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WILLIAMS INCREASE REVENUES AND PAY DOWN DEBT

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The improved track performance of the Williams Formula One team was reflected in the interim results of the parent company on Friday with Williams Grand Prix Holdings reporting increased revenues and reduced debt.
“The improved performance of our Formula One team on the track is now reflected in both higher commercial rights income and increased sponsorship revenue, bolstering our financial results,” said chief executive Mike O’Driscoll.
The holding company reported overall revenues for the six months to June 30 of 63.2 million pounds ($96.39 million), up from 44.1 million last year.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) showed a loss of 1.4 million compared to 19.6 million in 2014.
The Formula One division saw revenues increase to 51.8 million pounds from 34.6 million in the same period last year.
Net debt was reduced from 26 million pounds to 19 million.
Williams ended last season in third place after plunging to ninth in 2013, when they scored only five points. They are currently third in the constructors’ standings, behind champions Mercedes and Ferrari.
O’Driscoll told reporters the company was still working through a restructuring process that started in 2013 and faced a challenging second half of the year with continuing cash pressures.
Frankfurt-listed Williams, who have never paid a dividend and do not envisage one in the near future, are battling teams with far higher budgets.
O’Driscoll said they were “going to have to continue to over-perform’ to maintain their position.
“We don’t believe for a minute that spending by itself will get us there,” he added.
Williams Advanced Engineering, which commercialises Formula One derived technology, was profitable and showed a modest increase in revenues to 10.9 million from a previous 7.8.
O’Driscoll said Williams wanted to grow the non-automotive side and was looking to defence and aerospace. They recently agreed a multi-year contract with defence contractor General Dynamics for the electronics of a personnel carrier.
“The best calling card for advanced engineering is a successful Formula One team,” he added. “No-one wants to do business with losers.”
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Another season ahead, will it be better than the last? I'm certainly hoping there will be less politics involved but that's just wishful thinking! Perhaps I will post less on such issues moving forwa

Bernie's really damaging the sport. He's so far behind the times it's impossible to listen to anything he has to say. Just looking at the way other sports leagues have grown over the past 20 years com

I disagree Massa only had one line to of the pits Hulkenburg saw him and could have avoided the contact and still passed Massa as he was on cold tyres. Good race though

SAUBER NOT WORRIED ABOUT ARRIVAL OF HAAS F1 TEAM

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Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn insists she is not “worried” about the looming debut next year of the new American team Haas.
On paper, Kaltenborn might have reason to be concerned, given that Haas is set to apparently overtake the Swiss team as the preferred Ferrari-powered customer.
But Kaltenborn said at Monza: “Why should I be worried?
“We know our strengths, and I am able to think back further than just last season. Before that, we were in formula one for 23 years and I recall that in 2002 we took fourth in the constructors’ championship.
“When Sauber debuted in 1993, the circumstances were different and we did everything by ourselves. They (Haas) made a different choice, but I see no reason why that would stop us from developing and succeeding,” she added.
Asked if she thinks a true privateer team like Sauber is still able to push towards race victories in today’s F1, Kaltenborn answered: “I think that in the circumstances, that is extremely difficult.
“Red Bull did it, but I don’t think this can be called a typical private team, in contrast to Sauber.
“Ultimately, it is about funding. If you get an equal power unit, it is just about the money,” she added.
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Italian GP: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leads first Monza F1 practice

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set a devastating pace as he topped the timesheets in first practice for Formula 1's Italian Grand Prix at Monza ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Reigning F1 world champion Hamilton clocked a 1m24.670s to finish 0.463 seconds clear of his title rival and a massive 1.588s ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in third.
It was an impressive performance from Mercedes, which fitted Hamilton and Rosberg's cars with their third engines of the season following an upgrade in which it used all seven of its remaining tokens.
Hamilton was quickest on the first run on the medium tyres with a 1m25.653s, 0.906s faster than team-mate Rosberg, with Vettel 0.057s off the pace.
Rosberg was the first to take his second set and moved to the top of the timesheets, but Hamilton reacted straight away to reclaim first.
The opening half an hour was relatively quiet as most teams daubed their cars with flo-vis paint to gather airflow data.
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The session was then red-flagged when Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr lost the car under braking for Parabolica and slid into the gravel.
Force India continued its recent good form with Nico Hulkenberg fourth and Sergio Perez, fresh from a season's best fifth at the last race in Belgium, fifth.
Kimi Raikkonen, who completed a number of practice starts at the end of the pitlane during the session, was sixth quickest, having spent a lot of time in the garage.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who along with team-mate Danill Kvyat will receive a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change, was seventh with Kvyat 12th.
The Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who announced new deals to stay with the team in 2016 on Thursday, finished eighth and ninth respectively.
Lotus's Pastor Maldonado completed the top 10 with the other Lotus of Jolyon Palmer 15th after covering 28 laps in his eighth first practice appearance of the season.
Sauber's Felipe Nasr was a strong 11th, 2.5s off the pace, two spots ahead of team-mate Marcus Ericsson 13th.
Max Verstappen also had a moment at Parabolica after carrying too much speed into the corner.
The Dutchman ran wide, but kept it out of the gravel and continued. He finished 14th fastest, two tenths clear of Sainz, who failed to get back out on track after his early excursion and ended up 16th.
McLaren ended its session early to carry out an engine change.
The team fitted a ninth engine to both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button's car for first practice - meaning both drivers get a grid penalty - and will switch to an older unit, as planned, for second practice.
The units will then be changed again following second practice as per the strategy. AUTOSPORT understands there are no problems with any of the engines.
Alonso was 17th quickest ahead of Button, with Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and the Manors of Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens propping up the timesheets.
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MONZA FP2: HAMILTON FASTEST AS ROSBERG REDUCES GAP

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Lewis Hamilton continued to set the pace for Mercedes at Monza but whereas the championship leader eclipsed team-mate Nico Rosberg by just shy of half a second in the morning session, in the afternoon Rosberg closed the gap to just two hundredths of a second.
Sebastian Vettel was third and after being over 1.5 seconds off the pace in the morning he too closed the gap to Hamilton in the afternoon, ending the session seven tenths adrift of the Briton after the teams’ runs on the option soft tyre.
The session began with Ferrari’s pleasing the partisan local crowd by settling into an early one-two, with Kimi Räikkönen first topping the times with a lap of 1:26.684 before he was eclipsed by Vettel on 1:26.548.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg then went quickest before Vettel reclaimed top spot with a lap of 1:26.252.
Those laps were set before either Mercedes driver had taken to the track but once they did the duo quickly rose to the top with Hamilton first to P1 with a time of 1:25.683 before Rosberg took over with a lap of 1:25.617. Hamilton then improved to 1:25.133s to leave his team-mate three tenths of a second adrift.
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Hulkenberg was the first to make the move to the soft tyre, setting a time of 1:25.720. He was followed by Vettel who split the Mercedes duo with his opening soft-tyre lap of 1:25.136. The Ferrari driver then went fastest with a second flying lap on the softs, setting a time of 1m25.038.
However, the soft tyre phase mirrored the opening part of the session with the Mercedes drivers powering ahead when they too bolted on the soft tyres.
Hamilton logged a time of 1:24.279 on his opening lap and then failed to improve on his second tour but after his first lap left him two hundredths of a second in arrears he seemed set to take top spot with two quick opening sectors on his second lap. However, he lost time through Parabolica and had to settle for P2.
Vettel repeated his third place of the morning but this time he closed to 0.759 of a second behind Hamilton. The German finished 1400ths of a second ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez, who was four hundredths of a second ahead of team-mate Hulkenberg.
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Ferrari were the only non-Mercedes-powered team in the top with Räikkönen taking sixth place ahead of the Lotus cars of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, who were backed up by the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.
It was a difficult afternoon for Red Bull Racing, however. Daniil Kvyat spent part of the session on the garage aas the team rectified a gearbox issue from the morning and afterwards spent most of his session on medium tyres and was slowest as the team, which is set to take engine-related grid penalties this weekend chose to focus on race preparation.
Team-mate Daniel Riccairdo hit trouble too, wioth the Australian forced back to the pits with a hydraulic problems caused by his DRS.
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LOTUS: A PRODUCTIVE AND COMPETITIVE DAY

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Lotus F1 Team opened the Italian Grand Prix weekend with strong top-ten times from Romain and Pastor at the Autodromo di Monza.

Romain went seventh fastest in the afternoon FP2 session with a 1min 25.497secs whilst Pastor was just 0.016secs adrift in eighth. The morning session had seen Pastor go tenth fastest and Jolyon Palmer fifteenth.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes

  • Pastor and Jolyon ran a variety of assessments and simulations in the morning session using Pirelli’s medium (white) compound tyre.
  • Jolyon conducted a front wing evaluation programme as well as other set-up work.
  • Pastor and Romain continued assessments in the afternoon, using both the medium and soft (yellow) compound tyres.

What we learned today: The E23 Hybrid has shown interesting potential today.

Jolyon Palmer, E23-04

  • Free practice 1: P15, 1:27.669, 28 laps

Jolyon: “It was a tough session as I only got a couple of laps on the first set of tyres as we carried out aero mapping work before being interrupted by a red flag. That meant I had a lot to do once the session resumed and we did manage to get a good number of laps in. The purpose once again was to work on the new front-wing which we brought to Spa and trying to make more progress with it. It was a useful session but there is more work to be done.”

Romain Grosjean, E23-04

  • Free practice 2: P7, 1:25.497, 41 laps

Romain: “We had a pretty good afternoon; the car was working well especially on the shorter runs which saw us set the seventh fastest time. We have a little bit more work to do on our longer runs, which we’ll do overnight and see where we are on Saturday. Generally we’re happy with what we have done so far. For qualifying, we should have a good fight on our hands with Force India, Williams and Ferrari. And the rain – if it comes – could be challenging as we run such low downforces, which makes the car very slippery in the wet.”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03

  • Free practice 1: P10, 1:27.118, 28 laps
  • Free practice 2: P8, 1:25.513, 41 laps

Pastor: “It was a good start today, we have a decent balance with the car and we still have more potential to get for tomorrow. We also have plenty of data to analyse for the new Pirelli tyre pressures ahead of qualifying and especially for the race on Sunday. It’ll be important to take good care of the tyres during the Grand Prix. For qualifying, it’s difficult to say as everyone is quite close behind Mercedes. We will hard push as always.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It’s been a productive and competitive day. We carried out further aerodynamic work on our new front wing with Jolyon and made some alterations as a result which are positive for the future. With Pastor, we focused on fairly long runs during FP1, while our traditional tyre programme and brake assessments were carried out in FP2 with both Pastor and Romain. Both cars are working well so far and the drivers are pretty happy. We hope to make more progress tomorrow and qualify well into the top ten like we did in Spa.”

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PIRELLI: THIS COULD BE A FAR FROM STRAIGHTFORWARD RACE

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Mercedes has set the pace on both Pirelli compounds during the opening two free practice sessions of the Italian Grand Prix – where the cars can exceed 360kph on the straights – using the P Zero White medium in the morning and the P Zero Yellow soft in the afternoon.
The fastest time of the day, set by championship leader Lewis Hamilton on the soft tyre in the afternoon, was 1m24.279s: considerably faster than Friday’s quickest time last year of 1m26.187s (again set by Hamilton but on the medium tyre).
Currently the performance gap between the two compounds is in the region of 1.2 seconds, but this is expected to come down over the course of the weekend as more rubber gets laid down and average speeds become even higher.
To cope with these increased loadings compared to last year – which is a natural consequence of the cars becoming faster – the camber and tyre pressure limits have been slightly altered by Pirelli for the Italian Grand Prix, as per a technical note communicated to the teams yesterday. These limits are established on a race-by-race basis, depending on data supplied from the teams as well as existing information.
As usual, the teams used the Friday free practice sessions to assess performance on both compounds with different fuel loads. The information gathered forms an important part of the strategy calculations, which also take into account other factors such as likely weather conditions over the weekend (warm, but with a risk of rain), safety car probability (low) and time lost in the pits (quite high). With pole position statistically more key to race victory in Monza than Monaco, the teams spent a lot of time concentrating on qualifying set-up in particular, using the soft compound.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: “Today was a routine free practice day in Italy, with the teams gathering as much data as possible to use not only in the race, but in the all-important qualifying session tomorrow: which is always absolutely crucial at Monza. This could well be a far from straightforward race though: weather forecasts indicate a risk of rain tomorrow then a dry race, which could certainly mix things up a bit. For this race, we’ve altered our pressure and camber limits compared to what was previously prescribed: with the cars getting faster and faster – especially as development accelerates during the second half of the season – these new parameters should allow the drivers to extract the maximum performance and durability from the tyres. Once again, we’re privileged to be in front of our fantastic home crowd, whose support today has been tremendous. Their dedication looks set to be rewarded with the prospect of a fantastic race weekend ahead.”
Pirelli facts of the day: This year, Pirelli celebrates the 90th anniversary of its first grand prix title, won by Gastone Brilli Peri in 1925 at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo. The Formula One World Championship as we know it did not begin until 1950, but in 1925 the first World Championship for Manufacturers was held – and Pirelli played a leading role in it. Brilli Peri clinched the title for Alfa at Monza, naturally…
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MCLAREN: WE KNEW MONZA WOULD BE TOUGH FOR US

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A difficult pair of free practice sessions for the team today.
Jenson was sidelined for the majority of the afternoon after his car suffered a coolant leak, which could not be fixed before the end of the session. This meant that the bulk of the evaluative work was conducted from Fernando’s side of the garage.
The engineers will pool data tonight ahead of tomorrow’s free practice and qualifying. However, the afternoon session will be tricky since both cars have grid penalties (Fernando, 10; Jenson, five) for fitting a ninth ICE this weekend.
Fernando Alonso: “We knew this circuit would be tough for us – but we tried some changes with the car in order to learn things, so let’s see how things go on Saturday. If it rains tomorrow, that ought to mix things up, particularly for the cars at the front. For us, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference, as we both have grid penalties for making an engine change, so we’ll start towards the back. We’ll do minimal laps tomorrow in order to save the engine, and, hopefully, recover some places in the race.”
Jenson Button: “It’s always nice coming to Monza. This is a circuit we love, and the fans are so passionate – and, as racing drivers, it’s fantastic to go racing with that sort of atmosphere around you. It’s been a tricky day for us. My car lost coolant at the start of FP2, and we couldn’t change the ERS pack with enough time to get out for the end of the afternoon session. So I did one timed lap – which isn’t great – but at least we can learn something from Fernando’s data. We knew this was going to be a tough weekend for us, and this just makes it more difficult, but hopefully we won’t have any problems tomorrow.”
Eric Boullier, Racing director, McLaren-Honda: “We knew that both here and Spa would present a steep challenge for us, but Formula 1 is not supposed to be easy, and we’ll come away from these two character-building weekends feeling stronger and more unified than before. Today has been tricky for the team, particularly for Jenson, who didn’t get too many laps under his belt in this afternoon’s session owing to a leak on his car. Last but not least, I want to say a big thank-you to our hard-working mechanics: they made planned engine changes on both cars between FP1 and FP2, and will change them both again ahead of FP3 tomorrow. Their industriousness, commitment and positivity are to be applauded.”
Satoshi Naakamura, Chief Engineer, Honda R&D Europe: “FP1 proceeded according to today’s run-plan, setting both cars up with new ICEs. After fundamental checks were completed with the aero and power unit data, we finished the session early to start the planned power unit change for this afternoon’s FP2. Fernando’s FP2 session ran smoothly, but, unfortunately, Jenson’s data showed signs of a water leak; therefore we were forced to bring the car back into the garage. After investigating, we found that the water hose had been dislodged, which we were able to fix during the session. However, there wasn’t enough time remaining in the session to get the car back out onto the track, but fortunately the incident didn’t affect the ERS, and we’re duly preparing for tomorrow’s sessions. We’ll be using all of today’s data, including Fernando’s long-runs in the afternoon, to set up the car for tomorrow.”
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FERRARI: EXPECTATIONS ARE HIGH

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In the second free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix the SF15-Ts of Sebastian Vettel (1:25.038) and Kimi Raikkonen (1:25.380) set the third and sixth fastest times respectively.
The team focused on long runs and tyre testing, in preparation for qualifying and the race. Fastest was Lewis Hamilton (1.24.279) followed by his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg (1.24.300.)
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a very normal Friday, the sessions were running smoothly and we had no issues. I was not very happy with my driving, we have to fix a couple of things and then, like in any other race, we’ll have some work to do to try to improve and find the right set up for tomorrow and Sunday. I did not have the time to see what the others were doing today, we did our own things and hopefully we can have a good weekend in front of all our tifosi.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It was a solid day for us, we had no issues with the car and we’ve got quite a lot of running which is always positive. The qualifying here will be very important: overtaking is possible with so long straights and this always helps, but still the first corner is very tight and the higher up you are the easiest it is. The first two cars are quite far away unfortunately, maybe we can get a bit closer tomorrow and we’ll see what happens in the race. The focus now is on the car and on how to find a few tenths for tomorrow as we’re not entirely happy. Seeing all the flags around on Friday was a good warm up. Expectations are high, but all we can promise to our fans is that we’ll give it everything we have.”
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TORO ROSSO: THE LONG-RUNS DON’T LOOK TOO BAD

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Toro Rosso team report from the first practice day of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Max Verstappen: “We knew it was going to be a tough day today, and that’s how it turned out to be. We just have to try and make the most out of this situation, optimise the car and try to find a bit of performance… It’s no secret if I say that it’s difficult for us at this track, as here in Monza you need a lot of straight-line speed… But, all in all, I think it’s been a useful day. We tried some different things on both cars and we’ve managed to gather plenty of data to work on tonight.”
Carlos Sainz: “This morning’s FP1 was a bit scrappy as we had a few issues with some settings and then a spin also compromised my session… But we were able to recover and FP2 was much more positive. Our focus was on the long runs and we worked on setting the car up for Sunday, as we know that in tomorrow’s qualy we won’t be able to do much due to the positions-penalty for changing engine. I’ve really enjoyed it out there today, it’s one of my favourite tracks and even more after today… The top-speeds we reach in the DRS zones and with the tows is pretty big, the highest I’ve ever reached in my life obviously, and it felt great!”
Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer): “We had a bit of a tricky FP1 today, unfortunately Carlos’ session was cut short. But I have to say Carlos’ P2 was much better. His crew worked really well. They turned the car round very quickly and he caught up most of the lost mileage from this morning and in fact collected some really useful long-run data. Max has done a good job throughout the day, building-up his confidence and getting to grips with the car at this high-speed track. We came here expecting this to be a tricky weekend, as this circuit doesn’t suit our package, especially in the short-runs. For this reason, we’ve decided to change Max’ engine, compromising his qualifying session this weekend but hoping this will put him in a better situation for the upcoming races. This means that now both Max and Carlos will be taking grid-penalties, but we are still staying positive. The good news is that the long-runs don’t look too bad and we have collected lots of good tyre information that hopefully will help on Sunday. The track temperature is expected to be higher on Sunday so we will carefully study all that data tonight and come up with the best possible set-up we can for Sunday.”
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RED BULL: IT WAS A TOUGH DAY

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Red Bull drivers report from the first practice day of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Daniel Ricciardo: “We know we’ll lose quite a bit of time on the straight here in Monza, so it’s the best place to take our penalties. We focused on the race set-up, since we will be starting from close to the back of the grid. If it’s looking to be a dry race, we’ll look at saving tyres during qualifying, and other strategy options. We have a standard setting for the brakes and we’ve seen the normal tyre wear which is expected at this track. We’ll do what we can for this race.”
Daniil Kvyat: “It was a tough day for us today. We lost quite a bit of time in the second practice session and we couldn’t work through our full programme. Qualifying isn’t our main focus, as we have the penalties to deal with and we made the decision to concentrate on the long runs. The pace is what we expected for Monza.”
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WILLIAMS: WE CAN BE COMPETITIVE

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Williams team report from the first practice day of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Objectives: aero evaluations, set-up and tyre work.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “Today we focused on testing our specific Monza package which all seems to be working very well. We’ve had quite a substantial programme to get through in terms of performance and car specification, so it’s been busy. We’ve tested a myriad of mechanical components, new transmission developments, new suspension developments, plus other developments which we’re putting in the pipeline for the future which the team have put a lot of effort in to. The long runs were good and on low fuel we looked quite reasonable for where we usually are on a Friday. Both drivers are reporting that the balance of the cars is good so I think we’re in a positive position for the weekend.”
Valtteri Bottas: “It was a good Friday. Thankfully it stayed dry and we got through the whole plan without any issues. We were doing a lot of set-up work with the car, trying different aero, mechanical and suspension settings. Now we’ve tried a lot of different things with both cars so we have plenty of information for tomorrow to choose all the best combinations so I’m looking forward to the outcome because I think we can be competitive.”
Felipe Massa: “We had a positive session and I am happy with the balance and feeling of the car which is a good start to the weekend. We have to now have a look at the data and compare this to where we think our competitors are over the short and longer runs. At a first glance the car looks competitive, we just need to make sure we are ready for tomorrow.”
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SEVERAL DRIVERS TO GET GRID PENALTIES AT MONZA

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Several Formula 1 teams are making tactical power unit changes at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, with drivers from the Renault powered camp namely Red Bull and Toro Rosso, as well as the Honda powered McLaren duo will face grid penalties.
Daniel Ricciardo will take a massive 25 place grid penalty, while teammate Daniil Kvyat gets a 10 place grid drop.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner explained, “We know we’ll struggle here at a power circuit so it makes sense to take all of that by taking sixth engines this weekend so that we are ready to make the best of things next time out.”
“We’ve used up the mileage on the units we currently have, and we need to do this to get through to the end of the year. This is the best place to do it,” added Horner.
Ricciardo said, “Monza’s not obviously a circuit that suits us particularly. We’ve got the penalties as well, so you know that’s obviously a strategic thing as well – take the penalty here rather than in Singapore where we expect to be very competitive.”
“Then, yeah, have some fun here on Sunday, come through the field as far forward as we can and then Singapore, we can really fight for a podium there,” concluded the Australian.
In the wake of Spa – where Fernando Alonso was given a drop of 30 grid positions and McLaren teammate Jenson Button collected a marginally less draconian 25 place penalty – the two worldchampions will each receive a to place grid penalty for Monza.
Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz loses ten grid places thanks to a fresh Renault engine following problems at Spa, and said, “I’m positive even if I’ll have to take a ten-place grid penalty. I really want to at least gain all those positions back in the race, as [Max] did in Spa… If he can do it, I can do it!”
For the weekend at Monza, Ferrari have upgraded their engine for their important home race.
Mercedes revealed that they have used up all seven of their remaining development tokens to update their power unit with an eye on the 2016 season.
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Italian GP: Toro Rosso makes tactical F1 engine changes

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Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr will take grid penalties for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix because their Toro Rosso Formula 1 team will make tactical engine changes on both cars.
Verstappen will take a seventh power unit of the season which will result in a 10-place grid penalty while Sainz has a 20-place drop because the change will be his second of the weekend.
It follows sister team Red Bull's decision to do a double engine change on both Daniel Ricciardo's and Daniil Kvyat's cars this weekend.
Meanwhile, McLaren-Honda followed up its double change in Spa with a single change at Monza.
Verstappen said his change was tactical, as Renault's lack of power will be amplified at Monza, but he said the timing was not as well planned as it could have been.
"It's quite painful to have to do the change," Verstappen told AUTOSPORT.
"Red Bull and Carlos - they do two engines, I think it's a bit better planned.
"I did one in Spa and one again [here] so that's not ideal, but we just take it.
"We were waiting for the first two practices. If I was in the top 10, I don't think we would have done it - but we are quite far off.
"We know this weekend is going to be tough for us. It's not good but it's better here than somewhere else.
"It's a good thing because we'll have more engines for Singapore, where we can normally score."
Sainz was already destined to start towards the back having had an engine change this weekend after an electrical problem at Spa, so fitting a second engine will have minimal impact on his grid slot.
"We all know why we took the penalty, it's because it is not the best track for the STR and our power unit," said Sainz.
"The car feels good. I had a couple of long runs and a couple of short runs but the stopwatch doesn't lie, we're not quick enough.
"I stay positive and I'm going to have some good fun starting with two Red Bulls and two McLarens. The opening laps should be good."
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Lotus has budget to complete Formula 1 season, CEO Carter says

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Lotus CEO Matthew Carter has confirmed the team has a budget in place to see out the remainder of the Formula 1 season.
The future of the F1 team is currently up in the air as it is struggling financially, with discussions ongoing with Renault about a possible takeover.
Questions recently arose as to whether Lotus would be in a position to take part in this weekend's Italian Grand Prix after its trucks were impounded following the race in Belgium due to a dispute with former reserve Charles Pic.
Although the team was late in setting up at Monza, they were back on track for Friday practice, and will be for the remainder of the weekend.
Asked whether the team would be at the next race in Singapore, though, Carter replied: " I can guarantee you we'll be in Singapore.
"One of our sea-freight containers has left, our airfreight will leave next week. We will be in Singapore.
"The financial issues are all over the press, everyone is aware of them. We're working as hard as we can behind the scenes to get them sorted out.
"None of them have become terminal, obviously. We're still here, we're still racing and we will continue to do that.
"As far as the rest of the races this season, we have a budget in place and we will operate to that budget and will be at all the races."
Renault's takeover is now in the final stages, with the French manufacturer's board currently reviewing documents relating to the deal that were signed off by the Lotus board on Wednesday.
It had initially been hoped Renault's £65million move to take a 65 per cent majority stake in Lotus would be finalised this week.
But given the complexities of the agreement, it now appears likely the matter will drag into the early part of next week
Addressing the situation, Carter added: "It's difficult for me to say too much.
"The ownership and shareholding of the team are down to our current shareholders and our potential future shareholders.
"All I can tell you is negotiations with a certain car manufacturer have been ongoing for a number of months behind the scenes.
"I'm hopeful that's going to secure our future one way or the other going forward.
"And when I say one way or the other, it just means we have more than one option going forward to secure the future of the team."
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F1 drivers told to stop public criticism of Pirelli tyres

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Formula 1 drivers have been asked to stop criticising Pirelli in public in a meeting with the tyre firm and Bernie Ecclestone at the Italian Grand Prix.
The talks followed severe criticism of Pirelli by Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg following their Belgian GP tyre blowouts.
Pirelli met with Vettel between Spa and Monza, leaving the Ferrari driver appreciative of the Italian company's efforts.
That was followed by a meeting with a larger group of drivers and team bosses on Friday in which topics included the need for more testing freedom and an agreement to voice criticism in private.
"It was to find a way, if we're to stay in Formula 1, to have a much better working relationship and collaboration with all the parties in the sport," said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery.
"You can't go to 2017 with a dramatic change in tyre widths with the current regulations saying you can't test.
"We also feel that there needs to be a greater communication with the drivers and all parties need to agree on what is the objective.
"You might not agree with the objective, but if the sport decides to go in a direction then we all need to know that we're all looking at the same future."
Asked if the drivers had been told they were barred from negative comments about Pirelli, Hembery replied: "They've been asked to do it in the right environment, which is in the teams and with us.
"They should express their opinions in the right manner.
"Other things happen in the sport and they don't offer an opinion, so it just needs to be balanced."
Although Pirelli is currently embroiled in a battle with Michelin for the next F1 tyre contract, Hembery said the main impact of driver criticism was on the public rather than Pirelli's board-level decision-makers.
"It's less about the board, it's what the general public thinks," he said.
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"Public perception, obviously, with famous people saying those things is not favourable."
He accepted there was also fault on Pirelli's side.
"We're guilty of not communicating enough with the drivers," he said.
"I think there's a willingness from the drivers to work with us.
"The main point is that we need more communication, so we've suggested regular meetings with the drivers so we can take their points of view and put them to the other parties."
Drivers present in the meeting were unwilling to comment about its specifics.
When asked by reporters what had been discussed, Rosberg replied: "You guys know too much. I'm not going to say anything. It's not a good idea [to talk about it].
"[The meeting] was OK. I'm pleased with the effort that's gone in since Spa to try to understand it and take measures to further improve the safety."
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Rosberg gives himself homework to beat Hamilton

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Nico Rosberg following Friday practice was cautiously optimistic about his chances of beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Italian Grand Prix, and has assigned himself some homework to help him do it.
The German ended up in second place behind Hamilton in both practice sessions albeit his best lap was just 0.021 seconds shy of the Briton's in the second session.
"It's not gone my way up to now, and tomorrow is another shot and it's very close today," Rosberg said after.
"Lewis has been pretty quick up to now but it got very close at the end there as we were trying a qualifying run. It's OK, going in the right direction."
Rosberg also admitted to surprise at the time gap between the Mercedes and the rest. "We are surprised, we're looking very quick here at the moment, so I'm very pleased with that."
In terms of the battle within Mercedes, time lost by Rosberg to his team mate in the final sector of the track appeared crucial to him ending up behind in the second session. "I lost it in the last two corners...Lewis just seems to be quicker there at the moment," Rosberg admitted.
And with this he has assigned himself some homework in order to help him get on top.
"I definitely will need to work on those [two corners] tonight, look at his onboard to see where he's turning in, how much kerb here's taking and try to find out what he's doing differently and try to do the same tomorrow.
"You go through the onboard cameras from all the other drivers, especially those drivers who I think are doing a good job there and try to understand what they're doing better than me. And I also have the data to look at...and of course also understanding what I'm doing better than the others [is important]
"There's a lot of work to do and it's a very particular track here."
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McLaren expect all four of its drivers to race in 2016

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McLaren racing director, Eric Boullier, has hinted that Jenson Button will remain with the team in 2016 after declaring that the Woking team expects all four of its drivers to race next season.
Both Fernando Alonso and Button have a contract with the team, however the Briton's is just an option which McLaren can choose to take up or not, without consequences.
McLaren chairman Ron Dennis previously stated that Button's seat was safe, but there is increasing pressure on the team to get GP2 leader Stoffel Vandoorne on the grid, whilst Kevin Magnussen is also waiting in the wings for his return.
"As far as we are concerned, McLaren have only two cars, only two race seats and we have two world champions and we do intend to keep them so far," he said in Monza.
"We expect the four of them to race [in 2016]," Boullier added. "It's a luxury problem to have four good drivers.
"Kevin and Stoffel are very good. Both of them we expect to race in Formula 1 and if we can't fit or accommodate them we will do our best to make sure they can race next year."
It's expected McLaren will attempt to place Magnussen and Vandoorne with a backmarker team such as Manor as much of the grid is already confirmed, however the claims will continue to fuel rumours of a McLaren B-team.
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F1 drivers told to stop public criticism of Pirelli tyres

1441385085.jpg

Formula 1 drivers have been asked to stop criticising Pirelli in public in a meeting with the tyre firm and Bernie Ecclestone at the Italian Grand Prix.

The talks followed severe criticism of Pirelli by Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg following their Belgian GP tyre blowouts.

Pirelli met with Vettel between Spa and Monza, leaving the Ferrari driver appreciative of the Italian company's efforts.

That was followed by a meeting with a larger group of drivers and team bosses on Friday in which topics included the need for more testing freedom and an agreement to voice criticism in private.

"It was to find a way, if we're to stay in Formula 1, to have a much better working relationship and collaboration with all the parties in the sport," said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery.

"You can't go to 2017 with a dramatic change in tyre widths with the current regulations saying you can't test.

"We also feel that there needs to be a greater communication with the drivers and all parties need to agree on what is the objective.

"You might not agree with the objective, but if the sport decides to go in a direction then we all need to know that we're all looking at the same future."

Asked if the drivers had been told they were barred from negative comments about Pirelli, Hembery replied: "They've been asked to do it in the right environment, which is in the teams and with us.

"They should express their opinions in the right manner.

"Other things happen in the sport and they don't offer an opinion, so it just needs to be balanced."

Although Pirelli is currently embroiled in a battle with Michelin for the next F1 tyre contract, Hembery said the main impact of driver criticism was on the public rather than Pirelli's board-level decision-makers.

"It's less about the board, it's what the general public thinks," he said.

1439459733.jpg

"Public perception, obviously, with famous people saying those things is not favourable."

He accepted there was also fault on Pirelli's side.

"We're guilty of not communicating enough with the drivers," he said.

"I think there's a willingness from the drivers to work with us.

"The main point is that we need more communication, so we've suggested regular meetings with the drivers so we can take their points of view and put them to the other parties."

Drivers present in the meeting were unwilling to comment about its specifics.

When asked by reporters what had been discussed, Rosberg replied: "You guys know too much. I'm not going to say anything. It's not a good idea [to talk about it].

"[The meeting] was OK. I'm pleased with the effort that's gone in since Spa to try to understand it and take measures to further improve the safety."

tl;dr: Hey, guys. Quit bitching about our shitty tires. K? Thanks.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk

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MERCEDES GIVE GLIMPSE OF 2016 MEGA F1 POWER UNIT

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Mercedes’ Formula 1 engine customers are yet to benefit from the very latest specification of the dominant German marque’s power unit, and at Monza got a glimpse of the potential as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg dominated proceedings.
Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, Mercedes handed in its remaining seven in-season development tokens and unveiled what the Italian press is calling the ‘super motor’.
Indeed, the gap to Ferrari and the rest of the field after Friday practice was significant, as Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko quipped: “And it’s not even Saturday, when they turn it up.”
As far as Mercedes is concerned, it is already now planning ahead for 2016 with an experimental engine.
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“We want to see what direction we are going for next year,” boss Toto Wolff confirmed to Speed Week. “And because there are no more tests in the year, we have to test in the race. Monza is therefore a part of our development programme.”
One concern, he said, is that the upgraded engine may not yet be completely bullet-proof, “We cannot expect an entirely trouble-free weekend. Reliability could be an issue. But at some point we have to start with the tests.”
That may be a good argument for why customers Force India, Lotus and Williams are yet to be offered the latest specification.
“Our customers will get the new development as soon as possible,” Wolff is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
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RAIKKONEN OVERTIME WITH TIFOSI SURPRISES FERRARI BOSS

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Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was left wondering whether he was with the real Kimi Raikkonen after his Finnish Formula One driver devoted half an hour to signing autographs and greeting fans at the Italian Grand Prix.
The 2007 world champion is regularly voted the sport’s most popular driver, despite the ‘Iceman’ being renowned for his taciturn attitude and lack of enthusiasm for sponsor engagements.
Asked whether it was true that Raikkonen had “set a record” for signing autographs at Monza on Thursday evening, and whether he had pushed him to do it, Arrivabene smiled.
“We had several conversations and I said: I know that you are a very cool guy and most probably because you are cool, they like you,” he told reporters after Friday practice.
“But at least if we meet the guys — the tifosi [fans] — you have to sign and at least move your hand and say hello and possibly smile.
“And he stuck to these instructions and I was thinking: is there something wrong here?. He’s becoming a good guy and I was pleased about that, even if I’m still thinking… I said it can’t be Kimi, it was a [doppelganger] or somebody else.”
Raikkonen’s future at Ferrari had been in doubt but the Italian team confirmed last month that the 35-year-old was staying for another year as four times world champion Sebastian Vettel’s team mate.
In 2007 Raikkonen won Ferrari’s last world championship, and since then he left the team at the end of 2009 to make way for Fernando Alonso. After a period where he dabbled in rallying and Nascar he returned to F1 with Lotus in 2012 before moving back to Maranello in 2014.
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VETTEL AND WIFE HANNA HAVE SECOND DAUGHTER

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Nico Rosberg is not the only Formula 1 driver with a brand new baby at home.
Bild reports that the fiercely-private Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel’s partner Hanna gave birth to their second daughter a few days ago in Switzerland.
Kolner Express, a German tabloid, said Hanna may even have had a pair of twins, but Vettel insisted: “This is private.”
It is believed Vettel’s news has leaked into the newspapers after he told his Ferrari team the happy news at Monza. And he may have also shown his former boss Christian Horner a mobile phone photo of his newly-extended family.
Rosberg, meanwhile, dismissed claims that having babies makes F1 drivers slower.
“My father drove the fastest ever lap a month after I was born,” the Mercedes driver, referring to his father Keke, is quoted by Welt newspaper.
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MONZA QUALIFYING: HAMILTON ON POLE WITH FERRARI HUNTING

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Reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton took his 11th pole position of the season, the 49th of his career and his fourth at Monza as he beat Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen to top spot on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix.
Third place in the session went to Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari while Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was fourth after being forced to revert to an older specification Mercedes engine when a problem was detected with the latest version power unit fitted to his car for this weekend’s race following the morning’s final practice session.
After early morning rain had led to wet and intermediate tyre use in a drying final practice session, Q1 got underway in dry and bright conditions. The early pace was predictably set by the Mercedes duo, with Hamilton annexing top spot with a time of 1:24.251, more than half a second clear of Rosberg, who was running with the power unit used in Spa.
As the 18-minute session wore on and the final runs approached the drivers in danger of the cut were 15th-placed Fernando Alonso of McLaren, team-mate Jenson Button, the Manors of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi, while Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo had yet to set a time.
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McLaren, Toro Rosso and Red Bull are facing grid penalties due to power unit changes but despite the impending sanctions, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz attempted to secure as positive a grid position as possible and was in P8 before the final runs.
There was drama for Verstappen as he began his only run, however. The Dutch driver’s engine cover flew off at the Curva Grande, scattering debris across the track and he was forced back to the pits without setting a time.
Also out after the first session were Stevens and Merhi in P18 and P19 respectively, with the Manor drivers finishing behind the McLarens of Button in P16 and Alonso.
At the top of the timesheet, Hamilton was quickest with a time of 1:24.251, just over three tenths ahead of Rosberg. Kimi Räikkönen was third fastest for Ferrari on 1:24.662, with the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg fourth and fifth respectively. Sainz, meanwhile, made it through as the highest-placed Renault-powered driver, in 12th place.
The Mercedes and Ferrari drivers were the only qualifiers to make it through the session without using the option soft compound Pirelli tyres.
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Hamilton again set the early benchmark in Q2, with the championship making his way to a best time of 1:23.383 ahead of the final runs. He was followed by Räikkönen who was just under four tenths adrift, Vettel and Rosberg.
At the other end of the order were Sainz, Ricciardo and Kvyat, none of whom had not set a time, while Lotus’ Romain Grosjean was in P12 behind the Sauber of Felipe Nasr.
Ricciardo opted to sit out the session and without a time on the board he qualified in P15. Kvyat and Sainz, meanwhile, chose to battle for position and while Kvyat took provisional P13 with a time of 1:25.796 he was quickly pushed back by Sainz who beat the senior Red Bull driver by almost two tenths of a second.
Also eliminated at this point were Nasr in P12 and Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado who was pipped to a Q3 berth by Hulkenberg, whose lap of 1:25.510 was 0.015s quicker than that of the Venezuelan.
It is notable that Red Bull failed to get a car through to Q3 for the first time since Brazil 2008, David Coulthard’s last race in Formula 1.
At the front, Hamilton who sat out the session finished in P1 ahead of Vettel. Raikkonen, who also stayed in the garage for the final runs was fourth ahead of Rosberg and the Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.
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After the first runs of Q3 Hamilton, with an opening lap of 1:23.397, was a relatively comfortable three tenths of a second clear of Vettel at the top of the order with Raikkonen third, just seven thousandths of a second behind the German. Rosberg, using the Spa engine, was struggling, however, and after the first runs he was in P5 behind Massa.
He remedied that situation in the final runs, vaulting ahead of the Williams driver by improving to a time of 1:23.703, but it was still only good enough for fourth as both Raikkonen and Vettel found more time.
Of the Ferrari drivers it was Räikkönen who succeeded in finding the most time and with a time of 1:23.631 he pipped Vettl to the front row by five hundredths of a second.
Hamilton, meanwhile, failed to improve on his opening lap and closed out his 49th career pole position with just over two tenths of a second in hand over Vettel.
With Massa fifth, Bottas was sixth for Williams ahead of Perez and Grosjean while row five is set to be filled by Hulkenberg and Ericsson in ninth and tenth respectively.
Hamilton said afterwards, “I’m very happy. The guys have done a great job with the car and we have improved reliability really well.”
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FERRARI: A SURPRISE TO BE SO CLOSE TO MERCEDES

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Qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari’s home race, the Italian Grand Prix took place in sunny conditions after this morning’s rain, so that weather conditions more or less replicated what’s expected for tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen will start from second on the grid with a time of 1.23.631, while Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel will start from third in 1.23.685 in front of the big crowd here in Monza. Lewis Hamilton took pole for Mercedes in 1.23.397.
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was the best qualifying of the year, I’m happy for all the team and the people who support us. This was the perfect time for us: obviously we’d like to get such a good result at every race, but if I have to choose one it’s here. Today was a good day, it gives us a good chance for the race, but this doesn’t mean that tomorrow we can beat everybody. We need to do a good job. I’m a bit surprised because we knew our weaknesses and the layout of this track, but everything worked well and we were closer to Mercedes than we what we expected. It’s impossible to say what’s going to happen tomorrow, obviously our aim is to make a good start then go safely into the first corner, do the maximum and hopefully we’ll be able to challenge. We’ll try to do our best and see how it ends up.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I’m very happy, not entirely with my lap as I made a bit of mistake in Lesmo 1, but for the fantastic result it is for the team. It puts us in a great position for tomorrow: it’s a bit of a surprise to be so close to Mercedes today, but we have to wait and see tomorrow. We know that they will be very strong in the race and they will be the ones to beat if we want to win, but maybe with all the power from the tifosi we can have a surprise. This time is very different for me compared to the previous years I’ve been here: when you’re driving you can see people clapping and cheering, pushing and supporting you and it’s fantastic. Inside and outside the track there are so many fans: for us this is the most special race of the calendar.”
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SAUBER: WE ACHIEVED WHAT WE EXPECTED

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A satisfying result in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix for the Sauber F1 Team starting from P11 (Nasr) and from P12 (Ericsson).
Marcus Ericsson put in a strong performance by finishing in P10 – making it into Q3 in qualifying for the third time this season after the Malaysian and Chinese Grand Prix.
However, Ericsson was given a penalty for impeding another driver in Q1. Felipe Nasr qualified 12th, but will move up one position.
Marcus Ericsson: “Overall it has been a good day. We have shown a strong performance in qualifying and reached Q3. Everyone has done a good job. We have gone in the right direction in terms of the set-up of the car, with qualifying being the strongest session throughout the weekend. I am pretty pleased with that, even though on my run in Q3 I made a mistake, so I could have done a better lap. In the end we made it into the top ten so have good chances to score points tomorrow.”
Felipe Nasr: “First of all, the balance of the car felt good, and I was able to extract the most out of the it. I was quite confident about making it into Q3, but on my second run in Q2 I made a mistake which forced me to abort this lap. Nevertheless, it is a good starting position in order to score points.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “Well done by the team – finishing in the top ten in qualifying is a good performance. Therefore, we achieved what we expected so far. Although Marcus was given a penalty, these are promising positions to fight for points tomorrow. Now it is important that we maximise our opportunites.”
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MERCEDES: WE EXPECT AN EXCITING BUT CHALLENGING RACE

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Lewis Hamilton clinches pole after intense qualifying battle at Monza, Nico to start fourth

  • Lewis claimed his fourth Italian Grand Prix pole, the 49th of his Formula One career overall
  • Nico qualified fourth – less than a tenth shy of a front row grid slot – despite being forced to change engines after FP3 following a problem with his planned race unit
  • The replacement Power Unit was previously used in Spa and is now being entered for its sixth race weekend
  • Both drivers ran once in Q1 (prime), Lewis once (option) and Nico twice (option / option) in Q2, and both twice in Q3 (option/option)

Lewis Hamilton: “Ferrari did a great job. They’re very close here and it’ll be a good fight. In terms of my lap, it was good but not perfect. My Spa qualifying lap was definitely better. But the car has felt good all weekend and the crew have been fantastic as always. The guys in the garage did an amazing job to turn Nico’s car around after practice. I don’t know what the problem was but I’m not concerned for tomorrow. Pole is always a great feeling but there’s a long way down to turn one and Ferrari are strong off the line. Last year I didn’t have a good start and had to fight hard so nothing is done yet. We’ve shown strong pace in our long run simulations though so hopefully we can keep that up tomorrow in the race.”

Nico Rosberg: “First of all, a big thanks to the boys in the garage for getting the car ready just in time for Qualifying. I had a good session and my laps felt quite good. But unfortunately, after the problem in FP3, I had to run an old engine which had already been used for five race weekends so I had a small lack of power. With every kilometre you lose a bit of power and Monza is a power track where the engine has a big impact. It will be tough tomorrow, as I will probably also be a bit slower in the race because of that. But I will never give up. I have to fight for a great start and hope to overtake the two Ferraris in front of me quickly to give myself a chance of catching Lewis. So, a disappointing and unlucky afternoon – but there is still a lot to play for tomorrow.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “First of all, I want to congratulate Lewis on a fantastic pole position – his seventh in a row, which is close to record territory. He has been on strong form this weekend and showed that through every part of qualifying, too. But it’s a bittersweet feeling today because of the problem we suffered with Nico. I want to congratulate the boys in the garage for an amazing job to change his engine between practice and qualifying, after we suffered the problem at the end of this morning’s session. But it certainly sent Nico into qualifying on the back foot, using a Power Unit that has already completed five races, and he wasn’t happy with the car balance either, suffering from quite a lot of understeer. In the circumstances, he did an excellent job. We didn’t achieve our potential today and, as we saw, we have a very strong rival in Ferrari. We can expect an exciting but challenging race tomorrow afternoon.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): “An exciting qualifying session, if not the complete result we were hoping for. Unfortunately we had a problem with the engine in Nico’s car at the end of FP3, so we reverted back to the Power Unit he ran in Spa – which is already five races old. The team did a fantastic job to turn the car around in time to run trouble-free right from the start of qualifying, so all credit to the mechanics for their excellent work. When it came to the qualifying battle ourselves, Ferrari and Williams showed particularly good pace, which made for a tense contest that had built up through the three sessions. Lewis then produced another top quality lap to take another pole position, so a big congratulations to him. With Nico starting from fourth and the competition looking close, we should be set for an entertaining race tomorrow and we look forward to that.”

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