Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, beating Formula 1 title rival Max Verstappen to the fastest time at Monza.
Leclerc trailed Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz heading into the final Q3 runs, having helped tow his team-mate during the earlier flying laps. Both went quicker on their final runs, but Leclerc’s improvement was more significant and enough for him to claim his first pole since July’s French GP.
Verstappen was three tenths off the pace after the first Q3 runs, but vaulted to second on his final run. The Red Bull driver will drop back on the final grid thanks to a five-place penalty for an engine change.
Sainz finished the session third fastest, within three tenths of the pace, but he faces a back-of-the-grid penalty for various engine component changes so will also drop back in the final reckoning.
The second Red Bull of Sergio Perez was fourth, over a second off the pace but three tenths clear of Lewis Hamilton in the fastest of the Mercedes.
Both Perez and Hamilton also face grid penalties, which means sixth fastest George Russell should join Leclerc on the front row of the grid for the race.
Lando Norris was seventh for McLaren, just 0.042 seconds slower than Russell, who complained of a lack of grip in Q3, while 2021 Monza winner Daniel Ricciardo was eighth in the other McLaren, 0.341s behind Norris.
Grid penalties should propel Norris to the second row and Ricciardo won’t be too far behind him.
Pierre Gasly was ninth fastest for AlphaTauri, Monza’s 2020 winner recording his best qualifying result since Baku in June, while Fernando Alonso’s Alpine rounded out the top 10 after not setting a time in Q3.
Esteban Ocon missed the Q3 cut by just 0.068s despite a tow from Alpine team-mate Alonso, preserving Gasly’s place in the top 10.
Ocon was 11th quickest but faces a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race.
Valtteri Bottas (who faces a 15-place penalty) was 12th fastest for Alfa Romeo, ahead of F1 debutant Nyck de Vries, who did a superb job to make Q2 at his first attempt for Williams.
De Vries was called up to replace Alex Albon ahead of final practice at Monza, after Albon suffered appendicitis.
De Vries survived having his best lap deleted in Q1 to beat Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi into the top-15 shootout, then went 13th fastest in Q2 despite going off at the second chicane on his final run.
The second Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu was 14th, a tenth slower than de Vries but ahead of Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri.
Tsunoda elected not to set a time in Q2. He was one of three drivers facing a back-of-the-grid penalty heading into this session.
Nicholas Latifi missed beating de Vries into Q2 by just 0.020s after a late improvement for Ricciardo, so Latifi ended up 16th fastest ahead of the Aston Martin and Haas drivers.
Sebastian Vettel beat Aston team-mate Lance Stroll to the 18th fastest time by a tenth, while Haas brought up the rear.
Kevin Magnussen did a lap with the help of a tow from team-mate Mick Schumacher that at one stage looked potentially good enough for Q2, but had it deleted for a track limits offence at the second Lesmo so Magnussen finished Q1 in 19th place with Schumacher 20th.
The Haas duo will likely move up the grid thanks to penalties for others, despite each facing 15-place grid drops of their own.
|Nyck de Vries