Hamilton Regains Form; Takes Pole in Italy

MONZA, Italy- Following the debacle with teammate Nico Rosberg two weeks ago at Spa-Franchochamps, Lewis Hamilton got back down to business as the Briton dominated all three qualifying sessions Saturday afternoon to beat Rosberg, while taking the fastest time of 1:24:109, for a Mercedes 1-2 for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Italy. Despite it was Hamilton’s 34th pole of his career, the 2008 world champion has not won a pole since May in Spain. Williams pilot Valterri Bottas finished third.

“I feel excited for tomorrow,” Hamilton said, talking to ESPN F1’s Laurence Edmondson. “I’m very proud of my guys on the side of the garage. They’ve also been through a difficult time with me and they’ve done an incredible job in terms of bouncing back and fixing the car and dealing with difficulties. We’ve done it as a team and I’m really happy to be up here for them.”

Hamilton began his domination of this qualifying period by taking the first session on a clear day, with the best time of 1:25:363. No incidents occurred on his session and throughout the entire day. But the normal back markers of the Maurussia and Caterham teams were joined by Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean, who finished 17th and 18th, respectively, and were eliminated from continuing on.

Hamilton improved his time in the following session, with a 1:24:560, while the list of drivers exiting the final session were Toro Rosso drivers Dani Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne, Force India’s Nico Hulknenberg, and the Sauber pair of Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil. Also joining this group was Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, who will start the race in a disappointing 12th.

Hamilton showed his domination even more in the final session, recording his fastest time with many minutes to go in this concluding period, while Williams second driver, Felipe Massa led the best of the rest by finishing fourth. The McLaren duo of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button had their best qualifying performances of the season, taking fifth and sixth, respectively. Fernando Alonso could do no more than seventh for the home fans, while Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Sergio Perez took the final third qualifying position in tenth.

Hamilton finally told Edmondson that nothing has changed in two weeks and the two Mercedes driver are still free to race.

“We’re free to race.” He said. “That was the decision last weekend, so it continues as usual. Tomorrow it will be really good to get another 1-2 for the team, which has been working really hard. I hope we also have some competition because that will be great for the fans. As for me, I’m feeling good.”

“It’s happened quite a few times on my side of the garage, but I feel optimistic.” Hamilton continued about his latest about his car issues. “The guys have been able to fight whatever problem we have had this weekend and it’s not really a mindset that you can go into a race with, thinking ‘what if?’ I’ve got what I have and I’m going to do the best with it.”

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