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Hamilton dominates Italian GP qualifying en route to 7th pole of 2016

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Lewis Hamilton stormed to his seventh pole position of the 2016 Formula 1 season after dominating qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton topped all three sessions ahead of Mercedes teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg to end the German’s streak of pole positions, taking his first since the British Grand Prix in July.

Both Hamilton and Rosberg made it through Q2 on the soft tire, allowing them to start on the harder compound on Sunday. However, Hamilton is likely to request a change of one of his tires after causing a flat-spot on his quickest set, having also attempted to go quicker on a second run.

Hamilton took provisional pole with his first lap on super-softs in Q3, going almost three-tenths of a second faster than Rosberg.

Rosberg improved with his second run as the checkered flag came out, but was still two-tenths off Hamilton’s effort. Despite already having pole in the bag, the Briton found yet more time on his last lap to extend his advantage to half a second.

Ferrari locked out the second row for its home race as Sebastian Vettel edged out teammate Kimi Raikkonen for third place.

Valtteri Bottas impressed for Williams, running to fifth ahead of the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Force India saw both its drivers reach the top 10, with Sergio Perez qualifying eighth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.

Haas chalked up another major breakthrough during its debut F1 season by getting into Q3 for the first time thanks to Esteban Gutierrez. A stellar lap from the Mexican saw him finish P7 in Q2 before eventually qualifying 10th.

After announcing his retirement from F1 earlier in the weekend, Felipe Massa was unfortunate not to reach Q3, finishing 0.016 seconds shy in P11 for Williams. Romain Grosjean was 12th in the second Haas car, but will drop five places on the grid after a gearbox change on Saturday morning.

The weakness of the Honda engine around the high-speed Monza circuit left Fernando Alonso struggling for pace in qualifying. The Spaniard was unable to make it through to Q3, finishing 13th for McLaren.

Manor enjoyed another impressive charge in qualifying courtesy of Pascal Wehrlein, who reached Q2 for the second race in a row. The German impressed during the second session to qualify 14th ahead of Jenson Button and Carlos Sainz Jr. – two major scalps for the backmarker team.

Daniil Kvyat’s rotten run of form continued as he was eliminated in Q1 once again, finishing less than a tenth shy of Alonso’s time. The Russian was left fuming with P17, sending an expletive-filled message back to his Toro Rosso pit wall after the session.

Sauber and Renault endured fairly routine qualifying sessions, their drivers filling out places 18 to 21. Felipe Nasr was the quickest of the quartet ahead of teammate Marcus Ericsson, with Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen following in P20 and P21.

Esteban Ocon’s second F1 qualifying session came to an early end after an issue on his Manor forced him to stop at the first chicane. After failing to set a time, the Frenchman will start from the back of the grid on Sunday.

The Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.