Hamilton breaks Rosberg's hold on pole position
Lewis Hamilton broke Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg's recent stranglehold on pole position by qualifying ahead of the championship leader at the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday - although the rivalry between the pair remains as heated as ever.other Updated: Sep 06, 2014 21:44 IST
Lewis Hamilton broke Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg's recent stranglehold on pole position by qualifying ahead of the championship leader at the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday - although the rivalry between the pair remains as heated as ever.
Rosberg had taken four straight poles and six of the last seven.
Hamilton clocked 1 minute, 24.109 seconds at the Monza circuit, Rosberg was second in 1:24.383 and Valtteri Bottas of Williams qualified third in 1:24.697.
It's Hamilton's fifth pole of the season and 36th of his career. He hasn't started first since the Spanish GP back in May.
"Tomorrow will be really good to get another 1-2 for the team," Hamilton said. "And I hope we have some competition as that will be great for the fans."
Rosberg enters Sunday's race with a 29-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers' standings - the biggest it has been all season.
A big part of that gap was built in the controversial Belgian GP two weeks ago, when Rosberg finished second after crashing into Hamilton early and sending his teammate out of the incident-packed race.
Rosberg didn't seem interested in congratulating Hamilton on his pole position. Likewise, Hamilton appeared to do his best to ignore Rosberg after both drivers got out of their cars.
After taking off his helmet, Hamilton flashed a victory sign to photographers while Rosberg appeared to frown behind him.
Rosberg was disciplined by Mercedes for the incident at Spa and while no team orders were installed, the pair was told explicitly not to make contact again.
When Hamilton was asked what effect the team's warning would have on him Sunday, he replied: "It won't be ringing in my ears. We are free to race. That was the decision last week so it continues as usual."
Rosberg reportedly received a hefty fine for the Spa incident but he, too, didn't appear ready to change tactics.
"It has not changed since before we started the season," Rosberg said. "The message has been clear. There is no real change at the moment. It is the same as always."
Racing conditions were ideal, with sunny skies and a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit). More good weather was forecast for Sunday.
Felipe Massa of Williams qualified fourth and Kevin Magnussen of McLaren was fifth.
Home Ferrari favorite Fernando Alonso was only seventh, defending champion Sebastian Vettel was eighth and his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who won the past two races, was ninth.
"I was really at the limit today," Alonso said. "I had exactly the same lap time each lap so I think (if) I do it 100,000 times I would still get the same lap times. The important thing is to do a good race tomorrow."
Mercedes' dominance was clear on the sport's fastest track, where speeds average about 250 kph (155 mph) and top speeds exceed 350 kph (around 220 mph).
Hamilton missed an hour of practice on Friday due to electrical problems and Rosberg was slowed in Saturday's third and final practice with a gearbox glitch, making their performances all the more impressive.
"Inside the garage they've obviously been through the difficult times with me and they've done a remarkable job in bouncing back," Hamilton said. "It's great to have a 1-2."
Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso posted the 11th-best time but will start 21st on the grid due to a 10-place penalty for a sixth engine change - becoming the first driver this season to be sanctioned by new power unit regulations.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen went out in Q2 after abandoning a lap due to traffic. The 2007 F1 champion placed 12th but will start 11th due to Kvyat's penalty.
First Published: Sep 06, 2014 21:40 IST