Vettel Takes 50th Red Bull Pole Position

Sebastian Vettel followed up on his Free Practice dominance to take pole position ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. The German stood alone as the contender for pole. His doing so also scored him Red Bull’s 50th pole position, an impressive record for a team which only began in 2005. Lewis Hamilton was ruled out as a possible pole contender following a Q2 knock-out, the first time since 2010 he has done so. Mark Webber was on the front row for the first time in Monza while Nico Hulkenberg was the talking point of the session, finishing 3rd. 

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was the first man out on track, having missed the majority of Fp3 due to an overheating issue. The German lapped the circuit and set a lap time but was almost immediately beaten by the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez, while Max Chilton slotted in behind the Mercedes.

Rosberg’s next lap was two-seconds up on his first attempt and put him at the top of the time sheets, whilst Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Adrian Sutil also got laps in. The Ferrari duo came out on track at their home race, and Fernando Alonso shot to the top of the standings while Felipe Massa slotted in fourth.

Jean-Eric Vergne took the baton from Fernando before overshooting the first corner and taking to the escape road. In the sister team, Mark Webber reported that he was running with electrical issue. In the other, more reliable Red Bull, Vettel went out for his first lap with six minutes remaining and went third, six-hundreths shy of Vergne.

Lewis Hamilton was the next man across the line and went first. Not for long though as Vettel’s next lap saw him now take the top spot. Romain Grosjean went sixth before skipping across the chicane at the first corner and returning to the garage. Esteban Gutierrez needed to improve – and did so by two-thousandths of a second, demoting Pastor Maldonado to seventeenth, until the Venezuelan retaliated and pushed the Mexican back into the knock-out zone. Adrian Sutil narrowly made it to the next session, with Valtteri Bottas failing to progress to Q2.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first man out of the pits in Q2 and stayed fastest as Nico Hulkenberg, Jean-Eric Vergne and Adrian Sutil came across the line behind him. Romain Grosjean spoiled his first lap by skipping across the chicane at the first corner, as he also did near the end of Q1.

The Ferrari duo came out next but neither driver gave the other a tow, as happened last year during Qualifying. Instead, Massa crossed the line in fourth while Alonso went fastest. Lewis Hamilton had a close call at the exit of the final corner, slipping wide and getting pulled into the gravel trap and throwing dust across the track. The Briton completed another lap but felt something amiss in the car and brought it into the garage.

The Red Bulls finally made an appearance on track, Webber going second behind Alonso before Vettel crossed the line and went fastest by .250. Hamilton came back out and went tenth on his first attempt, not nearly fast enough to feel secure. His final attempt was ruined by Adrian Sutil who refused to let him pass at Parabolica, despite not being on a fast lap.

And so the final ten progressed to the third session. The Ferrari duo were back out on track and Massa provided a slip-stream for his team-mate. Interestingly, they still couldn’t out-qualify Mark Webber who was then beaten by Sebastian Vettel. Nico Rosberg jumped to sixth for Mercedes while Daniel Ricciardo split the Mercedes’ to go fourth.

The ten remaining drivers came out for their final laps in the dying moments of Q3 and Mark Webber was the first man to go across the line, staying second behind Vettel. Jean-Eric Vergne got sideways out of the final corner and threw dust and gravel all over the corner while Ferrari’s attempt at a tow for Alonso failed and Massa qualified ahead of his team-mate. Rosberg was sixth for Mercedes and Ricciardo seventh for Toro Rosso while the McLaren duo took eighth and ninth with Vergne in tenth.

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Mark Webber
  3. Nico Hulkenberg
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Nico Rosberg
  7. Daniel Ricciardo
  8. Sergio Perez
  9. Jenson Button
  10. Jean-Eric Vergne
  11. Kimi Raikkonen
  12. Lewis Hamilton
  13. Romain Grosjean
  14. Adrian Sutil
  15. Pastor Maldonado
  16. Paul di Resta
  17. Esteban Gutierrez
  18. Valtteri Bottas
  19. Giedo van der Garde
  20. Charles Pic
  21. Jules Bianchi
  22. Max Chilton
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