Max Verstappen once again starred in wet conditions as the Dutchman ended up second fastest in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix, although his grid penalties for an engine change will relegate him down the order.
The Red Bull Racing driver was a contender in the closing stages of qualifying but saw his chance of a maiden pole position disappear when Lewis Hamilton pulled a lap 1.148 seconds faster, with the rain and the spray making it extremely difficult for all of the drivers.
Starting near the back of the field thanks to his penalty, Verstappen hopes to make gains on Sunday, and expects to reach as high as fifth or sixth, should the race be dry.
“Qualifying was positive today and I was happy with it,” said Verstappen. “To be second is, of course, a very nice surprise and in the wet I always enjoy it.
“Q1 and Q2 with the tyre choice was a bit difficult as the intermediates never seemed to work very well. In Q3 on the new extremes I didn’t have a lot of grip, I was sliding around and I never really felt that comfortable.
“I cooled the tyres for one lap and then my final lap was luckily not too bad, it wasn’t perfect but second was a good result for us. We always knew we had the penalties to take tomorrow and having a good Qualifying means I hopefully start fifteenth rather than at the back.
“Let’s hope we can overtake, move to the front and I think realistically the aim will be for fifth or sixth.”