September 7th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Mercedes delivered their worst qualifying performance of 2013 at Monza today, ending up with Nico Rosberg 6th and Lewis Hamilton 12th on the grid for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton blamed no-one but himself for his poor qualifying result, after he made a mistake during Q2 that resulted in damage to the floor of his car.
Hamilton made no attempt to deflect the blame for his error after qualifying. He said, "I just didn't get a lap together in Q2 today and it's hugely disappointing, not just for me, but also for the team and I can only apologise to them as we had a quick car today. Qualifying has always been a real strong point for me but it really didn't come together this afternoon. Q1 was fine but I didn't do a good enough job in Q2. I came off at Parabolica on my first run which damaged the car and it was a downward spiral from there really."
After the damage to the floor of his car, Hamilton had another run in Q2, but was held up in the final corner of a flying lap by Adrian Sutil, who received a three-place grid penalty for his offence. On that lap, however, Hamilton was already off the pace and would not likely have improved his lap time even if Sutil had not been in the way.
Hamilton is a racer, and he relishes the opportunity to show his speed on the track. He will have such an opportunity in Sunday's race, where he will have to pass 11 cars if he is to stand on the top step of the Monza podium for the second year in succession. Hamilton said, "We will see what we can do from here tomorrow. I'll be pushing like hell to get a decent finish but there are a lot of quick cars ahead."
Hamilton's elimination during Q2 marks the end of a 67-race run of Q3 appearances that stretches back to 2010. It also ends a four-race streak of pole positions for Hamilton.
Rosberg's qualifying session was compromised before it even began, when an hydraulic issue left him stuck in the Mercedes garage for most of the morning FP3 session. As a result, he missed out on almost a full hour of setup work and had to make do with his Friday setup. He also needed to take some time to build confidence on the track, and he did not have that time during qualifying. With that in mind, sixth fastest is a reasonable result. Rosberg said after qualifying:
"Starting from sixth place is not where we want to be, however considering that I didn't get any running in the final practice session this morning because of an hydraulics problem, it's not too bad. I had to take our set-up from yesterday and I just didn't feel comfortable in the car throughout qualifying, particularly with a lot of understeer. For tomorrow, I hope the set-up will work out better as I had a good long run on Friday. There's also the chance of rain and we know that our car is very quick in the wet, so we can still hope for a good race."