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Qualifying highlights - Italy 2014 - Mercedes power dominates as Räikkönen drops back

Published by Christine

A quiet session on Saturday in Monza
Credit: Pirelli S.p.A.

A bright sunny morning at Monza played host to the first part of the Mercedes showdown. That's what everyone's talking about, isn't it? Alongside the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, we also had plenty of other things to watch. Kamui Kobayashi made his Caterham comeback in style, whilst Lotus found themselves down and out with reliability struggles.

At least one top name dropped out in the second session, and it was a battle of two halves in the top ten - depending what power unit each driver was running. If you missed any of the action or want a quick recap of the three sessions, the FBFB replay below will be just what you're looking for.

As it happened: Italy 2014 - Qualifying

  • 12:30

    Hello FBFB friends, it's the Italian Grand Prix weekend and you've tuned in just in time for coverage of qualifying. We've got half an hour until the fight for pole position - who are you betting on?

  • 12:30

    TweetTweet from @danielricciardo: Qualy's gonna be tight. We all got a good scrap ahead of us. Just gotta use the right foot a little more than the others

  • 12:31

    In final free practice this morning, the top nine were within a second of each other - no mean feat when there is such a dependency on power around this track.

  • 12:31

    Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in FP3, but Nico Rosberg had to sit the session out with a gearbox problem. It was the other way round yesterday when Lewis missed some running. Things still very equal at Mercedes then!

  • 12:31

    TweetTweet from @MercedesAMGF1: UPDATE: It was an electronics problem on @nico_rosberg's car - now all fixed, car going back together. No need to change the gearbox

  • 12:33
    Factbyte Factbox image

    Pirelli have opted to bring the two hardest compounds to Monza, with the orange sidewalls on the hard tyre and the familiar white paint of the mediums. They're expecting a one-stop to be the norm in the race tomorrow, which might ease the pressure on saving tyres today.

  • 12:35

    Qualifying has been dominated by Mercedes this year, as I'm sure you're well aware. Felipe Massa managed to sneak a P1 grid slot on just one occasion, can anyone else do the same today?

    2014 Pole Positions
    1N Rosberg7
    2L Hamilton4
    3F Massa1
  • 12:38

    There's plenty of attention on the Mercedes drivers this weekend after their big fallout in Belgium. Rosberg has apologised and reportedly been sanctioned, but Hamilton says they are still free to race and will just have to avoid a repeat of the situation. If they line up on the front row together again, though, it could be tricky!

  • 12:40

    Ferrari have the home crowds to please, with the tifosi rocking up to Monza with their flags flying. So far, both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen have seemed pretty strong in practice, although the times won't always translate to qualifying. Alonso was second in FP3, just behind Lewis Hamilton.

  • 12:43

    Monza being made up of a handful of long straights means its not traditionally that hard on braking, however we have heard a handful of drivers complaining about their brakes so far this weekend. Reliability is starting to be a key factor at this point in the season.

    Braking Analysis
    Turn 1
    (forecast data from Brembo)
    Initial speed341km/h
    Final speed85km/h
    Stopping distance139m
    Braking time2.60s
    Maximum deceleration5.54g
    Maximum pedal load135kg
    Braking power2387kw
  • 12:44

    Daniil Kvyat is set to become the first driver of 2014 to take an engine-related grip drop, after Toro Rosso put in his sixth power unit on Friday. With only five allowed, that means a ten place grid drop for the Russian. Apparently there's also a rule in which, if he is too far down the grid to drop back the full ten places, the leftover grid drop will apply in Singapore instead. Kvyat has so far been a good qualified though, making several appearances in the top ten.

  • 12:45

    TweetTweet from @PhilDuncanF1: The Italian GP has been won from pole 11 times in the last 14 years, making it more important than Monaco (9) in the same period.

  • 12:51

    There's been a lot of consternation about the new asphalt runoff at the Parabolica, replacing the gravel trap. There's some astroturf that will affect drivers if they run too wide, but they won't be penalised quite so much as in previous years.

  • 12:52

    Weather icon

    Wind speed1.9mps
  • 12:53

    TweetTweet from @Marussia_F1Team: The scene is set for a cracking Qualifying here in #Monza #ItalianGP. Go Jules. Go Max. Good luck!

  • 12:55

    Rosberg makes his way to the garage, stopping off for a bit of a team hug and gee up with some friends. He looks ready for the fight despite having to sit out the session this morning.

  • 12:58

    Drivers are getting strapped into their cars now, with just a couple of minutes left to go. Hopefully, they can firmly attach Kevin Magnussen's head rest as it came loose on Friday, much to the Dane's consternation.

  • 13:00

    Green flagQualifying session 1 begins.

  • 13:01

    Drivers are heading out very quickly to get banker laps in, the Marussia pair got out of the pit lane first, and they're super close on track.

  • 13:02
    Sutil ready for qualifying
    Credit: OfficialSF1Team/Twitter
  • 13:02

    There's always the opportunity for slingshotting drivers around here, getting one very close to the other to utilise the slipstream. It didn't work out very well for Ferrari last year though, and can be a bit embarrassing.

  • 13:03

    Kamui Kobayashi crosses the line to set his first lap time, a 1:28.299. The Japanese driver sat out the race in Belgium, so will be happy to get back to business here in Italy.

  • 13:05

    Rosberg's first lap time is about ten seconds off the time, as drivers warm up their tyres and cars gradually. Kobayashi really did set the benchmark there!

  • 13:05

    Both Toro Rosso drivers improve and drop the benchmark, Kvyat setting a 1:26.734.

  • 13:06

    For reference, last year's pole position was set by Sebastian Vettel (shocker!) with a 1:23.755.

  • 13:07

    Now the Mercedes are on it, with Hamilton jumping up to P1, and Massa just pipping Rosberg to P2.

  • 13:08

    Replays show Kvyat locking up into the first chicane, big bald spot on the front right of that Toro Rosso now.

  • 13:08

    Grosjean has yet to leave the garage, the Lotus crew are hurriedly putting everything back together after correcting an fluid leak issue.

  • 13:10

    Felipe Massa crosses the line for P1, a 1:25.528. That's less than half a tenth ahead of Hamilton though, so super close at this halfway point.

  • 13:10
    Delays for Grosjean
    Credit: Lotus_F1Team/Twitter
  • 13:10

    At the rear of the field, the drop zone includes Bianchi, Sutil, Chilton, Kobayashi, Ericsson and of course Gorsjean who hasn't appeared yet.

  • 13:11

    It looks like the Frenchman may be ready to leave the garage at any moment though.

  • 13:12

    Several drivers have messed up at the first chicane, including Alonso and Vettel, plus Nico Rosberg - who has set the benchmark time of 1:25.493 now.

  • 13:12

    Most have headed back to the pit lane now for just a moment before potentially heading out again for the final flying laps.

  • 13:13

    Romain Grosjean finally makes it out of the garage, he's straight on the softer of the two compounds and heading off for his first lap of the session.

  • 13:13

    Less than five minutes on the clock now, and it's 1.5 seconds between P1 and P13.

  • 13:15

    On board with Nico Hülkenberg shows the German running slightly too wide at a couple of corners as he battles with understeer on the Force India. He's currently in 13th looking to improve.

  • 13:15

    Up to ninth place for Hülkenberg after fighting his way round that lap. The track is improving rapidly as Vergne improves to fifth.

  • 13:16

    Grosjean's first lap sees him only 19th, which just isn't good enough. Maldonado has also been dropped into the bottom six after Sutil hauled his way all the way to... 16th. On the bubble for the Sauber driver.

  • 13:17

    Team radioTeam radio to Romain Grosjean: "For the final timed lap, try to get a tow from Bianchi in front of you."

  • 13:18

    Except Bianchi moved out of the way and allowed the Lotus through without much benefit at all.

  • 13:18

    The top four are currently back in the garage, happy with their laps.

  • 13:18

    Chequered flagQualifying session 1 ends.

  • 13:18

    Pastor Maldonado is informed not to change gear anymore after a problem with the car. Bad day for Lotus.

  • 13:19

    Kobayashi improved on his final lap to jump ahead of both the Marussia drivers. A great job by him.

  • 13:20
    Out in Q1
    17P MaldonadoLotus
    18R GrosjeanLotus
    19K KobayashiCaterham
    20J BianchiMarussia
    21M ChiltonMarussia
    22M EricssonCaterham
  • 13:20

    The fastest three in that session were Hamilton, Rosberg and Massa.

  • 13:21

    Maybe I should do the fastest five, as you always know who two of them are going to be. Let's throw in Bottas and Vergne into the mix as well.

  • 13:22

    TweetTweet from @Lotus_F1Team: We expected qualy to be tough for us here. It was.

  • 13:23

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: At the end of Q1 Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have only used the P Zero Orange hard tyre.

  • 13:25

    Green flagQualifying session 2 begins.

  • 13:25

    16 drivers prepare for the next session, and lo and behold, the pit lane light goes green. No one is waiting at the end of the pit lane this time, but Nico Hülkenberg makes an early start to his campaign.

  • 13:27

    Kvyat exits the pit lane to start his installation lap. The Russian will hope to get a bit further up the grid, knowing there's a ten place drop waiting for him.

  • 13:29

    Hülkenberg's first lap time, the only on the board so far, is a 1:31.488 which is pretty slow compared to what we're expecting.

  • 13:30

    11 drivers are out on track looking to shave some seconds off Hülkenberg's lap time though.

  • 13:31

    Rosberg pops up to P1 with a 1:24.6, and the two Williams drivers slot in behind him.

  • 13:32

    Rosberg's team radio in both sessions so far has suggested the driver would like to do more laps to be safe, whilst the pit wall would prefer to limit the running to what is absolutely necessary. A lack of confidence from Nico so far.

  • 13:34

    Vettel and Ricciardo are matching each other for lap times out on track, with Sebastian just inching ahead of his teammate at the moment. They are disappointingly down in 8th and 9th.

  • 13:34

    Lewis Hamilton drops the benchmark to 1:24.560, making it two Mercedes', two Williams and then Fernando Alonso.

  • 13:35

    Jenson Button's doing a pretty good job out there, sitting sixth, but he's a full second off the pace of the top runners.

  • 13:36

    All the drivers have returned to the pit lane now, making those final preparations for the fight to get into the top ten.

  • 13:36

    Felipe Massa has admitted to a mistake on his lap, so he's looking for even more. The Brazilian is currently sitting in fourth place, a tenth off his teammate.

  • 13:38

    The drop zone currently features Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, Jean-Éric Vergne, Nico Hülkenberg, Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrian Sutil.

  • 13:38

    Teammates finding themselves close to each other, due to the high speed nature of the track. Sauber and Toro Rosso, Red Bull and the top four all have teammates right next to each other.

  • 13:39

    Kimi Räikkönen headed out earlier than the rest of the field, but he's messed up that first lap. Hit the first part of the chicane okay but then ran too wide in the next, and ended up backing off that lap.

  • 13:39

    The track is getting busy now with all sixteen racers out there attempting to get the best out of their cars.

  • 13:40

    Chequered flagQualifying session 2 ends.

  • 13:40

    Sutil can't improve on his own time, thus dropping out in Q2.

  • 13:41

    Vergne does go faster but it's still not enough. Hülkenberg can't get out of the drop zone but Sergio Pérez does get up into the top ten!

  • 13:42

    Kimi Räikkönen had another mistake at the second chicane, and was unable to complete a super fast lap. He dropped down the order rapidly and misses out on the top ten.

  • 13:42
    Out in Q2
    11D KvyatToro Rosso
    12K RäikkönenFerrari
    13JE VergneToro Rosso
    14N HülkenbergForce India
    15A SutilSauber
    16E GutiérrezSauber
  • 13:43

    The fastest three (five) in that session were Hamilton, Rosberg and Bottas. (Massa and Alonso).

  • 13:43
    Qualifying Battle
    Force IndiaQualified Ahead
    S Pérez4
    N Hülkenberg9
  • 13:45

    QuoteChristian Horner, on the Red Bull pit wall: "We’re extracting every ounce of performance as we can, we’re running as low a downforce as we can. To be honest, I think if we manage to get a car on the third row, we’ll have done well."

  • 13:47

    TweetTweet from @ToroRossoSpy: #ItalianGP Q2 final - #DK26 P11, #JEV25 P13. Ok, is not top ten, but well done guys, well done!

  • 13:47

    So into the top ten we have both drivers of Mercedes, Williams, Red Bull and McLaren, as well as Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez.

  • 13:48

    Green flagQualifying session 3 begins.

  • 13:49

    Slow start to the session again, drivers playing it cool. Sergio Pérez heads out first, taking his Force India out for a warm up run.

  • 13:50

    Team radioTeam radio to Sergio Pérez: "Degradation is low on this compound, I wouldn't be surprised if you better your run from Q2."

  • 13:51

    Now they get going, with Bottas and Massa heading out, followed by Mercedes.

  • 13:51

    All ten drivers on track now as Sergio Pérez crosses the line for his first lap. 1:26.230.

  • 13:53

    Nico Rosberg sets the early benchmark, then, a 1:24.552. Bottas is just a tenth of a second behind.

  • 13:53

    Massa finishes his first lap of the session and slots in behind his teammate.

  • 13:54

    Hamilton shaves four tenths of a second off Rosberg's time, taking provisional pole with a 1:24.1.

  • 13:54

    Alonso slips into P5, but is knocked down by Vettel who in turn is knocked down by Jenson Button.

  • 13:55

    A great lap by Button to take fifth place on this first run. Still 1.2 seconds off the top runners, but in turn three tenths over teammate Kevin Magnussen.

  • 13:56

    Ricciardo is on the radio complaining his tyres are going away before the end of the lap, making it tricky to get a good time. He's currently down in 9th with only Pérez behind him.

  • 13:57

    Rosberg's mechanics are poised with the tyre blankets, ready to whip them away for the championship leader's final qualifying run.

  • 13:57

    A brief pit stop for everyone and off they go again. Just over two minutes on the clock.

  • 13:58

    Team radioTeam radio to Nico Rosberg: "Don't pass the Williams."

    Planning some slipstreaming there.

  • 13:59

    Alonso weaves his way down one of the straights, really working on warming up those tyres to get the best possible final lap.

  • 14:00

    Chequered flagQualifying session 3 ends.

  • 14:00

    All the lap times still to be completed though.

  • 14:00

    Bottas remains third, Vettel sixth.

  • 14:01

    Rosberg can't go faster than his teammate, with Alonso also unable to improve.

  • 14:01

    Kevin Magnussen jumped his teammate for fifth place, and when Button comes across the line he does improve but doesn't take the place back.

  • 14:01

    StopwatchPole position for Lewis Hamilton with a time of 1:24.109.

  • 14:03
    Top Ten
    1L HamiltonMercedes
    2N RosbergMercedes
    3V BottasWilliams
    4F MassaWilliams
    5K MagnussenMcLaren
    6J ButtonMcLaren
    7F AlonsoFerrari
    8S VettelRed Bull
    9D RicciardoRed Bull
    10S PérezForce India
  • 14:03

    We were expecting the Mercedes power unit to dominate here, but that's a clear advantage for anyone with the German engine in the car.

  • 14:04

    Pretty even distribution here, too. Magnussen was a further half a second back.

    Gap Analysis
  • 14:05

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: P10 on the grid for Checo, P13 for Nico - plenty to fight for in tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix!

  • 14:07

    Clearly not much love between the two Mercedes driver as they face the waiting press for that top three photoshoot. A big gap between them, where in previous years we might have seen big hugs for them all. Poor Bottas, the gooseberry in that uncomfortable situation there.

  • 14:13

    QuotePost-qualifying press conference - Lewis Hamilton: "I feel excited for tomorrow. Very proud of my guys, my guys on the side of the garage have also been through the difficult time with me. They’ve done a remarkable job of every time bouncing back and fixing the car. We’ve done this as a team and it’s great to have another 1-2 for the team, I’m proud I can be up here for them."

  • 14:13

    QuotePost-qualifying press conference - Nico Rosberg: "We’re always going to be quicker in some parts and slower in some parts. Relative to my own lap it was an okay lap. Second place is still a good position for tomorrow. It’s a long race and everything can happen, just need to try and get a good start and have a good race. It’s so great, even on a track like Monza, where it’s such a different track to all the others, we’re still so dominant. Of course it’s only qualifying, the race remains to be seen, but it’s good to see. Everyone’s done a good job."

  • 14:14

    QuotePost-qualifying press conference - Valtteri Bottas: "I really hope [we can stay competitive with Mercedes]. From Friday to today, they seem to have a bit more pace. We expected maybe we could be a bit more closer to them today. I hope so, we have a solid race pace. It depends how much more pace they have left from Friday."

  • 14:15

    QuotePost-qualifying press conference - Lewis Hamilton: "[We are] free to race, that was the decision last week, so it continues as usual. I hope tomorrow, it would be really good to get another 1-2 for the team. They’re working extremely hard. I hope we have some competition from these guys, that would be great for the fans. As for me, I’m looking forward to it."

  • 14:16
    Top 3 in Monza on Saturday
    Credit: XPBImages/Twitter
  • 14:16

    Jenson Button sounds actually quite happy with starting sixth on the grid, although he was pipped at the last minute by his teammate.

    Qualifying Battle
    McLarenQualified Ahead
    K Magnussen7
    J Button6
  • 14:21

    Everyone will be focusing on the first row of the grid as the race gets underway tomorrow. There are a few things to watch out behind though - Alonso hoping to impress the home fans, Red Bull fighting amongst themselves, and what the Williams pair can do from the second row. Also, Kobayashi ahead of the Marussias, and Nico Hülkenberg trying to recover from a poor qualifying.

  • 14:21

    It's going to be a fascinating race, so I hope you can join me back here tomorrow for lap by lap coverage of the Italian Grand Prix.

  • 14:21

    See you then, fact fans!

All content in the series Italy 2014