Hamilton gives Mercedes a 1-2 for Saturday’s Sprint.
Valtteri Bottas maybe leaving Mercedes at the end of the season, but he is making sure he goes out on a high. Following his announcement on Monday, Bottas grabbed smashing pole on Friday as he gets ready to start P1 on the grid for the season’s second Sprint race. That said, he will have mixed feelings as it was announced that the Finn, no matter where he finishes on Saturday, will start from the back of the grid on Sunday due to engine penalties.
Lando Norris will start fourth ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo. AlphaTauri‘s Pierre Gasly shone again as he is set to start P6 at the venue of his maiden victory, while the Ferrari pair of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc only managed P7 and P8.
With Mercedes locking out the front row, the points from the Sprint will be crucial in this year’s intense and tight championship fight and Mercedes will hope that they can maximise their track position for Saturday’s Sprint.
Catch us on Saturday for the Sprint as the drivers smash in 18 laps around Monza with no pit stops. The top three from the Sprint be awarded three, two and one point respectively, while the finishing order of the Sprint will determine the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
Qualifying Session 1 – Eliminated – Nicholas Latifi, Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher, Robert Kubica and Nikita Mazepin
Quite aptly it was the home team Ferrari who got the session underway with Carlos Sainz going on top of the sheets with a 1.22.495s but was quickly displaced by championship leader Max Verstappen who went 1.22.183s. It was Lewis Hamilton, though, who went right on top with an incredible 1:20.543s, a comfortable two-tenths up on his teammate in second.
With less than five minutes to go, the qualifying madness at Monza was well underway with cars overtaking each other like it was Sunday. As the cars started their final flying laps, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon found themselves in a spot of bother, languishing in the bottom five. Vettel, though, put in a solid lap to find himself well into the top 10, which left George Russell, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher, Robert Kubica and Nikita Mazepin eliminated from Q1. But Russell, who has been having a sensational season, found some luck when he squeezed into Q2 as Yuki Tsunoda had his final lap time deleted for crossing track limits at Turn 11.
Qualifying Session 2 – Eliminated – Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and George Russell
Both the Red Bulls got the second qualifying session underway with Max Verstappen leading his teammate. Verstappen, though, let his teammate by in an attempt to maximise the tow and quite comfortably went P1 with 1:20.7s. But Lewis Hamilton was having none of that and went even quicker, going 1:19.936s, an astonishing seven-tenths ahead of his championship rival.
As the cars set off for the final banker laps, there was a train of cars trying to get a slipstream off each other. It was agony for Sebastian Vettel as he missed out on the top 10 shootout by three-thousandths of a second with his teammate Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and George Russell being the others who joined him in getting eliminated.
Qualifying Session 3 – Bottas takes a sensational pole
Championship leaders Mercedes started the final session leading from the front with their rivals following just behind. It was Bottas leading his teammate as the team tried to give Hamilton a tow, who eventually went P1 once again with a 1:19.949s with Verstappen hot on his heels, just one-thousandth behind.
As the final laps came through, Valtteri Bottas went purple each sector to take provisional pole with a 1:19.555s and managed to pip his teammate by nine-thousandths of a second. Verstappen could manage only third as his teammate ended up a disappointing ninth.