Lewis Hamilton breaks Schumacher's pole record at a wet Monza GP
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton takes his 69th pole position as he wins Italian Formula 1 GP
British Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton took a record-breaking victory at the Italian Grand Prix on 2 September, when he took his 69th pole position – breaking the record previously set by Michael Schumacher. The Mercedes driver finished on the Monza track 1.148 seconds clear of his nearest rival Max Verstappen, taking the drivers’ championship lead for the first time this series.
“To do this at such a historic circuit, in Ferrari’s homeland – I can’t believe it. I am going to have some pasta to celebrate,” Hamilton, 32, said of his back-to-back pole record when he took his trophy. More astonishing was that his performance came in the wet. Drivers waited two and half hours for the rain to stop before tackling the Monza track.
“The weather has been incredibly tricky for us all. To come here to this beautiful country and face typically English weather was a massive challenge. It was very difficult to see the lines out there and, as always in the rain, very easy to make mistakes. But I gave it everything with that last lap.”
Home team Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel came in at position fifth and sixth – leaving Hamilton a safe three points clear of rival Vettel – while 18-year-old Lance Stroll became the youngest ever driver on the front row as he managed to best both. Force India’s Esteban Ocon, 20, came in third.
While Hamilton was met with boos by passionate Ferrari fans as he took the podium, he took the upset with good grace. "I love it here in Italy and I love the passion of the fans. They're fantastic,” he said. “Inevitably you're going to be the villain here, if you're the one that's stopping the Ferraris… They feel a little bit more like football fans here, the aggressive ones, but it's all in the name of love for the red cars.”
Hamilton’s next test will be at the Singapore Grand Prix, starting on 15 September.