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Italian GP: Williams Martini turns qualifying around

By Andrew Hooper
September 2 2017

In what was a major turn around for the Williams Martini team, after their recent difficulties in qualifying, to see both Williams cars finishing in the top ten. Lance Stroll would finish in a fantastic fourth while team-mate Felipe Massa was ninth. It was an amazing effort from the young Canadian as well as all at the Williams team. With various grid penalties Lance will start Sunday's race from an amzing second and Felipe seventh. This will make Lance the youngest front row starter in F1 history. A great result for all at Williams.

 Williams Martini Italian Grand Prix Qualifying

Team Summary:
Qualifying for the 2017 Italian Grand Prix would be affected even before it started by a large number of grid place penalties. Hulkenberg would receive a ten place penalty, Palmer a fifteen place penalty, Verstappen a twenty place and team-mate Ricciardo a twenty five grid place penalty. Further drivers were Sainz a ten place penalty and Alonso who will go back thirty five places. So even after qualifying it is going to be some time before the final grid is decided.

With the start of the first period both Williams cars were out early as conditions were expected to get worse with the rain still falling. Hamilton would set a 1m:40.128 to be quickest followed by Vettel, Grosjean, Ericsson, Bottas and Sainz. But the session was red flagged when Grosjean was to crash on the start finish straight ending up on the inside at the first chicane. Neither Williams driver had set a time returning to the pits.

After what was over two and a half hours after qualifying commenced the period would get back underway with the track conditions now much better. The cars would return to the track still running on the full wet tyre. There was thirteen minutes remaining in the period as the whole field took to the circuit. Verstappen would go quickest with a 1m:38.557 but Vettel would go faster with a 1m:28.285. Bottas was now quickest but Hamilton moved ahead with a 1m:36.981. After their first runs the Williams cars were sixth and tenth.

Drivers were switching to the intermediate tyre but it was reported that the rain was starting to fall again with four minutes remaining. Vettel was now third behind the Mercedes pair as the period came to an end. Bottas would finish quickest with the end of the opening period followed by Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Lance and Raikkonen sixth. The Williams drivers were fifth and seventh with Lance having done a great job.

With the start of the second fifteen minute period there was the possibility of increased rain. Several drivers were coming out on the full wet tyre others the intermediate. Verstappen would set a 1m:37.344 with Hamilton second. Vettel would go fastest with a 1m:37.198 from Verstappen and Hamilton. Bottas would go second but this would become third as Hamilton went fastest. But Vettel would go ahead with a 1m:36.223 seeing Hamilton second and Bottas third. Raikkonen would move up to fourth behind Bottas. Hamilton would go quickest again setting a 1m:35.344. Bottas was able to move up to second behind Hamilton. Hamilton was again quicker with a 1m:34.660 with Vandoorne now ninth.

The final twelve minute period would commence with rain falling quite heavy. Hamilton, Bottas, and Vettel were all on the intermediate tyre with the rest of the top ten on the full wet. Both Mercedes cars would pit to change tyres, joined by Vettel. Verstappen would set a 1m:36.113 to be quickest followed by Ocon and Raikkonen. Ricciardo was up to second but Ocon would move ahead but Hamilton would again go fastest from Ricciardo and Verstappen. Ocon was fourth followed by Bottas and the two Williams. Vettel and Raikkonen were in eighth and ninth. Both Mercedes cars had pitted taking on new wet tyres. Verstappen was now fastest with Lance now in third. But Ricciardo was up to second making it a Red Bull one-two. But Hamilton would go fastest again making him the record holder of pole positions. But for Williams qualifying was a great effort from the team.


Felipe Massa:
With the start of the first period Felipe would be out first for Williams, running on the full wet tyre. But with the red flag Felipe did not set a time. With the restart of the period Felipe would head out first for Williams on anew set of full wet tyres. Felipe's first lap was a 1m:38.895 to be sixth. He would drop to seventh despite having set an improved 1m:38.338. Felipe would pit also going to the intermediate tyre. He would finish the period in eighth behind Ricciardo. Felipe would start the second period on the intermediate tyre. He would have a big moment going onto the Parabolica to start his flying lap.

A 1m:38.338 would see Felipe fourteenth but he would pit taking on the full wet tyre. Felipe would set a 1m:38.185 to be seventh dropping to eighth then ninth. Felipe would pit again coming back out on intermediate tyres. He was now tenth behind Ricciardo. Felipe would be forced down to eleventh with the end of the period but he was on his last flying lap. He would finish with a 1m:37.456 to be eighth.

With the last period Felipe would come out on the full wet tyre. Felipe would set a 1m:37.456 to be sixth behind his team-mate. Felipe was now in seventh behind his team-mate. Felipe would drop to ninth behind Vettel, but this will become seventh on the grid.

Lance Stroll:
Lance was also out with his team-mate also using the full wet tyre. Lance was also not able to set a time with the red flag coming out. Lance would follow his team-mate out with the restart but he was on used wet tyres. Lance would set a 1m:39.770 seeing him ninth, dropping to tenth. But Lance would set a 1m:37.653 to be third behind Verstappen. Lance would drop to fourth as Bottas moved ahead. Lance would also pit taking on the intermediate tyre. Lance would drop to fifth behind Verstappen. Lance would also come out for the second period running on intermediates.

Lance would be thirteenth but he would improve with a 1m:37.653 to be fifth dropping to sixth. Lance would set a 1m:37/002 to be fifth ahead of Raikkonen. Lance would also come out on the full wet tyre for the final period. Lance would set a 1m:37.002 to be fifth dropping to sixth. Lance would improve to move back up to fifth. He was able to find further time to be third but Lance would drop to fourth. With the penalties for the Red Bull cars Lance will be second on the grid. 




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