Kimi got the tow, which may have been tactical on SV’s part.

        1. If SV got the tow, he might have gotten the pole. They would have Vettel ahead of Hamilton. Instead they have Raikkonen ahead of Rosberg and Vettel now.

          1. Judging from SV’s post-qual response, he was fully aware he could have been ahead. It was his choice to be lead on the 2nd go-round. Amazing example of teamwork and sportsmanship.

        2. I don’t think 4 seconds gap between two drivers would give any tow to the one behind… If you closely watch q3 , you surely should have seen Kimi at out lap put a margin gap between himself and Seb due to understeer. There was a radio message about it.

    5. If rosberg’s showing is a guide Mercedes brought the new spec engine just in time.

      1. Not really, the Merc-powered cars are still extremely fast here. Remember that Rosberg had to change his engine right before qualy, which means he didn’t have time to optimize his engine’s settings for the best performance.

        1. This track is the last place you expect marginal issues like ice “optimization” to put Mercedes behind anyone. Given the narrow lead Hamilton has with the new motor, it seems clear Ferrari have make a major step with their PU.

          1. @dmw I don’t agree. At least not entirely. Optimizing anything and everything in an F1 car to work with the entire set-up can be crucial. It’s impossible to know if that’s what cost Rosberg the pole, but it definitely played a role.

          2. *didn’t meant “the pole”, meant second/third place.

    6. These 2 homies at SF make perfect team. Props!

      1. They asked Vettel what he and Kimi were speaking about after the quali:
        “We were waiting for Lewis, I think he was trying to finish his hair!”

    7. Nico was poor during the qualifying but Ferrari is certainly closer than usual. I don’t know this is due to PU update or just chassis characteristics.

      1. Rosberg switched back to his old Spa engine that’s why he was poor in Qualifying.

        1. Laura didn’t think that’s all it was, I would also not agree that old engine can make the car this much slower.

        2. Do you think he’d have got pole without the engine change? On the evidence of the rest of this season I don’t think it makes a jot of difference.

    8. We know Ferrari are not as good with their down-force or engine. Take away the down-force requirement and what we have is .250 off Mercedes over short-ish lap with substandard lap from Lewis. I’m thinking it will be back to the usual gap after Monza.

      1. your posts all reek the same.

    9. Of course hats off to “Luigi” . He’s been bulletproof so far.

    10. McLaren top speed was 343 for JB car en the best Merc was 351 But still end almost 3 sec behind.
      Alonso say the don’t have enough speed. Look like the Mclaren aero Or chassis is BAD too.
      any one have some telemetry to share about the Mc

      1. Analyzing Macca is just like analyzing Lotus team, it really doesn’t make sense.

      2. JB got a tow on his lap, said so on the Sky interview.

        1. That look right Alonso was only 335 but faster than the bulls and the toro rosso at top speed but slower a sec in lap time to them.

        2. @far Comparing top speeds blindly as a way to determining PU-power is a pointless exercise, since we don’t know what conditions the chassis are calibrated under. For all we know (and I assume it’s the case), Mercedes can allow themselves a high-downforce setup (higher cornering speed, lower top steep) and still remain incredibly fast in the straights.

          McLaren probably went for lower drag/higher top speed, because they can’t really do anything else, can they. Though I do agree that we’ve seen nothing particularly encouraging about McLaren’s chassis.

          1. No encouraging at all, that’s the reason I a compare them to the bulls and toro rosso they run almost flats wings too and still are fasters so this look like the Mc are behind this 2 in the chassis and aero not just the PU.
            the Manors are only over 1.3 sec behind to the Maclaren.

      3. petebaldwin (@)
        5th September 2015, 18:13

        I love how McLaren had grid penalties which have resulted in them starting in a higher position than they qualified! So that’s a free engine then basically!

    11. This qualifying result is really interesting in terms of relative pace from all participants. I’m sure that matching the power for the race is tougher.
      Anyway it’s Saturday and this time after a while, there’s no race on BBC. It’s Sky this week…unfortunately. When is Sky apologizing for mucking up the Arai engine story? Arai was talking about the ICE not the PU. Sky is protective of the F1 brand but they keep instigating bad stories.
      When will anyone stop hiring Mark Hughes? His pointers are more times than not off the ball park.
      It’s tough to look at F1 from the outside but since when is Ferrari weak in braking and braking stability? 2014. It’s a new year and it’s on it’s second half.
      Ferrari, Brembo, mechanical set-up and their brake-by-wire is certainly working, the Ferrari have been phenomenal under braking, the Sauber has also improved, so it’s certainly break-by-wire and PU related. A good example of how good the Ferrari is under braking is Vettel at Canada and Hungary.
      Now for Sunday it’s clear that Lewis is favourite and it’s a matter of seeing how much can Ferrari replicate on Sunday.
      I’ve just watched Kimi’s and Lewis’s lap side-by-side and Kimi loses a little on the end of straights and a more on the fast turns. The Mercedes is more powerful and has more downforce. Lewis admitted that his lap was not great and you can see why, Kimi’s was perfect, which means there’s much more time on Hamilton’s pocket. Nice race in prospect for the rest of the field.

      To my dear Mark Hughes, predictions are not that hard! Romain said Monza should should suit Lotus even better than SPA. I said Lotus would be the slowest of the Merc powered cars. I was right. Why Lotus is bad on braking, not Ferrari.

      1. Agreed on all accounts. Where did it come from that Ferrari had problems with braking I dunno… I thought there is something going on behind the scenes I’ve never heard of. Like you said, it’s so obvious most of the time how comfortable Vettel is with the brakes that you can actually “see” with your own eyes. And Lotus is not good in that department.
        Raikkonen’s lap was prett-ty good indeed. Vettel had a slide at one point, maybe that cost him a little, but Hamilton’s lap was probably the worst of the three. I read somewhere else people saying how Hamilton made the difference and how actually Ferrari was as fast as Mercedes if not faster in Monza. LMAO

        1. Hamilton himself said it wasn’t a good lap.

    12. Well the cats are among the pigeons, hopefully bodes well for some fun tomorrow.
      First turn should be interesting…Hope the corner workers have sufficient brooms…

      1. Yep @budchekov. Turn 1 should be epic. Bring it on.

    13. Two weeks in a row of working Saturday but Ferrari gladden my heart. Hope the race turns out to be good as well since there seems to be weak tiger in between the hyenas.

      Kimi finally gets one over Seb. Hoping for a Ferrari double on the podium.

    14. They really have to sort out these engine and gearbox penalties.

      You can’t have a situation where you watch the match then look up on your computer an hour later to see the result.

      No-one is seriously trying to bring the costs down. All that happened was that Merc spent a ton of money up front, and the rules don’t take that into account. It’s real life, whoever has got the most money will spend it.
      And what is the point of consigning Honda or any new engine supplier to the back of the grid for 3 years?

      When I heard Croft announce the long list of ludicrous penalties, I gave up watching.

    15. Can anyone please clarify the engine specification rules that state “A power unit manufacturer must use and supply only one power unit specification” or, once a power unit manufacturer upgrades his power unit design by the use of tokens, all his power units being used on the grid will have to be of the same specification, no matter the mileage or serviceable status of the previous specification.

      This doesn’t seem to be the case with Rosberg who has changed his motor at Monza to an older spec. Nobody seems to have interpreted this rule satisfactorily or I must be thick (probably) because it’s still not clear. No problem with Ferrari as I believe all customers re running the updated engine, but if Ferrari team are running a new spec, then Sauber should too? No problem with Renault who have still not spent any tokens. No problem with Honda – there are probably no “older spec” engines left running!

      Just Merc and possibly Ferrari.. Anybody?

      1. @baron They made a mess of the rules since they discovered the “loophole” which allows them to develop in-season. Long story short, the one-specification-rule doesn’t apply anymore. It should according to the rule-book, but it doesn’t ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      2. The one specification rules does and still applies. The same engine specification means the same homologated engine. Notice that Marussia uses the Ferrari 2014 engine, this is different from the 2015 spec obviously, but that engine was the same one that all Ferrari engined teams used at the start of 2014. For example, next year Marrusia can use the 2015 engine, Redbull the 2015 Merc engine and so on, and it would all be seen as the same specifications. In other words the manufacturers are not allowed to have two homologate two different engines at the same time but that does not mean that the teams have to use the same versions.

    16. By the way, Forza Ferrari!

    17. The first paragraph of Q3 ends with this ” who lowered a 1’23.297 to take provisional pole ” and the time table shows different time on L.Hamilton, slower time!

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