The qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix did not deliver any surprises or excitement as Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas smashed their rivals once again.
FIA has introduced a new technical directive for this weekend’s race at Monza that required teams to use the same engine setting for both the qualifying session and the race. Although there were question marks coming to Monza whether that could shake up the competitive order and distabilizie the so far Mercedes-dominated 2020 season, it has become quickly clear that the reigning champions continue their march towards their 7th consecutive Constructors’ title.
FerrariSebastian Vettel, 17th, 1:21.151
"There’s not much to say about this session. There were a lot of cars in front of me when I started my second quick lap. In that moment I knew it wouldn’t be possible to improve my time. I don't know why the other drivers started to overtake on the warm up lap. I found myself in the middle of the mess and didn't get a lap. Everybody should stay in the position they are in the line, then everybody opens a gap and it should be fine to set a time. From our side, probably we didn’t pick the right time to get back on track and some others managed to do better than us, as they improved. Of course starting from so far back on the grid means it will not be an easy race, but you never know what can happen and we will see what we can do."Charles Leclerc, 13th, 1:20.273
"Coming into the weekend we expected it to be like this. We knew that Spa and here are probably the two worst tracks for us but this is our situation at the moment. It’s tough, because once you do a good lap and you end up P13 it doesn’t feel good. But for now I need to try and extract the maximum out of the car in the situation we are in.
"Of course, it hurts even more as this is our home race, but it’s the reality for us at present, unfortunately. We need to work and hopefully Mugello, which is still home soil for Ferrari, will be a bit better than here. Last weekend and here, we have been trying many things on the car, but we are not finding a solution. So we need to keep our head down, stay motivated, and I’m sure better days will come."
MercedesLewis Hamilton, 1st, 1:18.887
"It wasn't the easiest session because of how close it was out there, so it really demanded a clean lap and I got that on both of my Q3 attempts. I'm very happy with the laps I did and Valtteri was very, very close, pushing me hard. I made some big changes going into qualifying, so I was a little bit nervous before the session, but it all worked out well. A fantastic performance from the team today, particularly with the engine rule change. Hats off to everyone back at the factories, they've kept their heads down and this result is proof of the incredible work they do. I'm proud to be part of that chain and I'm excited to see what tomorrow will bring. It's going to be a fun battle."Valtteri Bottas, 2nd, 1:18.956
"Of course, it's disappointing to miss out on pole, especially by such a small margin. My pace has been pretty good all weekend and it was really close out there, as I expected. It was tricky with the tow, as I chose to run first this weekend, so I didn't have any - except during Q2 where I did the fastest time. I was on my own in Q3, which wasn't a bad place to be because you have clean air in the corners but obviously you are not benefitting from the tow on the straights, and it's a difficult balance to find. Still, the laps were good and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. My race pace on Friday was matching Lewis and this track always provides opportunities, so it's up to me to take them. It's still all to play for."
McLarenCarlos Sainz, 3rd, 1:19.695
“Very happy with P3! A great effort from everyone in the garage and a positive day for the whole team. We knew we had decent pace to fight in Q3, but to qualify P3 behind both Mercedes in such a tight session is a great feeling! Another good lap straight out of the garage in Q1 meant I could take two fresh sets of Soft tyres into Q3. I gave it all in my last attempt of qualifying and managed to pull off a very good lap to clinch this P3. I’m aware the job isn’t done yet and the points are given out tomorrow. I hope we can have a clean race and that we can capitalise on today’s result.”Lando Norris, 6th, 1:19.820
“A tough quali, just because it’s so tight between the midfield pack. The top two are gone, but between everyone else it was very tight and I made a few too many mistakes on my final push-lap, which cost me. There was nothing huge – it would’ve been half-a-tenth to a tenth – but that would’ve put me much higher up on the grid. Just a bit frustrated that such small things can cost so much, but that’s just the way it is with the midfield being so tight at the moment.”
Red BullMax Verstappen, 5th, 1:19.795
“From our side we have not really had a good weekend so far and we seem to struggle to find the perfect balance with low downforce on the car. It becomes more difficult to hold on through the corners and we lack grip, which resulted in P5 today. You can say that we are slightly down on power but that is no excuse as there are other things we need to fine tune on a track like this and clearly we are also lacking a bit of pace through the corners. I tried everything I could, we tried all the wing levels that are possible to run at Monza but the end lap time was the same. In the race normally we are a bit more competitive and I think a podium is still possible tomorrow. It won’t be easy to overtake and we are all very close from P3 to P10 but I expect we can still fight for P3 and we won’t talk about Mercedes, they’re on another level. Monza is a very special type of track and when we go back to a more normal layout, I expect to see us back in P3 again.”Alex Albon, 9th, 1:20.090
“As we expected it was another messy and hectic qualifying around here which made it difficult to do your lap just at the right time. Overall it has been a tricky weekend for us as a Team and we’re obviously disappointed with the result in qualifying today but personally speaking I’ve been happier with the car here. It’s been a smoother weekend for me and of course P9 doesn’t really show that but we’re a good step closer to Max and that’s positive. As a Team we’re further down than we want to be and coming here we knew it was going to be a difficult weekend as these low downforce types of circuit don’t suit us as well as they do the others just like we saw in Spa. The McLarens are very strong on the straights and the Racing Points also came from nowhere today but at the same time we hoped to have a bit more time in hand. There are a few corners which we just haven’t quite hooked up and so we’re losing time there compared to those around us but our race pace is a bit stronger and hopefully with tyre deg here we can do something tomorrow but we are not expecting an easy race.”
“I’m feeling okay with seventh place as it was quite a good recovery through the session. We were a little behind in qualifying and we didn’t really show the speed of yesterday or even this morning. It was good to reach Q3 and to get seventh means we’re in amongst it on the grid and in a position where we can fight for positions. Our car in the race is strong, so I’m confident we can pick it up a bit and have a good one.”Esteban Ocon, 12th, 1:20.234
“It wasn’t a great session from us today and there were things we could have done better. In Q2, I was improving and then I lost the slipstream with Daniel going off in front of me. It’s disappointing to miss out on Q3 by a small amount of time. It was hectic out there at times, but we knew it was going to be like that. Our performance was a bit down on what we thought, so we have a couple of things we need to sort. Tomorrow, our target is to score points.”
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly, 10th, 1:20.177
“I’m happy to make it to Q3 again. FP3 was a tricky session this morning, so we had to find a bit more pace for quali. We looked pretty strong in both Q1 and Q2, and in the end my lap put me into P6. However, my first run on new tyres in Q3 wasn’t great, I struggled a lot with oversteer and I was sliding a lot. On my second run, my lap on used tyres was good, but just not good enough to be ahead of the other guys on new tyres. It’s only P10 today, but it’s very close and I still think we have a strong package to have a good race tomorrow.”
Daniil Kvyat, 11th, 1:20.169
“Today quali became a game of slipstream, so you either got it right or you got it wrong. I was a bit unfortunate with Kevin as he just went off track in front of me, which caused me to lift a bit and I lost the slipstream. Still, starting from P11 gives us a good chance to fight for points and that’s what we’ll do. Everything’s there to play for.”
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen, 14th, 1:20.926
“We can be happy with this result, even though I feel we could have been at least one place higher. On my first runs in Q1, the car balance felt really good, but in my last run with new tyres I had some understeer. In any case, we take this result and we fight from here: hopefully it’s going to be a bit easier starting this high. We knew Q1 was going to be messy and that being in the right place at the right time would be important: it’s not the first time it happened here and it definitely won’t be the last. It felt more like a race start than qualifying, but that’s how it goes. It’ll be interesting to see what the race holds for us: we struggled a bit on long runs yesterday, but the car made a step forward since so hopefully we can be stronger tomorrow. We will do our best and see where we end up.”Antonio Giovinazzi, 18th, 1:21.206
“It’s a disappointing result in a tough qualifying session. We knew it would be like this as the tow can make a massive difference: we tried our best but it was not enough. The final run is where you need to get your lap together, but unfortunately I got stuck in traffic at the end of Q1 and couldn’t improve my time: it’s not great but now our focus has to switch to tomorrow. Starting towards the back won’t be easy but we have to try; we did a few changes this morning to improve our race pace and hopefully this will help us with our performance.”
HaasRomain Grosjean, 16th, 1:21.139
“I’m disappointed as we’d made a change on the rear ride-height between final practice and qualifying – it didn’t work. I knew I could go through to Q2 today, but the change just made the car not great. Sadly, we’re out. As I said, it’s disappointing as I was convinced I could get to Q2 but instead I’m out in Q1. The race is usually a different story. Let’s see how it goes, hopefully the rear suspension will evolve and we’ll pick up some rear ride-height – that will help.”Kevin Magnussen, 15th, 1:21.573
“I made a mistake and went off – I was on the limit. I knew that if I got a perfect lap in we could probably beat Raikkonen, so I tried to go for it. You have to give it a go but it didn’t work. We were either going to be 15th, or potentially 14th, we had nothing really to lose. It was good to get through to Q2 at least. P15 is one of the better qualifying results we’ve had this year, so we’ll take that. I’m hoping that we can do something tomorrow in the race, but I don’t think we really have the pace. It’ll have to be something out of the ordinary – so fingers crossed for that.”
"It was a frustrating session for all of us, especially in the moment. Looking back there wasn’t a huge amount more the team could have done, if they sent me a bit earlier or a bit later. We would still be in the same boat. It is just one of those Monza things unfortunately. Nevertheless, we have our eyes focused on tomorrow."Nicholas Latifi, 20th, 1:21.717
"It was very tricky out there. We knew we were going to struggle coming to this track, which has proved to be the case. The closing speeds are very high, from when someone is pushing and when someone is not, everyone wants the tow at this track as it makes such a difference. My first lap wasn’t great, the second was better but still not perfect from my side and there was more time there on the table. Whether Q2 was realistic, it is difficult to say but we definitely could have been a bit quicker. Full focus is on tomorrow now and to see what we can get."
Racing PointSergio Perez, 4th, 1:19.720
“The team has done a fantastic job today. We’ve worked so hard to improve the car in every session – and we’ve managed to secure a great starting position. We’ve focused on getting the car set up for the race, so I’m surprised with how competitive we were in qualifying. It’s always important to qualify well here – because overtaking isn’t easy – and P4 is a great starting position. We’ve taken some steps forward and I’m confident we can fight for a podium finish tomorrow. There’s been a lot of talk about engine modes, and it probably affected us a little in qualifying, but it should help our race pace tomorrow. I’m pleased for the team and impressed with how we’ve turned things around through the weekend. Now we can focus on getting a good result tomorrow.”
Lance Stroll, 8th, 1:20.049
“We made good progress with the car overnight and were more competitive than I expected, so I definitely feel like we could have started higher than P8. It wasn’t the cleanest qualifying session for me: I made a mistake on my first attempt in Q3, which compromised my lap. It’s always hard at Monza with the traffic and picking up a tow, but we can turn the page now and focus on tomorrow. It’s difficult to overtake, but with a strong start we can hopefully score some good points. I’m happy for Checo up in P4 and all credit to the team for their hard work improving the car this week.”