Italian GP: Lewis Hamilton ends pole drought at Nico Rosberg`s expense
Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position in eight attempts on Saturday when he finally outpaced his Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg in qualifying on Saturday for Sunday`s Italian Grand Prix.
Monza: Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position in eight attempts on Saturday when he finally outpaced his Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg in qualifying on Saturday for Sunday`s Italian Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old Briton clocked a best lap of 1minute 24.109seconds to take pole by more than two-tenths of a second and boost his hopes of winning to claw back some of Rosberg`s 29 points advantage in the title race, with seven races remaining.
The battling duo, who had collided at the Belgian Grand Prix two weekends ago, barely acknowledged each other as they climbed from their cars. There was no handshake and no joyous celebration.
It was Hamilton`s first pole since the Spanish Grand Prix on May 10, his fifth this season and the 36th pole of his career - and a clear signal that their bitter rivalry has motivated him to produce his best form.
The Mercedes men celebrated their one-two annexation of the front row of the grid with all the right words afterwards, but their unsmiling faces have little away. "It`s great for the team," each man said in succession.
Finn Valtteri Bottas was third fastest ahead of his Williams team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa, the British team leapfrogging ahead of Ferrari and the rest with a much improved performance.
Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen was fifth and Briton Jenson Button sixth for McLaren ahead of the leading Ferrari driven by two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso. His team-mate Finn Kimi Raikkonen failed to make the top ten shootout after qualifying 12th.
Defending four time world champion German Sebastian Vettel was eighth for Red Bull ahead of his team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who on Sunday will bid for a third consecutive victory. Mexican Sergio Perez was 10th for Force India.
Hamilton topped the opening Q1 mini-session ahead of Rosberg, the two Mercedes men picking up where they had left off ahead of Massa and Bottas on a hot, sunlit day in the old royal park.
By mid-session, the air temperature was 25 degrees Celsius and the track temperature 44 degrees as the attention focused more and more on the front two men who were separated by so little it was almost nothing as they vied for the best time.
Rosberg was running with a repaired gearbox, but without penalties, having missed most of the morning`s final free practice session while Hamilton, quickest in the morning, had lost an hour on Friday afternoon. Their setbacks appeared to make no difference as they set the pace.
As the second mini-session ended, the shock for the `tifosi` was the sight of the 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen failing to make the top ten shootout in his Ferrari.
Hamilton was quickest again ahead of Rosberg and the two Williams led by Bottas.
When Q3 began, Perez was first out to set a marker lap in 1:26.230 that was soon trimmed by a determined Rosberg who went fastest in 1:24.552, a time that was designed to ask questions of Hamilton.
The Briton needed no prompting and immediately responded with a storming lap in 1:24.109, cutting himself clear by four-tenths of a second with by far the fastest lap of the qualifying hour.
Rosberg tried vainly to better it but came up short.