Lewis on pole at Monza as rumours fly

So, who’s found time to catch up with yesterday’s qualifying? It was, for those prepared to sacrifice some late summer sunshine, quite a session. Less for the result itself — Hamilton and Button on the front row — more for the background of paddock gossip against which it had to fight for our attention.

For the second weekend on the trot everyone is talking about Lewis Hamilton. This time it’s not his increasingly random Twitter and Instagram feeds. No more hiphoddities or proprietary telemetries, just wistful snaps of ElHam doing some free-climbing last winter. But also no sign of a flat denial that he might be driving a Mercedes next year, something Sunday Afternoon Club has been saying for some time. Oh yes, well before EJ waded in.

We think it is more likely than not and yes, we know all the arguments why he should not. We just think Lil’ Lewie’s management don’t necessarily put having a car capable of winning the world championship on the top of its list of requirements.

Interesting though, with all this business going on, that Mercedes looked better yesterday than it has in a long time, Michael Schumacher starting fourth, Nico Rosberg sixth. Last week, the team claimed it had ‘done a Button’ and had spent too much time chasing a dead-end set-up and yesterday was saying it could even win today. They have not done that all season, even when Nico started on pole in China. It’s almost as if they’re trying to convince Hamilton of something.

Michael and Nico’s start positions are boosted by the fact that Paul di Resta qualified fourth, but takes a five-place grid drop for a gearbox change (and by the way we are with Martin Brundle on this one, these mechanical penalties aren’t good for the sport). Anyhow, it was a fantastic performance from Di Resta who had been starting to look less impressive than team mate Nico Hulkenberg (who starts last after a mechanical in Q1).

Di Resta of course was favourite for the second Mercedes drive should Michael do the decent thing and make way for someone younger (or was favourite before the Lewis rumour started). Of course if Lewis does go to Mercedes, then there will be a seat at McLaren. And then there’s Ferrari. Even after Massa nailed his best qualifying session of the season with a third place start, he’s surely not going to be employed at Ferrari next season. Hulkenberg’s name was in the frame there earlier this week, and Di Resta won’t have done his chances any harm at all with that drive.

Ferrari promised to do something special in qualifying and spent the last practice session yesterday rehearsing some pretty darn cool-looking slipstreaming teamwork. Come Q3 however, it didn’t really happen. Well not for Fernando Alonso anyhow, who starts tenth. I guess it’s no surprise that Alonso was able to boost Massa to third, but Massa could only hinder Alonso to tenth. Seldom has the team looked so one-sided.

Alonso will most likely leave Italy and the 2012 European F1 season behind still leading the championship, as Red Bull again looked unconvincing, Sebastian Vettel starting fifth and Webber in the pack having not made Q3. He doesn’t look like a winner right now, and Alonso should score points from tenth. Then again, with so much action going on off-track, the world championship barely seems the priority this weekend, once again, it’s all about Lewis. Maybe he can show us why it deserves to be this afternoon. That would be nice.

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Ferrari is not going to want Perez as much as Perez wants Ferrari, that much is obvious, so I would indeed put my bets on Di Resta being Massa’s replacement at Team Red. That said, it’ll be hard to find a team who’s eager to take on somebody as vocal as Perez. Lotus springs to mind, but they won’t be needing new drivers for some time to come, so I think it’ll be another season at Sauber for Sergio.

As for Lewis, I don’t expect him to leave McLaren just yet, but if he does, that would stir things up massively… I mean, who are McLaren going to hire as their second driver?


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Hurry up and get well Kubica!
I epect Vettel to do well today. Redbull are stronger on race day.

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@120Y: red bulls awful qualifying is going to haunt them, I expect mclaren to do well because of their great qualifying, and hamilton to win.

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“They have not done that all season” is sort of an ambiguous statement, isn’t it? It took me three tries to figure out you weren’t just talking about winning a Grand Prix.

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“Di Resta of course was favourite […] or was favourite before the Lewis rumour started.”

You really don’t believe in proofreading, do you?

Also, I fail to see how Felipe Massa could have caused an anti-roll bar problem for Fernando Alonso by pursuing a slipstreaming strategy.

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Well Done Mcclaren, all the Sam Micheal
haters please speak up now.
good drive by, Massa happy for him.

overall a good result, KImi Rakkinoen
has a ahot at the title.
well done lotus.

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hold on,if i may quote eddie jordan before quali kicked off on bbc highlights “he should go to mercedes because they have a better PROMOTIONAL value”.since the bloody hell when was a through and through racer like lewis bothered about ANYTHING other than racing and winning titles. i am sorry but unless mercedes get hold of apiece of paper saying what every part of the red bull rb7 did and changed so it complied with rules.they are not going to win titles you hear me NOT in a MILLION years

@120y, i also hope that kubica does get better,because he is one of the very last through and through racers, who dont let money and fame and glory take over his life. they started in the 60s and got more thorough with every passing year until around the mid noughties when media started to cover f1 on a daily basis. its gonna be sad when they go,because it will be the end of a very long ang good era

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