Ferrari really didn't disappoint on one of their most important days of the season as Carlos Sainz took pole position in front of their tifosi. Max Verstappen ended up a close second as Charles Leclerc completed the Ferrari party by qualifying in third place.
The first part of qualifying, despite being run on the hardest tyre compound saw similar development to FP3 with both Red Bulls emerging at the top of the timesheet as soon as they went out. Ferrari continued to appear the second best team with Sainz typically having the upper hand on his team mate.
With 3 minutes left we had Sainz at 4 tenths of Verstappen and Leclerc a couple of hundreths behind. Alonso and Albon were up next in 5th and 6th, pretty much in line with Alonso's predictions from before the weekend
Lando Norris on the other hand jumped up into 4th a minute from the end and underlined how McLaren managed to fit a strong low downforce rear wing to offset the fairly draggy design that is this year's McLaren.
As Mercedes had its driver around P10, Stroll, Piastri and both Alpines were those in trouble ahead of the typical late flurry of action on track. In those last minute laps both Williams drivers found improvements to move up into second and sixth. Norris and Alonso didn't improve but were safe whereas Zhou had his final lap deleted and as a result dropped out in 16th along with the Alpine duo, Magnussen and Lance Stroll.
Ahead of Q2 it was announced that both Ferraris were under investigation for not being in line with a new directive laid out by the race director to avoid big queues ahead of starting a flying lap. The minimum time for in- and outlaps was apparently now respected but no immediate decision was taken by the stewards.
On mediums the relative performance picture was still pretty much the same with Verstappen going fastest of all the end of the session. He only took that position very late though after both Ferraris took charge of the situation. In the end Verstappen held an advantage of 0.040s over Leclerc and 0.054s over Sainz. Perez followed at 3 tenths with Albon and the two Mercedes next.
The final part of qualifying saw Verstappen kicking up some gravel at the first Lesmo, leading to both Ferraris going slightly faster with Sainz taking the top of the timesheet much to the pleasure of the Italian crowd. George Russell had a great lap too and ended up 0.231s behind the pace setter. Albon was 5th, then Perez, Norrris, Piastri, Hamilton and Alonso 10th.
The latter was the first man out on track for a second attempt followed by Charles Leclerc. Leclerc imediately set the timing screens alight and went fastest in the first and second sector to take the top spot around 2 tenths quicker than his previous best.
Verstappen then bettered it with a lightning quick final sector before Sainz shaved off yet another 0.013s off of Verstappen's time to take pole position.
George Russell secured 4th and will therefore start ahead of Sergio Perez on tomorrow's starting grid. Albon Piastri Hamilton, Norris and Alonso completed the top 10.
Right after the contenders parked their cars on the main straight it was also announced by race control that there would be no further action regarding the issue with both Ferrari's in Q1 meaning the tifosi will see Sainz's red Ferrari line up in front of everyone for the Italian Grand Prix.
|2||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:21.573||1:20.937||1:20.307||21|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:21.911||1:21.240||1:20.688||21|
|6||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:21.661||1:21.272||1:20.760||21|
|7||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:22.106||1:21.527||1:20.785||24|
|9||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:21.995||1:21.581||1:20.979||23|
|10||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:22.043||1:21.543||1:21.417||19|
|11||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:21.852||1:21.594||15|
|12||40||Liam Lawson||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:22.112||1:21.758||15|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:22.343||1:21.776||16|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:22.249||1:21.940||14|
|15||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:21.930||1:21.944||15|
|16||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:22.390||8|
|17||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:22.545||7|
|18||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:22.548||8|
|19||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:22.592||8|
|20||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:22.860||9|