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 Italian GP.
Mercedes' reigning Formula One champion and pole position winner for Sunday's Italian GP Lewis Hamilton with third-placed Sebastian Vettel (left) and second-placed Kimi Raikkonen, both from Ferrari, after the qualifying session at the Autodromo Nazionale Circuit in Monza, Italy on Saturday. Pic/AFP
The 30-year-old Briton powered around the high-speed Autodromo Nazionale in warm sunshine to clock a best lap of one minute and 23.383 seconds and finish three-tenths clear of a resurgent Kimi Raikkonen, who was cheered to the flag in his Ferrari. The Finn produced a flying late effort to beat his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who wound up third.
The Ferrari revival was bad news for Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg who had to change engines before the session. The German reverted to an older power-unit and finished fourth, his worst qualifying result of the year.
"We had to go back to an engine that's done six races... and every kilometer you lose a bit of power. That's a really big compromise and the reason I'm fourth today, which makes the race tough," said Rosberg. But Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda disagreed with Rosberg.
"Nico was not down on power. He couldn't get the car to handle properly for his way of driving," said Lauda. Meanwhile, Hamilton said he hoped Nico can beat the Ferraris on Sunday. "I hope Nico can pull through and we can finish ahead of the two red cars, but they are very close, it'll be a tough race."