Monza Qualifying: Hamilton leads McLaren 1-2 as Ferrari’s plan backfires

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday 8 September 2012.

Lewis Hamilton will start the Italian GP from pole position

Sep.8 (GP247) Despite the trials and tribulations of the past week, Lewis Hamilton made no mistakes to claim pole position for the Italian Grand Prix ahead of his McLaren teammate Jenson Button while Ferrari‘s slip-streaming plan backfired mightily in front of the tifosi.

(L to R): Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren, pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari celebrate in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday 8 September 2012.Hamilton has been ‘hot’ all weekend, only beaten in the Friday morning session at the ‘Temple of Speed” and he carried the momentum right through qualifying, always at the upper end of the timing screens and then delivered the fastest lap of the weekend with his first run of Q3 – a time of 1 minute 24.010 seconds.

The 2008 world champion summed up his session, “It’s been a tough weekend. We managed to work on set up. Congratulations to the team. It was a great effort. I managed to get a half decent lap early in Q3 so I’m pretty happy. It’s great for the team to have Jenson up front, too. I haven’t had any distractions this weekend. It’s been quite positive. The support from my family and friends have been incredible. I’ve just been enjoying weekend. It’s been great so far.”

Second fastest, and making it an all McLaren front row, was Spa winner Button who has been a tad down on Hamilton all weekend but did enough to ensure a perfect qualifying result for the Woking squad.

Lewis Hamilton at Italian GP“First of all it’s fantastic for the team for us both to be on the front row. The last few races have shown the strength of the team,so to qualify at the front at Monza is great – I don’t think any other team has managed to do that this season. [But] being on the front row here doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy,” said Button.

Third on the grid and, for the first time this season, out qualifying his Ferrari teammate was Felipe Massa who was helped by a tow provided by Fernando Alonso on his first run, and it appeared that the reverse was planned with Massa set to tow the Spaniard on the final run, but things did not go according to plan and Alonso ended tenth fastest.

Massa explained afterwards,”I think he [Fernando Alonso] had a problem to be honest; I thought he’d do well here. I don’t know what problem he had but it was in Q3. I’m happy with the lap I did. We did the tow, but my best lap came when I was outside the tow at the end. I’m happy to be here, it’s always an important race for us here at Monza.”

Felipe Massa Ferrari Italian Garnd Prix MonzaFor championship points leader Alonso, who had a myriad of problems on the first day, it will be a blow because by the morning he had found strong pace in the F2012 and was quickest in both Q1 and Q2. In fact his best time – ironically his Q1 time of 1 minute 24.175 seconds would have put him third on the grid.

He wrote on Twitter, “After the quali, we miss the fight for pole with a failure! I think tomorrow will be a perfect day to recover some good positions.”

Performing way above his station was Paul Di Resta in the Force India who was fourth fastest, but due to a gearbox change will take a five place drop on the grid. His teammate, who starred at Spa a week ago, was dogged with a mechanical issue which prevented him doing any laps at all in qualifying and is destined to start from the back of the grid.

Five time winner of the Italian GP (more than any other driver) Michael Schumacher is still revered by the tifosi, and got the flags waving in the grandstands with the fifth fastest time, in the Mercedes. He will benefit from Di Resta’s misfortune and will start from fourth on the grid.

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday 7 September 2012.As at Spa, Red Bull were off the top pace throughout the weekend and will be in damage control mode come the race. Clearly the RB8 does not offer the energy drinks ‘boy’ the advantage that the RB7 had a year ago at the same place, when Vettel qualified on pole and drove away with the race. This time around the reigning world champion was sixth fastest and will start from fifth.

No bull from their straight talking Aussie who was way down in 11th, “No massive surprise, that’s roughly where we thought we’d be and where we ended up. We’ve got work to do. I was pretty happy with my lap.”

Nico Rosberg was seventh fastest in the Mercedes, the German driver’s struggles with the clumsy W03 evident inthe cockpit view as he literally wrestled his car through the turns and chicanes of Monza. The car seemingly not suiting his style any more, as it did in China, and appearing more suited to his teammate’s more aggressive style.

Monza this year has proved to be the great leveler as teams whose cars have been surprisingly quick just about everywhere else – Lotus, Sauber and Williams – have struggled noticeably at the fastest track on the calendar.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday 7 September 2012.Kimi Raikkonen, who would have expected to be closer to the benchmark pace with his Renault powered Lotus, was 0. 845 seconds down on Hamilton’s best on the way to the eighth best time.

Second on the grid at Spa, Kamui Kobayashi could only manage ninth at Monza and that took a big effort from the Japanese driver who is starting to raise his game, vis-a-vis his teammate Sergio Perez, who was 13th.

At the foot of the timing sheets Narain Karthikeyan got the better of his HRT teammate Pedro de la Rosa for the first time this season, and will not be starting from the back row of the grid for a change!

Thus McLaren have set themselves up in the best possible way for the race, and really the race is theirs to lose.

Ferrari on the other hand have apparently blown a chance of nabbing pole position on home soil and thus start the race on the back foot. But if anyone can turn eminent defeat into victory it is Alonso.

Add to the ingredients a couple of Red Bulls and an Iceman and we have the makings of another epic encounter. Bring it on as we like to say!

 Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying – Saturday, 8 September 2012

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.211 1:24.394 1:24.010 15
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.672 1:24.255 1:24.133 15
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:24.882 1:24.505 1:24.247 16
4 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:24.875 1:24.345 1:24.304 17
5 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:25.302 1:24.675 1:24.540 14
6 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.011 1:24.687 1:24.802 22
7 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.689 1:24.515 1:24.833 15
8 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:25.151 1:24.742 1:24.855 18
9 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.317 1:24.683 1:25.109 18
10 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:24.175 1:24.242 1:25.678 16
11 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.556 1:24.809 21
12 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:25.103 1:24.820 17
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.300 1:24.901 14
14 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:25.135 1:25.042 16
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:25.728 1:25.312 20
16 10 Jerome D’Ambrosio Lotus-Renault 1:25.834 1:25.408 19
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:25.649 1:25.441 18
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:26.382 11
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:26.887 11
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.039 10
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.073 9
22 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:27.441 9
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:27.629 10
24 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes No time 2
Q1 107% Time 1:30.067
  • Maldonado drops five grid spots for a jump start and five for causing a collision at the previous round.
  • Di Resta drops five for an unscheduled gearbox change.



  • Butterfly

    Fernando’s rear anti-roll bar has failed. He could start from the pit-lane tomorow. Damn.

  • alonso_is_slow

    Luck is a two bladed sword. Alonso is still paying back for all the luck he had in the season, while others had bad luck.

  • Butterfly

    Well, Vettel had good luck last year, when is he “paying” for it? Really, you’re talking out of your a*ss all the time. Go do something with your time…

  • Butterfly

    Still, Alonso said the car was capable of 23.5 easily, which means that Ferrari is a monster around Monza. He can win the race tomorow, no doubt about it.

  • Hawk

    Dream on..
    Not with a hard/medium combo => one stopper for top teams so he can’t come through the field.

  • Butterfly

    Regardless, even if he arrives to Singapore tied with Vettel, the fact that Alonso has a fast car at his disposal is enough to take the title. I would fear for his chances if the car was slow, which it clearly isn’t – heck, even Felipe can drive it now.

    Regarding tomorow’s race, he could win if he’s got .5 sec advantage over the pole-sitter, never mind those behind. Another Valencia 2012 is possible, even the perpetually-f*ucked-up visz can agree with me on this one.

  • Kimi4WDC

    Dissapointed by Kimi’s quali pace. Good things for tomorrow are:

    There are two DRS zones. Lotus topped speed traps. Long run pace was at top level two.

    Can’t wait. It’s going to be tough for leader to get away if 2nd guy not much slower.

  • Max Power

    So, not only did Grosjean take out Alonso at Spa but thanks to him Alonso’s car has major mechanical problems now as an after-effect of that crash. That crash at Spa could very easily cost Alonso the title now. Mclaren should really send a ‘thank you’ letter to Grosjean and pay him a large amount of money. Like always, Mclaren is riding on the misfortunes of other’s…how pathetic! I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole Grosjean crash was a big co-op between Mclaren and him. And the fact that Hamilton was involved in that crash as well just made that crash look legit. A bit far fetched but still very likely that that crash at Spa was actually meant to happen.

  • Butterfly

    Max Power:

    At the start of the year the Ferrari was too elastic and caused all sorts of problems. They solved those for the tracks up until Monza, maybe they failed to estimate the stresses on the chassis and that’s why it broke down.

    These teams have equipment to check for cracks in everything, they would not have raced with crappy parts.

  • kaka007

    As seen at spa last weekend, this doesn’t mean anything.
    And I will only look into the final results tomorrow. Any first lap or any lap crashes can make the already unpredictable race twice as much.


  • quattro_T


    Alonso is the highest scoring driver of all, except Vettel for the last 3 seasons. I guess he, using your “standards” has been “lucky” far longer than the last season.

    Let me make two qualified guesses:

    1. you are Brittish
    2. you are bitter

    One thing is at least certain – you are ignorant!

  • quattro_T


    “He could start from the pit-lane tomorow”

    Could you elaborate on why?

  • Butterfly


    At the time I didn’t know if the FIA allowed changing the broken component, but I now know they do, so he’ll start 10th.

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Appears that Ferrari and Merc power were the motors of the day, with Renault a tick short. Should be a great race with Alonso. MSC, Vettel , and Kimi working their way to the front, those dudes do great battle without bumps and shunts – so assuming they can stay in contact with Hamilton and Button, this could be a real race. If Button and Vettel one-stopping Spa indicates tire strategy is less an issue for the fast tracks (assuming the Monza left side wear doesn’t short circuit that), actual racing between cars and drivers will be what wins the day. IMHO Spa was the best race of the season so far, (excepting the opening mash-up), as the tires seemed a lot less of the story than actual racing. Monza may be another!

  • hillside

    Massa got this!

  • Max Power

    Oh please, both Ferraris have been rock solid up until now. Absolutely no mechanical problems whatsoever and all of the sudden Alonso’s car has multiple different issues in one weekend. The problems with Alonso’s car are clearly caused by the after-effects of that Grosjean crash last weekend, there’s no other explanation for it. Massa’s car was in top condition, because he wasn’t involved in that crash. Hopefully Alonso can have a problem free race tomorrow at least.

  • Butterfly

    If that’s the case, then Ferrari got cheap when it came to changing the car components? To save money? That sounds supremely retarded to me given Fernando is their main man.

    Nah, that can’t be the case… No way.

  • McLaren Fan

    @Max Power:
    What are you talking about more than anything it is the curbs that broke the anti-roll bar.

    whats with the anti-British?

  • f1 fan

    i hope that Lewis and all guyz have a problem free race tomo especially turn one !!

  • Speedo

    @Maxpower Alonso was not he only one Grosjean took out Lewis and Perez too. Even the McLaren had to be repaired and the mechanics did good. Therefore why should McLaren send a thank you note. For destroying Lewis’s race at Spa????

    Misfortune? what misfortune? Lewis is the one who had misfortune this season or else he would have been leading the WDC. To jog your memory here are the misfortunes Lewis suffered. 1) Three races were messed up by his pit crew. 2) Five place grid penalty for change of gear box. 3) From Pole position to last P24 for the pit crew underfuelling 4) Maldonado bashes into Lewis when he was second and out of the race. 5) Grosjean bashes into Lewis at the start in the last race. These are what you call misfortune. Who benefited – Alonso. Alonso has been lucky as the rain has helped him. You sound pathetic just because Alonso is P10

  • f1 fan

    I agree but MSC has had more misfortunes than Lewis !

  • Andy – London

    A lot of arguing on here as usual. After reading all the posts:

    Grosjean didn’t take out Alonso on purpose, or any other car, he’s just unaware of the cars around him and only fast when in quali or when he’s at the back due to an incident.

    Alonso has taken the title as far as he can the past 2 years from a position way back in the standings but this year at least he has a lead that might be slowly going away, but he’s not chasing the guy at the top. I think anyone would be foolish not to see that he is clearly the best driver this year (and I am from LONDON please note)

    I know Lewis has been an unfortunate victim of some terrible pitstops this year but hasn’t Alonso been a victim of some terrible cars for the last 3 years? I think Lewis should be a 3 time world champion by now.

    I wouldn’t count Vettel out for some good points. He is showing that he is more than a guy in a fast car last year. He came through to 2nd in Spa, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for him.

    Finally…I think Lewis looked very unhappy and “muted” in the press conference. He shrugged his shoulders while holding the water bottle standing for the top 3 photo in park ferme as if to say “there you go – what do I have to prove?”

  • Hawk

    MSC? Who cares? He has never been a WDC contender. We only talk about misfortunes of the 3!

  • fools

    Alonso has great race pace and if no accidents happen or mech. failures…Alonso will win the race or be podium. No doubt..

    His grid start are the best…he will make up 4 cars in the first lap yet alone. Im not worried…he will brings points in and will still lead the WDC after the race. He Alonso is very good in Singapore as well. Not worried at all.

  • quattro_T

    @McLaren Fan

    It is quite apparent to me (have been following F1 on BBC on occations since start of 2010) that Brittish media, consistently try to discredit Alonso/Ferrari. Every small opportunity is taken, and then some. At Silverstone this year, and event when Alonso put in an impressive drive, I was not shocked when (in post race forum) Brittish F1 fans in front of stage were hooting (not sure if right word) as soon as Alonsos name was mentioned. This (miss)behaviour is apparent on many english forums also. Hence, my guess he was English (apparently true).

  • Max Power

    I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that most of the main components in Alonso’s car are still the same as they were in Spa, because if I’m not mistaken there aren’t too many parts on the car that team’s can change without getting a penalty from the FIA. So that’s what I meant by ‘after-effects’.
    Can you or someone else tell me please, which parts on the car are allowed to change without getting a penalty? I know that for an engine change the driver will get a 10 place grid penalty, but which other parts aren’t allowed to change?

  • McLaren Fan

    The assumption that just because Alonso is not the most loved driver by British fans that someone slating him must be British is pathetic.
    I have my own reasons for not liking Alonso but I still admit he is 1 of the most complete drivers on the grid and he never gives up.
    Even Hamilton & Alonso have made friends at least on the surface.
    Also you should see just how many British fans actually support him.
    To assume is ignorant.

    @Max Power:
    According to the FIA regulations:
    Each driver may use no more than eight engines during a Championship season.
    Should a driver use more than eight engines he will drop ten places on the starting grid at the first Event

    Each driver may use no more than one gearbox for five consecutive Events in which his team competes. Should a driver use a replacement gearbox he will drop five places on the starting grid at that Event
    Event seals may be broken once, under supervision and at any time prior to the second day
    of practice, for the sole purpose of changing gear ratios and dog rings . These may also be changed under supervision for others of identical specification at any time during an Event provided the FIA technical delegate is satisfied there is evident physical damage to the parts in question.

    Parc Ferme
    Under these conditions, the work teams may carry out on their cars is limited to strictly-specified routine procedures, which can only be performed under the watchful eye of the FIA Technical Delegate and race scrutineers. Fuel may be added to the cars, tyres changed and brakes bled. Minor front wing adjustments are also allowed, but little else. These controls mean that teams cannot make significant alterations to the set-up of a car between qualifying and the race.

  • Emaaduddin

    I agree with Mclaren fan..
    I have lots of friends in UK who are massive Alonso fans.. They support Alonso more than Lewis and Jenson!!

  • Hawk

    Are they British? Is the question. Being in the UK is not enough. I do not think that generally British fans hate Alonso, but that does not mean they support him either. True F1 fans respect him like they do Messi, Barcelona, Spain, Guardiola, Nadal, etc

  • quattro_T

    @McLaren Fan

    “The assumption that just because Alonso is not the most loved driver by British fans that someone slating him must be British is pathetic.”
    You would be suprised how often this is the case, which implies the high probability supports the assumption.

    While I agree with you that “To assume is ignorant”, I behold that I was not being ignorant. My “assumption” was based on facts – observation of coverage and real life fans public behaviour. Comparing how petite achievments of other drivers are hailed largely, while distinct and extraordinary results of ALO, hardly get more that a minute or two of coverage, if at all. Story is of course different when something negative happens – coverage is suddenly extended and analysed thouroughly. This have been the story since he left the Mclaren team. I think that calling me “ignorant” when mentioning these observations and basing assumptions on them, instead of demanding objectiveness and integrity from professionals and fans is not right.