Lewis Hamilton has dominated the Italian Grand Prix qualifying session, finishing almost half a second quicker than Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes.

The Mercedes drivers were in a field of their own throughout the entire session, as the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen could only get within eight-tenths of a second to the Silver Arrows to line up on the second row of the grid.

Ferrari sent Vettel and Raikkonen out in Q1 on the soft tyre saving a set of super softs for the race, although when it came to Q2 they opted to play it safe and start the session on the super softs, while both Mercedes’ managed to get through to Q3 on the softs, meaning they will start tomorrow’s race on the more durable tyre.

Red Bull Racing also attempted the same strategy, but as Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen sat in ninth and 10th position towards the end of Q2, both drivers swapped to the super softs to ensure their progression into the final qualifying session.

Ricciardo’s best time of 1:22.389 was 1.2 seconds off Hamilton’s benchmark but good enough for sixth position, just 0.001 seconds off Williams’ Valtteri Bottas in fifth.

Verstappen comfortably beat the two Force India drivers in seventh, as Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were four-tenths off the Dutchman’s pace. Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez rounded out the top 10 for what was the team’s first Q3 appearence in Formula 1.

Felipe Massa was narrowly knocked out of Q2 when Sergio Perez improved his time being last over the line. Romain Grosjean also failed to make Q3 as he was two-tenths slower than his team mate Gutierrez, whose best lap put him ahead of Verstappen and the two Force Indias ahead of Q3.

Fernando Alonso out-qualified his team mate Jenson Button in 13th, while the Manor of Pascal Wehrlein split the McLaren’s for an impressive 14th.

The Toro Rosso failed to gain much speed since Friday practice as despite making Q2, Carlos Sainz will line up one position ahead team mate Daniil Kvyat who was eliminated in Q1.

Manor’s qualifying was met with mixed fortune, while Wehrlein made it into Q2 knocking Toro Rosso’s Kvyat out with a lap after the chequered flag, Esteban Ocon failed to set a time when his car lost power.

The Frenchman was driving down the main straight when his Manor lost power, forcing him to pull over in the Turn 1/2 chicane. This is the second time Ocon has had electrical issues this weekend, as a similar issue plagued his FP1 outing.

Also eliminated in Q1 were the two Sauber drivers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, along with the Renault pairing of Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen.

Q3 Qualifiers Team / Entry Result Gap
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid 1:21.135
2. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid 1:21.613 + 0.478
3. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H 1:21.972 + 0.837
4. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H 1:22.065 + 0.930
5. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 1:22.388 + 1.253
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 1:22.389 + 1.254
7. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 1:22.411 + 1.276
8. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 1:22.814 + 1.679
9. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 1:22.836 + 1.701
10. Esteban Gutiérrez Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 1:23.184 + 2.049
Q2 Qualifiers Team / Entry Result Gap**
10. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 1:22.967 + 1.469
12. Romain Grosjean^ fr Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 1:23.092 + 1.594
13. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:23.273 + 1.775
14. Pascal Wehrlein de Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 1:23.315 + 1.817
15. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:23.399 + 1.901
16. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 1:23.496 + 1.998
Q1 Qualifiers Team / Entry Result Gap*
17. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 1:23.825 + 1.971
18. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 1:23.956 + 2.102
19. Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 1:24.087 + 2.233
20. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 1:24.230 + 2.376
21. Kevin Magnussen dk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 1:24.436 + 2.582
Outside 107% Team / Entry Result Gap*
DNQ. Esteban Ocon fr Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 no time

* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:21.854 posted by Lewis Hamilton
** Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1.21.498 posted by Lewis Hamilton

^Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Romain Grosjean – who provisionally qualified 12th-fastest – will drop 5 grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change.

Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas

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Josh Kruse

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