Leclerc takes pole position in farcical qualifying session

Monza, Italy

Italian Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has taken pole position at Monza, following an utterly bizarre finish to the qualifying session.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has taken pole position at Monza. Setting a 1:19.307 on his first flying lap in Q3, the other Q3 drivers didn’t get a chance to respond and set a second flying lap.

Coming back out on track to start their second runs, the drivers all drove together trying to find space to allow for a slipstream from another car but mistimed their runs to mean all the drivers passed the chequered flag after their outlaps and unable to do a final flying lap. The FIA are investigating the lap for all nine drivers involved.

It was a bizarre, and hilarious, misjudgement from all the remaining participants in Q3, considering that they had sat in the garages for almost five minutes after the session resumed following a red flag period. That red flag had been shown to cover the recovery of Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa, the Finn having crashed at Parabolica during his first flying lap in Q3.

The lack of final run means that Charles Leclerc takes pole position for Ferari, 0.039 clear of Lewis Hamilton and 0.047 ahead of Valtteri Bottas in P3. The Finn had initially finished his flying lap just as the red flags were shown to cover Raikkonen’s crash, but was allowed keep his laptime to finish P3.

Sebastian Vettel was P4 in the second Ferrari, 0.150 down on Leclerc’s best after missing a chance to slipstream Leclerc after making a mistake into the first chicane on his outlap.

Daniel Ricciardo finished P5 as Renault enjoy a very competitive weekend, with Nico Hulkenberg P6 in the second Renault in qualifying. Carlos Sainz was P7 for McLaren, 1.148 down on Leclerc, while Alex Albon finished P8 for Red Bull Racing. He never got to set a laptime, and neither did Lance Stroll – finishing P9 for Racing Point, with the stricken Raikkonen in P10.

Outside Q3, Antonio Giovinazzi was P11 for Alfa Romeo, while Kevin Magnussen led the Haas charge in P12. Daniil Kvyat was P13 for Toro Rosso, while Lando Norris finished P14 for McLaren. Pierre Gasly finished P15 for Toro Rosso.

Eliminated in Q1 were Haas’ Romain Grosjean in P16, with Sergio Perez P17 for Racing Point. George Russell got the better of Williams teammate Robert Kubica to finish P18 to the Polish driver’s P19, while Max Verstappen will start from P20. Already facing a grid penalty for a change of power unit for this weekend, a power issue at the start of Q1 meant he didn’t set a time and was knocked out immediately.

Click here for the complete results from Qualifying – 2019 Italian Grand Prix.

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Thomas Maher

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