Leclerc takes pole on Ferrari's home soil
Charles Leclerc got greeted with big cheers when it was clear he secured pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, thanks to a great last minute effort. Max Verstappen ended up second fastest and will start the Grand Prix from 6th due to a grid penalty for an engine change.
Qualifying at Monza is always a special affair as drafting on this high speed track could make a difference. However this time around, the number of grid penalties that drivers are to take are such that many are fighting while knowing they'll drop down the grid considerably.
In addition to the penalties there's also a new face on the track as 2021 FE champion Nick De Vries is driving Albon's Williams as the latter is out for the remainder of the weekend due to health issues.
As always the smaller teams had their cars out first but it did not take more than a few minutes before almost everybody decided to join the track. The Ferrari duo quickly got over with it and set one flying lap, not to be seen again for the rest of the session. Verstappen and everybody else came out again later in the session, though the Red Bulls did so on previously used soft tyre.
Verstappen emerged on top, ahead of the two Ferraris, Perez and Russell. Despite some drivers complaining of traffic there didn't appear to be any incidents.
In the closing stages of Q1 there were numerous improvements. Vettel for instance improved quite a bit on his previous lap but that only got him a tenth up on his teammate, resulting in a double elimination for the Aston Martins. Behind them were the Haas duo headed by Kevin Magnussen.
Latifi also got eliminated while his rookie teammate De Vries made it through into Q2 despite having his final and best lap deleted for track limits at Turn 10.
Q2 started with a fairly long stint of track silence before everybody decided to go out at the same time, all trying to profit from a bit of slipstream from the car ahead. Soon, complaints were abound that the warm-up pace was slow...
Verstappen was out ahead and recorded the fastest third sector to go fastest, but Sainz did better by improving in S1 and S2, completing a lap in 1:20.878. Charles Leclerc missed his braking point in Turn 1 and opted to do another slow lap before his flyer. He would end up in second, 3 tenths off his teammate.
Sergio Perez was 4th fastest, not far off of Verstappen and 4 tenths ahead of Hamilton and Russell who set the 5th and 6th best times. Alonso as 7th quickest, already more than a full second slower than the pace setter.
Ricciardo once again ended up in trouble being just 14th fastest after his first attempt. The Australian had only just managed to make it through into Q2 thanks to a last minute lap. Last year's winner would still miraculously improve on his second outing, this time trailing Norris whereas it was the reverse on the first lap.
Tsunoda meanwhile didn't set a time and ended up 15th in qualifying.
Everyone but Ferrari and Red Bull went out again for a second run. De Vries set a personal best in the first sector but then locked the rears while braking into Variante Roggia, sealing his fate in 13th. Zhou and Bottas also went out, along with Ocon as he failed to benefit enough from Alonso's draft who ran just ahead.
Also in Q3 drivers would wait a little bit before getting out. Two minutes ticked away before Norris went out, soon followed by Alonso, Ricciardo and literally everybody else within the next 30 seconds.
Yet again both Ferraris proved to work pretty well with Sainz one again setting the fastest time, 0.186s faster than Leclerc. Verstappen was a close third while Perez ended up 4th despite being half a second slower than Verstappen.
Russell was 5th, followed by Norris, Hamilton, Riciardo and Gasly. Fernando Alonso aborted his first flying lap and returned to the pits early. The Spaniard ended up the first to return to the track for a "second" attempt with 3 minutes and 7 seconds left on the clock. Perez followed up next while the Mercedes duo were positioned last to start their final flying laps.
Sainz improved slightly but a not so great first sector cost him pole. Leclerc and Verstappen both improved the Spaniard's effort but it was Leclerc who took pole position on Ferrari's home ground.
Hamilton improved to 5th while Gasly and Alonso got their times deleted and therefore remained 9th and 10th.
|2||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:20.922||1:21.265||1:20.306||16|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:21.495||1:21.358||1:21.206||15|
|7||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:22.130||1:21.831||1:21.584||19|
|8||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:22.139||1:21.855||1:21.925||20|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:22.010||1:22.062||1:22.648||18|
|10||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:22.089||1:21.861||17|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:22.166||1:22.130||12|
|12||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:22.254||1:22.235||12|
|13||45||Nyck De Vries||Williams Mercedes||1:22.567||1:22.471||13|
|14||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:22.003||1:22.577||12|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:22.020||6|
|16||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:22.587||7|
|17||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:22.636||7|
|18||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:22.748||9|
|19||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:22.908||10|
|20||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:23.005||9|
Hamilton, Tsunoda and Sainz required to start from the back of the grid for use of additional power unit and/or gearbox elements.
Perez, Verstappen and Bottas penalised 10, 5 and 15 grid places respectively for use of additional power unit elements.