F1 Italian GP 2021: Bottas, who announced to race for Alpha Romeo in 2022, had a blizzard lap at Monza in qualifications for Sprint, happening today. He was 0.096s faster than Hamilton yesterday. And while Bottas will start the race at the end of the grids after taking the raft engine penalty for this weekend, he will play a major role for Mercedes by start at p1 in the sprint in hope of taking away points from Verstappen.
Verstappen had looked off the pace of the Mercedes across Friday. And that was confirmed in qualifying, as the Dutch driver took P3 on the grid for Red Bull, 0.411s off Bottas.
F1 Italian GP: Qualifing 1.
With Ferrari having earmarked their home race at Monza as one where they might struggle due to a power unit deficit, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were sent out early onto the track, seeming to play around with the powerful tow at the Temple of Speed – said to be worth up to seven-tenths a lap here.
Traffic is always the problem in Q1 as 20 cars racing on the track for best times. It leads the drivers to many edgy moments when having their fastest lap on board.
Once the jostling was done the time recorded was that Hamilton came out fastest followed by Bottas 0.142s behind and Verstappen came out fourth in Q1 0.452s slower than Lewis. A surprise third position was taken by Lando Norris a tenth second faster than Max.
Sainz and Leclerc’s tow antics, meanwhile, netted them fifth and seventh – with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi doing a good job to split them in P6.
It looked that both the Williams would have been knocked out in Q1 but the final lap timings of Yuki Tsunoda were deleted because of track limits at turn 11 giving next year’s Mercedes driver Russell a chance to perform in Q2.
Italian GP: Qualifing 2.
It was a surprise to find Max in p6 after their first attempt to set timings as both the Redbull had a lack of pace. Lewis setting timing of 1m 19.936s, as Perez took p10 with both bulls work to do.
2019 Monza winner Leclerc, meanwhile, having detected an issue on his SF21 in Q1, was complaining vociferously about the engine braking on his car, which appeared to be sapping his trust in his Prancing Horse.
With drivers coming out for their final attempt Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel almost crashed with Lewis Hamilton in pit lane while coming out.
Hamilton and Bottas failed to improve their timings in their second effort as they were using used soft but were still fast enough to take the top spot. Lando Norris again took the p3 spot while Verstappen was still on p4 in his second attempt as Riccardo took 5th.
Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, Estaban Ocon, George Russell found it hard to reach Q3.
F1 Italian GP: Qualifing 3.
The first attempts were amazing by the drivers as Lewis laying the bar at 1m 19.949s but this time Verstappen was only 0.12s behind followed by Lando who again took p3. Meanwhile, Bottas was on p5 behind Riccardo after their first attempts.
As the drivers circulated Monza for their final laps, though, Bottas was in inspired form, setting purple times in the first two sectors before sweeping over the line in 1m 19.555s to take provisional pole.
Hamilton couldn’t find himself ahead of Bottas even though after improving his time to 1m 19.651s that’s still left him 0.096s behind Bottas.
Verstappen ultimately wouldn’t improve on his second lap, but had done enough in his opening run to claim third on the grid for Saturday’s F1 Sprint – albeit that he was a chunky 0.411s off Bottas – Verstappen ahead of the impressive Norris, who took fourth, while Ricciardo was frustrated to lap just 0.006s adrift of his teammate as he claimed fifth.
Gasly beat both the Ferraris to take sixth, with Sainz at seventh ahead of Charles who took eighth. Perez was a lowly ninth in the second Red Bull, while Giovinazzi rounded out the top 10, after his second straight Q3 appearance.
watch the highlights of F1 Italian, Monza GP qualifying, here