OH YEAH! Lewis Hamilton secured his seventh straight pole of the 2015 season at the Italian GP. Image: AFP / Oli Scarff
MONZA, Italy - Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton continued to reign supreme in one-lap speed on Saturday when he secured his 11th pole position in 12 races for Mercedes by topping qualifying for Sunday's (August 6) Italian Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old Briton powered around the high-speed Monza track in warm sunshine to clock a best lap of 1min23.383 seconds and finish three-tenths clear of a resurgent Kimi Raikkonen, who was cheered to the flag in his Ferrari.
FERRARI ON THE FRONT ROW
The Finn, inspired by the tifosi packed into the main grandstand opposite the Ferrari pits, produced a flying late effort to beat his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who wound up third.
Raikkonen secured his first front row start for Ferrari since the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix.
The Ferrari revival was bad news for Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg who had to change engines before the session.
The German, who trails Hamilton by 28 points in the standings, reverted to an older power-unit and finished fourth, his worst qualifying result of the year.
49TH CAREER POLE
For Hamilton, it was a seventh straight pole, enabling him to emulate Michael Schumacher, the last driver to achieve the feat in 2000-01. The record is held by Ayrton Senna with eight in 1989.
It was Hamilton's 49th career pole and signalled his 20th front row start in succession. His success also extended Mercedes team's run to 23 poles, one short of the record set by the Williams team in 1993.
Brazilian Felipe Massa was fifth fastest ahead of his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas, Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India and Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus.
Nico Hulkenberg was ninth for Force India ahead of Swede Marcus Ericsson of Sauber.
2015 Italian GP qualifying results
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min23.397
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min23.631
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1min23.685
4. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min23.703
5. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 1min23.940
6. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min24.127
7. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 1min24.626
8. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min25.054
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min25.317
10. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 1min26.214
11. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 1min24.525
12. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber 1min24.898
13. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 1min25.618
14. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) RedBull 1min25.796
15. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull
16. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min26.058
17. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1min26.154
18. Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia 1min27.731
19. Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia 1min27.912
20. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso (No time)