Italian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton has snatched pole position at Monza, taking pole position in a fraught qualifying session.
Lewis Hamilton has set a new lap speed record at Monza, setting a 1:18.887 to snatch pole by less than a tenth of a second over Valtteri Bottas.
Despite the ban on ‘party mode’ engines settings from this weekend onwards, there was no hint of slowing down from the Mercedes pair. On the first runs in Q3, Hamilton edged Bottas before the Finn struck back with a 1:18.9. On the final runs in Q3, Hamilton did a lap at an average speed of 164.26mph to take pole position with his 1:18.887 and 0.069 clear of Bottas. It’s his 94th career pole position.
Carlos Sainz finished in P3, taking a sensational second row start for McLaren and finishing 0.8 seconds away from pole position. His 1:19.695 just pipped Sergio Perez from Racing Point, with the Mexican driver settling for P4.
Max Verstappen could only manage P5, a somewhat disappointing result by his usual standards, but it could have been worse. The Dutch driver did a 1:19.795 which was just 0.025 clear of McLaren’s Lando Norris who was, in turn, just 0.044 clear of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in P7.
Lance Stroll finished P8 for Racing Point, with Alex Albon P9 for Red Bull. Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten for Alpha Tauri.
While Q3 was largely straightforward in terms of the drivers attempting to find space for tows around the fast Monza circuit, Q1 and Q2 were considerably messier with several blocks and incidents as drivers attempted to position themselves to their own advantage.
One particular incident saw Renault’s Esteban Ocon, Alfa’s Kimi Raikkonen and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in Q1 that resulted in Raikkonen being badly baulked. The incident is under investigation.
Ferrari’s recent woes continued although the team will be thankful crowds are absent from Monza. Charles Leclerc was their highest placed representative with P13 and Q2 elimination, although this was still better than what Sebastian Vettel could manage. The four time Champion was knocked out in Q1 and in P17 having encountered traffic on his fastest lap.
Daniil Kvyat claimed P11 for Alpha Tauri, with Esteban Ocon P12 for Renault with the French driver under investigation for his blocking incident.