Italian Grand Prix: Hamilton takes historic pole position in Monza
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News September 2, 2017 Updated: 10:26 PM
MONZA, Italy -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton achieved a big career milestone when he took his 69th career pole position in a rain soaked qualifying session ahead of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix. This achievement breaks the all-time record held by seven time world champion and F1 legend Michael Schumacher.
"I think there’s been so much learnt over these years. So much growing, as there will continue to be growing to do. Today was a real challenge with the break. You’re in the zone for a second and then you get out of the car, you have 15 minutes to chill, then you get ready, get in the car, then you have to get back out, it was a real challenge to try to continuously try to keep your mind, not drained of energy while being in the zone but trying to step out of it and step back into. After playing the Playstation I was kind of a bit nervous whether or not I still was in the zone! But I was grateful when I got back out."
"Racing in the rain is... being in the wet in these cars is as great as its been in the other cars that we’ve had – but it’s such a challenge and this is such an epic circuit because unlike the new circuits the grip is often off-line – which is a normal characteristic of an older circuit, and so you get to utilise that. So, going out, finding where the grip is, as opposed to a new surface – like the straight for example – which a lot of the new tracks have, makes it a lot more fun. So, I really, really enjoyed it," said Hamilton.
Earlier this season Hamilton kicked off his historic run when he surpassed his hero Aryton Senna taking his 66th pole in Baku. Then, last weekend in Spa he drew level with Schumacher taking pole number 68.
The rest of the grid was not so fortunate. The wet weather conditions limited running in the third practice session and delay in the first half of qualifying. This plus a conglomerate of penalties caused numerous position shifts. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen put up a strong fight for pole and finished second followed by his teammate Daniel Ricciardo who took third. Both drivers did what they could to soften the blow for tomorrow's race. However, both will dropped down the order once their engine penalties are applied.
"To be second is, of course, a very nice surprise and in the wet I always enjoy it. Q1 and Q2 with the tyre choice was a bit difficult as the intermediates never seemed to work very well. In Q3 on the new extremes I didn’t have a lot of grip, I was sliding around and I never really felt that comfortable. I cooled the tyres for one lap and then my final lap was luckily not too bad," said Verstappen.
Williams driver Lance Stroll will move to second after qualifying fourth. Force India's Esteban Ocon, who qualified fifth, will move to third ahead of Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas in fourth.
As Ferrai prepare to do battle on their home track, drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel struggled in the wet conditions qualifying seventh and eighth but will start tomorrow's race in fifth and sixth. Williams' Felipe Massa finished ninth but will start seventh.
“Obviously, we didn’t have enough speed, but tomorrow I think it should be fun. It will be a long race on a track where you can overtake, so anything can happen. I don’t know what caused today’s result, but it was not ideal and we didn’t have the grip. Now we’ll try to understand what happened and then we’ll focus on the race," said Vettel.
"The starting position is not ideal but we’ll start in a bit better position thanks to penalties for the other cars. Now we have to wait and see how the weather will turn out. I’m sure that in the dry conditions it will be a lot different, our car should be working quite well," said Raikkonen.
McLaren-Honda driver Stoffel Vandoorne qualified in tenth, but he would receive multiple penalties, including a 25-space grid penalty for a power unit change Sunday morning, moving him down the order to 18th. Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat as well as Haas' Kevin Magnussen will enjoy a big jump up the grid. Kvyat, who qualified14th, moves to eighth and Magnussen finished 16th but will start ninth on Sunday.
Force India's Sergio Perez ended the day in tenth followed by Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein in 11th and 12th followed by Verstappen in 13th. Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg will start tomorrow's race in 14th.
Through continued reshuffling, Carlos Sainz starts tomorrow's race in 15th followed by Ricciardo in16th. Due to the numerous penalties suffered by other drivers, Joylon Palmer will enjoy a small move up the grid to 17th followed by Vandoorne with teammate Fernando Alonso in 19th.
After losing his car in the heavy wet conditions, Haas' Romain Grosjean's car made contact with the barrier along the main straight resulting in a damaged front wing and right rear wheel leaving him to start 20th.