Valtteri Bottas will start Formula 1’s second ever Sprint Qualifying race from pole position after the Finn topped Qualifying on Friday evening.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team locked out the front row at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza as Bottas led Lewis Hamilton by 0.096 seconds, with championship leader Max Verstappen third, more than four-tenths of a second back.
Q1 – Usual suspects fall amid the Monza traffic
Monza has traditionally in recent years been troubled by traffic during Qualifying, and it was evident again in the opening segment on Friday. Both Verstappen and Pierre Gasly were forced to abort laps after coming upon traffic heading into the Della Roggia and Ascari chicanes respectively, while queues backing up heading into the final turn were a regular occurrence.
George Russell, fresh off the news that he will be racing for Mercedes in 2022, initially believed he had been eliminated in Q1, but the Williams Racing driver was given a reprieve after Yuki Tsunoda had a lap time deleted for track limits. This meant that the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver was knocked out of the session.
Also eliminated was the second Williams of Nicholas Latifi, with the Canadian set to start sixteenth for Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying, just ahead of Tsunoda, while Mick Schumacher will start eighteenth in the leading of the two Uralkali Haas F1 Team cars.
Robert Kubica, again replacing Kimi Räikkönen this weekend at the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team, could only manage nineteenth, ahead only of the second Haas of Nikita Mazepin.
Hamilton topped the session with a time of 1:20.543, just ahead of team-mate Bottas and McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris.
Q2 – Aston Martin and Alpine Struggle
Former Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was unable to make it into Q3, with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team racer ending eleventh fastest in Q2, just ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll, a podium finisher at Monza in 2020.
Also finding themselves on the wrong side of the cut off were the two Alpine F1 Team drivers, with Fernando Alonso just edging out team-mate Esteban Ocon. After his reprieve in Q1, Russell could not find the pace needed to challenge for Q3 and will start fifteenth.
Hamilton again found his way to the top of the timesheets, with the seven-time World Champion setting a best time of 1:19.936, ahead again of Bottas and Norris.
Q3 – Bottas Grabs Pole Despite Gifting Hamilton a Tow
The two around Monza is thought to be amongst the most powerful on the Formula 1 calendar, and it came as no surprise that the two leading teams used the drivers not in championship contention to give the drivers who are a helping hand.
Sergio Pérez allowed his Red Bull Racing team-mate Verstappen to use his tow to good effect, with the Dutchman able to qualify third on the grid as a result, his best Qualifying position ever at Monza. However, the tow did not work as well for Mercedes!
Bottas was a man on a mission on Friday, with the Finn putting together a lap of 1:19.555, which, despite being given a tow by his team-mate, Hamilton was unable to match. The Briton ended 0.096 seconds down in second, but he will be happy to be ahead of his championship rival.
Norris ended fourth for McLaren, just 0.006 seconds ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, while Pierre Gasly followed the two Red Bull’s around for his final flying lap to take sixth on the grid for AlphaTauri.
Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc will share row four for Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying race, while Pérez and the impressive Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo will complete the top ten. It was the second consecutive weekend Giovinazzi has made it into Q3 as he fights for his future within Formula 1.
Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Result
|1||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:20.685||1:20.032||1:19.555||18|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:20.543||1:19.936||1:19.651||18|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:21.035||1:20.229||1:19.966||19|
|4||4||Lando Norris||ITA||McLaren F1 Team||1:20.916||1:20.059||1:19.989||21|
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:21.292||1:20.435||1:19.995||17|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:21.440||1:20.556||1:20.260||16|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:21.118||1:20.750||1:20.462||18|
|8||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:21.219||1:20.767||1:20.510||18|
|9||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:21.308||1:20.882||1:20.611||20|
|10||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:21.197||1:20.726||1:20.808||16|
|11||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:21.394||1:20.913||14|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:21.415||1:21.020||13|
|13||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:21.487||1:21.069||11|
|14||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:21.500||1:21.103||12|
|15||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:21.890||1:21.392||16|
|16||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:21.925||10|
|17||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:21.973||9|
|18||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:22.248||8|
|19||88||Robert Kubica||POL||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:22.530||7|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:22.716||9|