The Italian Grand Prix is special. A look in the team garages to see the likes of FCA boss Sergio Marchionne and Mercedes chief Dieter Zetsch reveals just how much the Italian round of the championship means to to teams. Just one look at the scarlet coated grandstands shows how much it means to the fans, the tifosi. Just one look at the drivers shows how much it means to them, their commitment, their passion. Qualifying at Monza is all about speed and today we were treated to a spectacular show with Ferrari truly taking the fight to Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton just coming out on top in an intense battle for pole.
Hamilton’s pole time of 1:23.397, the fastest lap seen at Monza in years secured the Briton his 7th consecutive pole. Behind him Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were on point for the tifosi, matching sector times through one and two, with Raikkonen edging out just a couple of hundredths over his team mate to claim a front row spot. Nico Rosberg with his older spec power unit lines up alongside Vettel on row two. Williams locked out row three with Felipe Massa edging out Valtteri Bottas.
Sergio Perez fresh off the back of a great race at Spa, put his Force India seventh on the grid. Roman Grosjean gave Lotus something to smile about in eighth. Nico Hulkenberg came home ninth in the second Force India, Pastor Maldonado nipped at his heels in the second Lotus rounding out the top 10.
It is all to play for tomorrow. Ferrari has its best chance to win at home since Alonso and Massa battled with Button in 2010. Hamilton has the edge, but Kimi will enjoy his first front row start since the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix and Vettel will be keen to avenge his lost podium at Spa. This may well be the best Italian Grand Prix in years.
*indicates grid penalty