McLaren could be poised to secure a third win out of three Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton took pole and Jenson Button completed the front row for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix. All of McLaren’s nearest rivals struggled to get close to the team with Sebastian Vettel only managing to qualify sixth but will start fifth (following Paul di Resta’s five place grid penalty) and Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber qualifying 10th and 11th respectively. It had looked as if Ferrari would take pole as Alonso finished top of both session one and two however a problem with his car left him unable to set a truly competitive time. Ferrari were saved by Felipe Massa who qualified strongly in third place but is unlikely to challenge for the win tomorrow.
Having won the last two races of the season it appears likely that McLaren will continue their winning streak and further eat into the advantages of Red Bull and Ferrari in both the Drivers and Constructors World Championship. McLaren look most likely to maintain their winning form with consistency from both their drivers and car developments despite the questions surrounding Hamilton’s future hanging over them. Vettel, Alonso and Webber will attempt to keep themselves in the championship by capitalising on any of McLaren’s misfortune.
Surprises could be sprung from the Mercedes team after both their drivers benefitted from di Resta’s gearbox change and will start fourth and sixth respectively, hoping to add to their lone win from this season. A promising weekend for Force India was thwarted by technical problems as Nico Hulkenberg starts last and di Resta ninth after a five place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Things weren’t much better for Lotus as Kimi Raikkonen could only manage eighth but will start seventh due to di Resta’s penalty and Romain Grosjean’s replacement Jerome D’Ambrosio could only secure 16th on the grid but will start 15th due to a Maldonado grid penalty.
It could be argued that McLaren have benefitted from their rivals misfortune, however motor-racing is about consistency. If McLaren can keep winning, then both the Championships are there for the taking. Ultimately it seems barring catastrophes McLaren are set to record their third win in three races. But then again, catastrophes are all too common if F1, they’re often waiting for you at the first corner.