Hamilton sets the fastest lap in Formula 1 history, Mercedes lock out the front row and Ferrari endure their worst ever home qualifying. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix!
HAMILTON ON POLE
Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the 2020 Italian Grand Prix with the fastest lap in Formula 1 history. It was the 94th pole position of his career and his seventh pole at the Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton secured Mercedes’ eighth pole position at Monza, meaning that the team overtake Lotus for third most poles at the circuit. It’s the team’s first pole at the circuit since 2017. Juan Manuel Fangio and Hamilton remain the only two Mercedes drivers to have taken pole position at this circuit.
Both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas beat the record for Formula 1’s fastest ever lap, which has been held by Kimi Raikkonen since 2018. Hamilton’s pole lap had an average speed of 264.363km/h, around 0.8km/h faster than Raikkonen’s pole lap at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.
Bottas recorded his first front row start at Monza, making this the fourth time that Mercedes have locked out the front row at the Italian Grand Prix. The German manufacturer also locked out the front row in 1955, 2014 and 2016. Hamilton becomes the first driver to have started the Italian Grand Prix from the front row ten times.
Lewis Hamilton has now taken 68 poles during his time at Mercedes. That’s as many pole positions as Michael Schumacher secured in the entirety of his career.
This is the fifth time that pole position has been decided by 0.069 seconds. That was also the pole margin at the 1980 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1996 French Grand Prix, the 1998 Canadian Grand Prix and the 2005 United States Grand Prix.
THE TOP TEN
With third place, Carlos Sainz equalled his career-best qualifying result. He also qualified third at the Styrian Grand Prix. It marked the first time that a McLaren driver has qualified in the top three at the Italian Grand Prix since Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button locked out the front row in 2012. Meanwhile, with Lando Norris qualifying sixth, this was the first time since 2014 that both McLaren drivers have appeared in Q3 at Monza.
Sergio Perez qualified in fourth place, recording his team’s best Italian Grand Prix qualifying result since 2012, when Paul di Resta also qualified in fourth place. Perez’s team-mate Lance Stroll also qualified in the top ten, making this the first time since 2016 that both Racing Point (formerly Force India) drivers have qualified in the top ten at the Italian Grand Prix. Stroll maintained his 100% Q3 appearance rate at Monza, but this was the first time that Stroll has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the circuit.
For only the second time in 2020, neither Red Bull driver qualified on the first two rows. However, this is the first time since 2017 that both Red Bull drivers have qualified in the top ten at the Italian Grand Prix. While Max Verstappen qualified fifth, Alex Albon qualified ninth and maintained his 100% Q3 appearance record at Monza. Albon, Stroll and Sebastien Bourdais are the only drivers who have never failed to reach Q3 at the circuit.
Ferrari endured their worst ever qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix, with neither driver qualifying in the top twelve at Monza for the first time.
Sebastian Vettel recorded Ferrari’s 25th Q1 exit, and the team’s first Q1 exit at Monza. This was Vettel’s first Q1 exit since the 2019 German Grand Prix and his sixth Q1 exit during his time at Ferrari; the first without a mitigating issue of some sort. Vettel’s seventeenth place is the first time that a Ferrari driver has qualified outside of the top fifteen at Monza since Giancarlo Baghetti in 1966. This was the first time since his maiden season in 2007 that Vettel failed to reach Q3 at the Italian Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc reached Q3, but qualified only thirteenth. That makes the 2020 Italian Grand Prix the first time since 1984 that neither Ferrari driver starts the Italian Grand Prix in the top ten and only the third time, after 1969 and 1984, that no Ferrari drivers have qualified in the top ten at Monza.
With Leclerc out in Q2 and Vettel eliminated in Q1, this is the first time that Ferrari have recorded both a Q2 and Q1 exit at a race since the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This is the first time since the current qualifying system was introduced that Ferrari have failed to reach Q3 with either car at two consecutive races.
OUT IN Q2
Daniil Kvyat was eliminated in Q2 at the Italian Grand Prix for the fifth time in his career. It’s a new record for the most Q2 eliminations at the track. He previously shared the record of four Q2 exits here with Adrian Sutil and Pastor Maldonado.
Kimi Raikkonen recorded Alfa Romeo’s second Q2 appearance of the season. With fourteenth place, the Finn equalled his worst ever Italian Grand Prix qualifying performance. He also qualified fourteenth for the event in 2008.
Kevin Magnussen reached Q2 for the first time since the Styrian Grand Prix. His Q2 appearance was the fourth time that Haas have progressed past Q1 so far in 2020.
OUT IN Q1
Romain Grosjean was eliminated in Q1, which makes him the fourth driver to have had as many as four Q1 exits at the Italian Grand Prix. He now shares the record for most Q1 eliminations at the circuit with Marcus Ericsson, Timo Glock and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
With a third consecutive Q1 exit, Grosjean equalled his longest streak of Q1 exits. It’s the third time in his career that the Frenchman has been eliminated in Q1 at three consecutive races; the second time that it has happened in 2020.
George Russell recorded his worst qualifying result of the season with nineteenth place, marking the first time he lines up on the back row of the grid in 2020.
Qualifying last on the grid in twentieth, Nicholas Latifi recorded the worst qualifying result for a Williams driver at the Italian Grand Prix since Jean-Louis Schlesser qualified 22nd on his one-off appearance for the team at Monza in 1988. In more positive news for the Canadian, he was faster than team-mate Russell in Sector 2 by 0.232 seconds – the first time he has been faster than the Brit in any sector during qualifying.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.