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Formula 1

Winners and losers from F1’s Monza sprint race

by Josh Suttill
5 min read

Valtteri Bottas claimed victory in Formula 1’s second sprint race but it will be Max Verstappen who will start Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix from pole position.

Bottas has a slew of grid penalties for an engine change that will force the Mercedes driver to start the grand prix from the back of the grid, leaving the second-place finisher in the sprint, points leader Verstappen, to lead the field away tomorrow.

But not everyone had as good a day as Bottas and Verstappen did, so our writers pick out the biggest losers along with a couple more winners from the sprint race at Monza.


Valtteri Bottas

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Sprint Day Monza, Italy

In what is surely one of the toughest weeks of Bottas’s F1 career so far, he’s delivering one of his most complete weekends as a Mercedes driver.

He followed up his superb final Q3 lap with a dominant drive in the sprint, expertly managing the safety car restart and never even giving Verstappen so much of a sniff of victory.

It’s just a crying shame he won’t take his deserved space at the head of the field on Sunday. – Josh Suttill

Max Verstappen

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Sprint Day Monza, Italy

If you feel like karma wasn’t on Verstappen’s side in the first half of the F1 season, you’ve been getting a bit of reassurance since the summer break and the sprint did him a big favour.

Third in qualifying on a weekend Red Bull hasn’t looked like it’s been on Mercedes’ pace has translated to pole position for the race with the best Mercedes starting fourth.

Yes, that’s not all down to the events of the sprint as Bottas’s grid penalty is a big factor in Verstappen’s net win, but the manner in which his third became first doesn’t really matter in this instance. At a track that has so often been painful for Red Bull, it has a great chance to improve its championship prospects tomorrow. – Matt Beer

McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Sprint Day Monza, Italy

Ricciardo’s recorded decent results already this season, but even if he retires on the opening lap tomorrow this has still been surely his most convincing weekend as a McLaren driver so far.

He was on the wrong end of a few thousandths on Friday but got the debt repaid by Lady Luck today with Hamilton bogging down and compromising Norris. But the pace was very reasonable after that, and a front row start will be a pleasant feeling.

And what about McLaren as a whole? Having taken a blow against Ferrari last time out, it is suddenly in a position where it should – and, really, must – get at least one car on the podium. – Valentin Khorounzhiy

Antonio Giovinazzi

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Sprint Day Monza, Italy

Last time out I called Giovinazzi non-clutch – but, while the ultimate test is yet to come on Sunday, he clearly maximised the opportunity presented by his good qualifying here.

Strong off the line and clever into Turn 1 to leapfrog Perez, he drove well under pressure from the Red Bull late on to secure what is set to be seventh place on the grid tomorrow.

Alfa Romeo’s battle with Williams in the constructors’ may well be lost, and Giovinazzi’s battle for a 2022 seat could be as well – but there’s clearly still plenty of fight left. – VK


Valtteri Bottas (again)

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Max Verstappen Red Bull F1 Italian GP Monza

It is an extremely “Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes” situation for the Finn to earn pole twice yet have to start from the back of the grid.

His pace hasn’t always been there, but luck certainly hasn’t been either.

It does prevent the potential heartbreak of having to give up another win through team orders, so hooray for small favours – although given how hard passing looked, it’s far from a foregone conclusion that Hamilton would (will) make his way past Verstappen. – VK

Lewis Hamilton

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Sprint Day Monza, Italy

Having played a clear second fiddle to Verstappen at the Dutch GP,  things looked much better for Mercedes at Monza, with a 1-2 in Friday qualifying.

But it all went wrong at the start, with Hamilton mirroring the poor 2020 getaway of his team-mate Bottas from the P2 slot on the grid.

It drops Hamilton a further two points behind Verstappen, and leaves him with the McLaren duo between them tomorrow.

All is not lost but the sprint has changed the Italian GP from a likely victory for Hamilton to a mountain to climb on Sunday. – JS

Sergio Perez

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Day Monza, Italy

Perez continues to make hard work of life in the second Red Bull. He wasn’t hired for his qualifying pace, but ninth on Friday was the kind of thing his predecessors have been sacked for – as was a race in which he lost more ground then made heavy weather of overtaking Lance Stroll.

Bottas’s grid penalty takes a bit of attention away from how badly his counterpart at Red Bull is doing at the moment. – MB

Pierre Gasly

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Sprint Day Monza, Italy

The defending Italian Grand Prix winner made a solid start to the sprint race and was on course to emerge from the first chicane in fourth place, two places higher than he started the race in.

But he clipped the rear of Ricciardo’s McLaren, lost a position to Norris and then had his front wing fold under his wheels, sending him into the barriers.

It was a disappointing nullifying of all of his hard work this weekend, having delivered another strong qualifying effort on Friday, leagues clear of his AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.

To make matters worse for the team, Tsunoda had contact with Robert Kubica and required repairs at the end of the opening lap.

Both drivers will have to fight through from the back tomorrow, and won’t have as sizeable a pace differential that Bottas will enjoy to charge through the field.  – JS

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