Qualifying: Italian Grand Prix – LIVE
The rain is still falling in Italy following Free Practice 3 this morning which saw a heavily-disrupted session.
Teams are getting the cars ready for the Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Session however things could be delayed due to the weather situation.
As things stand at the moment, it looks like the skies have started to clear up in the distance however on the weather radars, heavy rain is still forecast and clouds are showing.
While we wait for the Italian Grand Prix Qualifying session – here are some photos from around the paddock today.
It looks like Qualifying will be taking place despite the rain.
Drivers have now started making their way to their cars, getting ready for Qualifying ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.
This is the first wet qualifying session in Italy since 2008 – who’s going to put their foot down, who’s going to push their car to the limits, who’s brave enough?
Clouds & Rain
Humidity is 80%
Drivers are now in their cars and qualifying will be taking place on schedule.
Qualifying: Italian Grand Prix – LIVE QUALIFYING
The two Mercedes (Hamilton and Bottas) are out on track first – waiting for the light to go green.
Ferrari are now following along with Toro Rosso.
The weather has just started to get worse and it’s now raining more.
Team to Hamilton – “We’re the first cars out here so no need to take risks.”
Information being shown: Low Grip – no surprise there…
There is a lack of visibility and remember that we can actually see more than what the drivers see from their position.
Team to Hamilton – “The rain is intensifying in the pit lane.”
Everyone is out on track apart from Fernando Alonso who has a 35-place grid penalty.
With 13 minutes to go – Hamilton has topped the time sheets.
It’s Hamilton and Vettel who are the top two.
Grosjean radioed his team to say there is no visibility – he’s now in the barriers and the session has been red-flagged.
Drivers are now making their way back into the pits.
Track Inspection – The safety car is now going out on track to have a look at the circuit and conditions.
The start has been delayed and we will be getting more information soon.
Some drivers are out of their cars, some are staying in them – everyone is waiting to see if the qualifying session will go ahead.
The safety car is out on track again – inspecting the circuit and the conditions.
There’s a further 15 minute delay – despite drivers getting ready again.
The safety car is back out on the track – the conditions have definitely improved and the circuit looks good.
Charlie Whiting – “The weather in unpredictable at the moment and the safer car driver has said there’s a little bit of aquaplaning so we are waiting for the track to dry off a bit more.”
Ross Brawn – “It’s a great shame, we have a good crowd here today and it wasn’t raining earlier. The safer car has been out on track, checking the safety and it’s not possible to make quick decisions in these circumstances.“
The weather has now started to get worse compared to earlier – the safety car has gone back out on track.
Sebastian Vettel has gone out into the pit-lane, waving to fans and cheering them up after long delays.
Verstappen – “We should have been out a few minutes ago. Most of the track is perfect so it’s a shame that we’re waiting around.”
Massa – “It’s a little bit boring, especially for you guys (viewers) so I hope we have a decision soon. We need to make sure it’s safe first and then to make a decision.”
Palmer – “I’m expecting that we’re going to be doing qualifying tomorrow and it’s a little bit touch and go to see. They’ve re-laid the tarmac on the straight so I think that’s the main issue.”
Ricciardo – “The first few cars suffer with more aquaplaning. With Grosjean’s accident we were all out but there was a chance, a gap, that we could have gone out in to give a bit more to the crowd. These conditions are on the edge at the moment. We can all have a little bit of a say and we send things through to our engineer which then goes through to Charlie and the team.”
Ricciardo – “The first chicane is super wet as well, where the pit exit starts that’s where the main problem is but we’ll just wait and see.”
There’s a lot more activity on track – people are clearing the standing water with huge dryers, there’s also a truck going around the circuit to help with clearing the water.
Drivers are also out in the pit-lane, Ricciardo being one of the drivers who has taken over a camera (more photos shortly) and filming the pit-lane to the joy of viewers.
Hamilton and Bottas have been taking part in a live video – playing games and showing what’s happening behind the scenes.
Ocon – “There is a lot of rain on the straight line which makes aquaplaning a possibility – we will have to wait but I don’t think we will be running today.”
The safety car is going out on track – yet again.
Cars are now lining up on the pit lane to carry on with Q1.
All the cars are now out on track – let’s see who will go through to Q2.
Verstappen – “It better now than when we started qualifying.”
All 19 drivers are now out on track.
Verstappen puts in the best lap time.
Vettel now goes faster, his team-mate Raikkonen goes 4th fastest.
Hamilton and Bottas now take the top 2 positions, Mercedes are looking strong this weekend but there should be more from Ferrari.
Team to Magnussen – “The weather will get worse, it’s time to put in the laps now.”
Verstappen is looking strong this weekend – Red Bull’s are good in the rain, he now goes 2nd fastest, times are constantly changing and drivers seem to be pushing.
Team to Verstappen – “How are the tyres Max?”
Verstappen – “They’re OK but I think soon we can go on inters”
Hamilton is now going quickest through the first sector, along with his team-mate Bottas who’s improving on his time.
Hamilton and Bottas remain the top 2 drivers, Vettel came into the pits for a tyre change.
Alonso is the first driver on Inter (green) – he’s going to have the longest amount of time to warm-up the tyres so keep a lookout for him, despite his 35-place grid penalty.
Vettel is on the Inters too – it seems to be working better for him at the moment however Alonso came into traffic with two back-markers who had just come out of the pits on the main straight.
Verstappen – “At the moment there’s very low grip on certain parts of the track on these tyres” he’s also changed to the inters.
Knock Out Zone – Q1
Qualifying: Italian Grand Prix – LIVE QUALIFYING
Max Verstappen is the first car on the pit-lane. He’s waiting for the session to start.
Team to Verstappen – “There’s a risk of increasing rain in this session.”
Sebastian Vettel is now making his way out onto the track.
Vandoorne has gone off track but managed save his car. Felipe Massa now also goes off track and is starting his lap slowly.
Verstappen is the fastest driver at the moment, Hamilton is in 2nd place.
Hamilton – “These tyres aren’t working guys.” – he’s on the intermediate tyres and it’s starting to rain again, along with temperatures dropping.
Sebastian Vettel now goes 1st fastest with Verstappen and Hamilton behind.
Vettel improves on his time again – he’s done a lap time of 1:36.787.
Bottas is now in the drop-zone, he needs to push and improve on his times – with 7 minutes to go.
Bottas now goes 2nd fastest which is good to see.
Hamilton now goes 1st fastest.
The top 5 drivers at the moment – Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo.
Verstappen – “For some reason we can’t get the temperatures in the tyres.”
Team to Verstappen – “Have the conditions changed or improved from the start?”
Verstappen – “No”
The two Red Bull drivers have started to drop in times.
Meanwhile, Vettel goes fastest again.
Hamilton now goes fastest again – the fastest time of 1:35.344
With 1 minute to go, it’s Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel who are the top 3 but drivers are still pushing to get through to Q3.
Knock-Out Zone – Q2
Alonso has a 35-place grid penalty so he will be starting from the back of the grid.
Qualifying: Italian Grand Prix – LIVE QUALIFYING
Lewis Hamilton is the first driver out on track.
It’s now raining heavily – Hamilton makes his way back into the pits for a tyre change, along with Bottas – both on the wet tyres.
Team to Ricciardo – “Right hand side is dryer”
Team to Vettel – “The rain should stay stable like this until the end”
With 7 minutes to go, it’s Verstappen in the lead along with Ricciardo and Ocon.
Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel haven’t set their times yet.
Lewis Hamilton now takes provisional pole.
Ricciardo now finds the time and puts in a great lap time – taking 1st position. There’s still 5 minutes to go until the end of Qualifying 3 and this is Formula 1 so things can change in seconds.
Hamilton – “I’m really down on this lap guys.”
Team to Hamilton – “Negative, negative – delta time is wrong, keep pushing!”
Ferrari is not looking great at the moment, they seem to have an issue.
Hamilton – “Do I have time to slow down, I can’t see anything?”
Team to Hamilton – “Box, box, box, box”
A brand new set of wet-weather tyres have gone onto the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari are looking weak, they’re not enjoying these conditions at the moment.
Team to Hamilton – “You need a fast out lap to make this work, a fast out lap.”
Hamilton – “The track feels a little bit slower of the water.”
Hamilton is on pole position – he will lead the Italian Grand Prix.
Team to Hamilton – “Well done Lewis, you’re pole positon – nice work mate, nice work.”
Here are the top 10 drivers.
Ricciardo and Verstappen will both have grid penalties so they will be starting further back but this is how it looks right now.
Top 10 Drivers
Tomorrow’s forecast is showing no rain – sunshine so things will be changing tomorrow.
About Lance Stroll – Qualifying
Lance Stroll will be starting from the front row – alongside Hamilton and everyone is saying what an amazing drive it was.
In this case, for me – it’s not a perfect drive. It’s luck.
If Ricciardo and Verstappen didn’t have penalties, he would have been starting in 4th.
If Vettel and Raikkonen didn’t have issues, he would have been starting further back.
In the previous case of Stroll being on the podium (Baku) – again, that was luck.
He didn’t drive perfectly, it was other drivers who suffered with issues (Vettel with a penalty and Hamilton with the headrest) and he managed to get a podium finish.
For me, Lance Stroll has not proven himself as a driver – it’s just luck which has played his way at the moment.
Verstappen on the other hand has proved himself – he is a driver that is worthy of winning championships, he pushes the car to the limits and despite the issues he’s having – he always pushes the car to it’s abilities and is respected as a driver.
Vettel – “I’m not sure what the problem was. We will be looking into this and seeing what we can do. We have a good car so we don’t need to be afraid. Tomorrow, we can make up a lot of time and it should be a fun race.”
“The conditions we struggled, years ago we could go out there with no problems and it wasn’t a problem. For us, it’s not a problem – we’re inside and in the dry but for the people out there who are waiting – it’s not nice.”
Raikkonen – “I don’t know what the problem was, we were not fast enough today at least in my car, I was struggling a lot with the grip. I couldn’t make the tyres work and it was very slippery.”
“It’s far from ideal to be starting here, we are starting better tomorrow but we will see the weather and how it turns out and we will see what will happen tomorrow there’s nothing you can do.”
There’s lots more coming soon!
Photos – Kym Illman