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Saturday in Italy - team by team

03 Sep 2016

A round-up of all the action from qualifying at the Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken d'Italia 2016 at Monza...


Contrasting fortunes at Williams - Massa was disappointed to miss Q3 but 11th with free tyre choice is not necessarily a bad place to start for the Brazilian. Bottas did make the top-ten shoot out and split the Ferrari-Red Bull battle with a superb lap to grab fifth spot.

Valtteri Bottas, 5th, 1:22.388

"I felt it was a very good qualifying today. Fifth is a good position to start in and I’ll be on the clean side of the track, so we definitely maximised the potential of the car. I felt I did one of my best qualifying’s ever. I think we have a good chance to score some good points and I hope Felipe can also come back from P11 with a free choice of tyres to get some strong points for the team."

Felipe Massa, 11th, 1:22.967

"P11 is not where we expected to be today – we thought we would get into Q3 quite easily, so it’s a bit disappointing. I had to go very slow on my outlap before my second run in Q2, and as a result the tyres lacked the grip I needed to improve my time and everyone else was going quicker. The benefit is that I get a free choice of tyres tomorrow for the race which will help us with the strategy, so hopefully we can make the most of that."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"Overall I think it’s been a positive session for us, and a good weekend so far. I was fairly confident going into qualifying that we could get a result like this. Valtteri has absolutely maximised everything he could, and managed to get us ahead of the two Red Bull’s as well which will be great for the race tomorrow. Felipe wasn’t able to quite get his lap together in Q2 unfortunately, but starting P11 gives us a free choice of tyres and he showed great pace on Friday, so we can still get a lot from starting in that position."


Gutierrez put in a fantastic lap to get a Haas car into the final part of qualifying for the first time. He ran wide on his opening effort in Q3, suffering minor damage which was enough to hinder his second run. Grosjean had a disappointing day - problems with his gearbox in final practice left him beached in the gravel, and a subsequent gearbox change means he will carry a five-place drop into tomorrow's race.

Romain Grosjean, 12th, 1:23.092

“It was obviously disappointing to go into qualifying knowing I had the five-place grid penalty. We paid the price there that we didn’t have any running time this morning. I’m not very happy with qualifying. It’s great for Esteban to be out there in Q3. It’s great for the team. For me, I really struggled in qualifying to get the best from the car. With the tire pressures so high, it means you cannot push very hard. It’s a bit of a shame. We’ll see what we can achieve tomorrow in the race, but starting 17th is not ideal.”

Esteban Gutierrez, 10th, 1:23.184

“First of all, I have to say thank you to the team. I’m very grateful and proud of them because everybody has done a great job in achieving the consistency that has allowed us to work on the details that make the difference. In qualifying, for the first time we broke the top-10 barrier by getting into Q3. It was an amazing effort from everyone involved in setting up the car throughout the weekend and having the communication and level of understanding to make it work. The laps were fantastic. I really enjoyed them and I loved pushing the car. Today we have extracted the maximum from our opportunities and we have to make sure we do the same tomorrow.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“A great effort from the team again. Unfortunately, Romain had a transmission problem in FP3, which took him out pretty early. We couldn’t get him as prepared as we wanted to for qualifying. We came back, though. He qualified 12th, which is now 17th with the grid penalty. Esteban did a fantastic job today. He’s been on it the whole weekend. We ended up 10th in Q3. We always said we wanted to get into Q3, and we’ve done that now. We need to try to do it again and again, and get better at it.”


McLaren had looked to be closely battling with Haas and Force India for pace through free practice, but dropped back in qualifying. Both drivers needed last gasp efforts to make Q2 and could go no further. However, they both benefit from Grosjean's penalty and with free tyre choice, could still grab some points on Sunday.

Fernando Alonso, 13th, 1:23.273

“This was probably about where we expected to qualify. We went very well in practice yesterday, so I think we were brought back to reality this afternoon. Q1 was hard for us, and we went for a single new-tyre lap in Q2 and pushed to the maximum, so we have to be happy with ourselves.

“We always expected Monza to be hard for our package, but it’s still a bit disappointing to be fighting against a Manor.

“We’ll study the strategy overnight, but we’ve got the choice of starting tyre, so will try and take full advantage of everything tomorrow.”

Jenson Button, 15th, 1:23.399

“This was always going to be a tough weekend for us, but I thought today might have been a little bit better. It didn’t go quite as well as we might have hoped: I didn’t do a perfect lap – I drove some better laps through practice – and Fernando pulled out a little bit on me in Q2

“But we’ll make it good tomorrow. I still think we can race better than we qualified – that’s been a strength of ours for the past few races – and our starts have been good recently, so hopefully we’ll push forwards during the race.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda Racing Director

“We always knew that qualifying at Formula 1’s fastest circuit would be difficult for us, but it nonetheless feels disappointing not to have been able to mount a stronger challenge to move into Q3.

“Still, we know that we’re more than capable of mounting a stronger challenge in the race – and, with freedom of choice over our starting tyre, we’ll be looking to make progress both on track and in the pit-lane.

“We’re hopeful of a better result tomorrow.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

"We knew coming into Monza that this would be a difficult race weekend for us, but finishing in P13 for Fernando and P15 for Jenson in qualifying is still a little disappointing.

"Both McLaren-Honda drivers drove well today, both in FP3 and qualifying. However, the gruelling fast circuit did not help, and we were out-paced on the straights, which led to a larger than usual gap to the frontrunners.

"As with most tracks, the long-run stability of our cars should help us to do better in the race than in qualifying, and we also have the option to choose the best tyres to start the race, so we will strategise tonight with the team to aim for points in tomorrow’s race."


Nasr got the better of Ericsson in the intra-team battle for the third race in a row, by one tenth of a second. Sauber had looked to have better pace in free practice, but couldn't convert this to one-lap speed for qualifying.

Marcus Ericsson, 19th, 1:24.087 

“It was a disappointing qualifying. Q2 was our objective, which could have been possible today. For me the balance of the car has shifted a bit from FP3 to qualifying. I was struggling with more oversteer, which made it more difficult to put a lap together. That cost me some lap time, which was enough to miss out in Q1. For the race it will be important to look after the tyres.“

Felipe Nasr, 18th, 1:23.956

“It is unfortunate that we could not make it into Q2 today, as I think it would have been possible. I had a decent first stint in Q1, and knew that I could improve on the second set of tyres. It was a good lap, but unfortunately I lost engine power at the exit of Lesmo on the second and last try in Q1, which compromised my lap time. On the other hand, it is positive that we have definitely made a step forward with our aero package.”

Red Bull

Red Bull tried the tactic of setting their laps in Q2 on the softer tyre, but were unable to set competitive enough times and had to resort to the supersofts. As such they will start the race on the red marked tyre - as will every other team bar Mercedes. Ricciardo got the better of his team mate in qualifying, by 0.022s.

Daniel Ricciardo, 6th, 1:22.389

“We expected to be floating around the top five and we were one thousandth of a second off fifth. It’s a little frustrating but at least there were no major surprises. Qualifying on the soft tyres would have been ideal but the pace was really high and our lap time was close to the cut off. We were forced to use the supersoft instead to be on the safe side getting into Q3. If we had qualified on the soft tyre we could have had a good fight with Ferrari but that will be a little harder now we are on the supersofts. We knew Williams would be quick around here but with DRS and being strong on the brakes we can still pull off some moves. I think we can have good race pace and it would be nice if we can find an edge overnight but either way we can have some fun and challenge for top five.”

Max Verstappen, 7th, 1:22.411

“I’m actually pretty happy with qualifying today. I thought we would be more behind but actually everything was very tight. We lost radio communications in the end so I didn’t know where I was and when I came back and saw that I was seventh I thought that’s not too bad. We’re within three hundredths to P5 so I think we can’t complain, especially with the compromises we have to make with the downforce levels. You never know what will happen tomorrow, normally we’re a bit stronger in the race than in qualifying, so let’s hope for a good race. Of course you always want to be further ahead but we have to be realistic and this track is a challenge for us.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Mercedes were obviously in a class of their own today. At a circuit we knew would pose the biggest challenge to us on the calendar; sixth and seventh is about where we realistically expected to be. We are very close to the Williams of Bottas and hopefully at the grand prix tomorrow we can show a stronger race pace.”


Renault struggled, with both cars qualifying at the back of the grid, only ahead of the stricken Manor of Ocon. Magnussen and Palmer both made mistakes at the chicane on their flying laps which didn't aid their cause, but even so they look likely to be battling at the rear of the field come Sunday.

Kevin Magnussen, 21st, 1:24.436

“We expected both Belgian and Italian qualifying to be tough and whilst we qualified better than expected in Spa we didn’t achieve that today in Monza. I hoped that with a really, really fantastic lap, we might just have a shot at Q2. I gave everything I had on the first run, I then tried to get a tow from Lewis on the second one but it didn’t work. For the third run, I just tried really to give it everything but I went off. We’re always aiming higher and I really went for it this afternoon.”

Jolyon Palmer, 20th, 1:24.230

“We knew it was going to be pretty challenging here and so it was proved to be. On the positive side, I had a nice race simulation yesterday and the car does feel well balanced so better things should be possible on Sunday. I’ll be hoping for a bit of spice in the race to help us on our way!”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

"We knew this was a track which would not suit us in qualifying and it was proven today. Both drivers did good jobs although Kevin did lose a little bit of time running wide on his final run. Although our qualifying positions are not great, we expect to run better in race conditions.

"We’re expecting similar hot weather to that experienced today so tyre degradation will be a consideration. We have a good selection of fresh tyres available so we can explore a number of different strategy permutations for both drivers. Our long run pace from P2 was encouraging and there are numerous permutations possible for the race. With our qualifying positions we can afford to explore our options."


Having been fastest in all three practice sessions, Mercedes were expected to take pole. What was not expected was for Hamilton to beat his team mate by nearly half a second. Such was the Briton's dominance, a time he set on the soft tyre would still have beaten Rosberg's efforts on the supersoft.

Lewis Hamilton, 1st, 1:21.135

"I loved that lap, it felt fantastic. It was poetry in motion - the adrenaline was crazy. I've felt good all weekend and it all started with the initial setup from Friday. I've been working closely with my engineers and mechanics, taking small steps forward with the balance of the car, and I knew if it all came together then I could do that kind of lap time. It's a really tough circuit and you have to get everything right, especially the braking zones. The team has done another fantastic job today and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."

Nico Rosberg, 2nd, 1:21.613

"I've had a good weekend so far, but Lewis produced some really good laps. I couldn't match him today. But my race pace was really good in practice on Friday, so I'm very positive for tomorrow. It's a long race and you never know what can happen, I will give it everything. It's clear our car is the quickest around the Monza track and I anticipate a great duel with Lewis again. The atmosphere is great and it would mean a lot to me if I were to win here."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"That was a very impressive and dominant performance for the team - and especially from Lewis as well. He has had a little advantage throughout most of the weekend and he could make really good use of it this afternoon. It was important to get both cars through Q2 on the soft tyres, so we have that strategic advantage for the first stint and then more options in the race, and both boys did that quite comfortably. We have seen some good gaps this afternoon and during practice - the car has been in a good sweet spot ever since we hit the track on Friday morning. But, like always, we only score the points on Sunday afternoon. So let's do our properly homework tonight and everything we can to make sure the picture looks just as good tomorrow evening."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

"Congratulations to Lewis on an absolutely stunning lap in Q3 for pole position and a great job by Nico to complete the front row. The car ran really well today and it's testament to the hard work and dedication of the team back at Brackley and Brixworth, as well as the team here in the garage to get the right setup in place for the drivers. We elected to run the soft tyre in Q2, considering that the better tyre to start the race on, with the knowledge it had the pace to get us safely through to Q3. Both drivers were also keen to get more practice on the soft tyre. Congratulations once again to the team on a fantastic result at this amazing historic venue."

Toro Rosso

A disappointing day for Kvyat, who couldn't get his exit from the final corner quite right and exited in Q1. Sainz did make it to Q2 but the Toro Rosso's lack of development is being keenly felt and he could only manage 16th.

Carlos Sainz, 16th, 1:23.496

“P16 is not such a disappointing result if you look at where we were yesterday, so we can be a bit happy because yesterday we couldn’t go further than P19, so we’ve done some good work and made some progress. We battled our way through to Q2 and this was our target, so I’m satisfied to have got the most out of the car today. The only thing is that this isn’t where we’d like to be, when we’ve been fighting for Q3’s and P8’s all year long up until now… I’d like to be fighting for the top ten, but this is where we are right now, unfortunately. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow: it will certainly be a tough race but anything can happen!”

Daniil Kvyat, 17th,  1:23.825

“During today’s qualifying session I felt quite comfortable in the car for the first time this weekend and I’d like to thank my mechanics and engineers for this. I was completing a good lap in Q1 but I unfortunately lost some time in the last corner during my final timed lap because of Grosjean – my team would have deserved him to look into his mirror! This cost me about two tenths, which is very annoying… I could’ve got into Q2. It’s a pity, but let’s see what we can do tomorrow – I don’t expect any miracles and for sure it will be a tricky race, but I will give it my best to finish as high up as possible.”

Phil Charles, Chief Race Engineer

“A disappointing qualifying for us today. Our recent trend for lowly speed trap rankings was always going to be a potential source of grumpiness here in Monza and that proved to be the case today. The poor straight-line performance was compounded by both drivers not getting the ‘rub of the green’. In more detail, Daniil had some car issues up until qualifying and was making a decent improvement in Q1 until he caught Grosjean going slowly in the last corner. Unfortunately, this cost him around 0.15s and a place in Q2. In fairness, some issues with our transponder system may have contributed to showing an ‘out lap’ instead of a ‘flying lap’, making it difficult for other teams to see what our drivers were doing. We are working hard to rectify this issue. As for Carlos, he did a decent job in Q1 but did not manage to put together his best lap in Q2, where a small mistake in the first chicane cost him quite dearly on his last run. A couple of places higher on the grid could have been possible. We have also had some gremlins on the chassis side recently and this makes today’s result even more painful. As engineers, drivers and mechanics, we have all worked hard this weekend to complete a programme of tests to try to understand this further. On the positive side, we are starting to make some progress with our issues and so we will come back motivated tomorrow to try to achieve the best result we can.”


Having taken a step back over the last few races, Ferrari with their new engine updates leapfrogged Red Bull to be best of the rest behind Mercedes at their home race. Raikkonen briefly looked to have the better of his team mate in Q3 but Vettel pulled out a quick - if scrappy - lap when it mattered to grab third position.

Kimi Raikkonen, 4th, 1:22.065

"Today we did the best we could and got the most out of the car. For sure we would have been more satisfied with the first row, but this is the maximum we could achieve. We have to be happy with what we did knowing our limits, but obviously our aim is to be higher up. Tomorrow is a different day and if we can make a very strong start we can build our race. Certain teams will start with different tires, time will tell what will happen in the long run, but we felt that starting with the Supersoft compound was the best choice for us. It's going to be a long race, tricky for the tires, and a lot of things can happen; we have to put ourselves up there and if something happens we have to try to maximize our result. We'll try to make the good choice when it comes to pit stops and see how it pans out. Our rivals have been very strong today, but we'll try our best tomorrow and hopefully we have the chance to challenge them."

Sebastian Vettel, 3rd, 1:21.972

"Overall it has been a good weekend so far, putting both cars in the second row. I'm sure we can have a good race from there tomorrow. Hopefully we can take the advantage at the start but we have to wait and see. Once the lights go out we hope we can find a good traction which the tires should give us. It's a long way down to Turn 1 and even if we can try something the race is not one stretch, it's 53 laps around here. To be honest, after I saw the times already in Q1 and in Q2 on a different compound, I knew it would be difficult, but you never know...I was pushing as hard as I could, probably too hard in the first run in Q3 and it wasn't a good lap; fortunately in the end I got it back again. I think overall I'm pretty happy, not so much with the beginning of the lap but I think our race pace is better than the gap in qualifying indicates, so we'll see. We don't mind who's behind us, the important thing is whoever is in front and we still have two cars. The gap is a bit bigger than we would like, but equally the last two races things are coming down a little bit more and things are heading the right way also back in the factory. Even if we don't like it, we need to be a bit patient, I'm sure it will come."

Force India

Force India continued their recent run of form, with both drivers making it to the final part of qualifying for the third race in a row. It was a tight battle between the team mates for bragging rights, with Perez shading Hulkenberg by two hundredths of a second. The main worry is the form of chief rivals Williams, with Perez admitting the latter's race pace looked 'extremely strong' during Friday simulations.

Sergio Perez, 8th, 1:22.814

“I think we can be satisfied about today’s result. We have been struggling all weekend, but we worked really hard last night to improve the car balance and made a step forward for qualifying. Some of our rivals seem to have very strong pace, but I think we maximised our qualifying effort with both cars in the top ten. In Q1, it was crucial to put together the perfect lap on my first run; that gave me a bit more freedom in Q2, with an extra set of new tyres available. All in all, it was an exciting session and I had a very intense battle with Nico. The strategy options for the race are quite limited and will depend on what happens during our first stint on the supersoft tyres, and how things go on lap one. Our long run pace looked better than our one lap speed, so hopefully we can match the cars ahead of us and get a good result.”

Nico Hülkenberg, 9th, 1:22.836

 “I’m as happy as I can be with ninth on the grid. For some reason we’ve struggled to find the harmony and balance with the car this weekend, so it’s a good result to see both cars through to Q3. We’ve tried a lot of things with the set-up and made some small improvements, but I’m still not entirely happy with the balance. Tomorrow is another day - tyres will play a big role and it’s going to be interesting to see how things play out. When the middle of the grid is so close we need to make sure we make the correct strategy calls because the final results will be decided by some very small gaps.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“Getting both cars through to Q3 was the goal today and we are pleased to achieve that objective. Eighth and ninth is a good effort and probably a fair reflection of our pace this weekend. We should have a good race car tomorrow, but getting a strong start will be the priority because we know how tough overtaking is around this circuit. The calls from the pit wall will also play a pivotal role in our final result. At the very least we need to hold position and put pressure on the cars ahead to come away with some points.”


A day of mixed fortunes - Ocon pulled over on his out lap at the start of qualifying with an electrical issue, thus ending his involvement. Wehrlein on the other hand not only made it to Q2 for the second race in a row, but qualified ahead of Button's McLaren in 14th, which will improve by a place when Grosjean's grid drop penalty is applied. 

Pascal Wehrlein, 14th, 1:23.315  

"Really happy with qualifying, especially when you take into account how things were for us this morning. We were struggling, I couldn't get a clear lap; it was frustrating as it wasn't quite coming together then. But it did in qualifying, when it mattered, and definitely the pace was right there, perhaps more than we expected.

"Yes I'm very pleased that we've qualified ahead of those guys. It shows just how much we've achieved and although I got the most from the package today, there's still more to find in the car that I hope we can tap into in the race. It will be difficult tomorrow; everyone has a Monza package for Monza! But we've put ourselves in the mix and from here we can have a very good race, maybe making the most of some opportunities. As for the start, Spa was disappointing – it was racing – but we start again tomorrow. The first two corners are very tight, so we have to watch out, but I'm excited and confident and I want to do a really great job."

Esteban Ocon, 22nd, no time

"The car just died. The dash went, the engine cut – I had no information. It looks like a repeat of yesterday's electrical problem, but we're taking a good look and exploring everything to make sure that doesn't happen again tomorrow.  ”

"That's what makes qualifying so frustrating, I guess. We know the pace is in the car; I've been strong here all weekend, particularly this morning, which is why we expected great things from qualifying. Pascal showed how strong the car is, so congrats to him. These problems happen though and now I have to channel that frustration and energy into the race. We need to be focused because anything can happen here, especially with the opening lap and the tight corners at the end of long straights. I think we'll see a great race tomorrow generally and I hope for me and the team too."

Dave Ryan, Racing Director

"First off, apologies to Esteban. We let him down today with a repeat of yesterday's electrical problem and that just isn't good enough. Hopefully we can sort things out tonight and provide him with a reliable car with which he can again demonstrate his immense talent in tomorrow's race.

"Pascal, on the other hand, suffered no such reliability problems and put in a superb performance this afternoon to easily make Q2 for the second race in a row to qualify 14th overall, splitting the two McLaren's on the grid in the process. A great result for the team, but coming into this event, that's about where we thought we would end up, so on plan really.

"Obviously qualifying is one thing, but the race is what it's all about and that's where our focus is now. It's going to be a long night for our strategy guys, but that's what they thrive on, so let's see what they come up with tomorrow morning and we'll take it from there."


Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“Track temperatures were about the same than we saw yesterday for free practice, with strategy already at the forefront from the start of qualifying. In Q2 the Mercedes drivers were the only ones to get through on the soft tyres only. Both saved a set of supersoft, while the Mercedes drivers will be the only ones in the top 10 to be starting the race tomorrow on the more durable soft tyre – from the first two places on the grid. So it remains to be seen whether or not this will affect their thinking on strategy tomorrow. With both one or two stops possible, the tactics for the grand prix will be extremely interesting.”