Valtteri Bottas Claims Pole Position For 2021 Italian Sprint Qualifying

Mercedes secured a front-row lockout for 2021 Italian Sprint Qualifying as Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton by 0.096s.

Across FP1 and Qualifying, Mercedes dominated as Lewis Hamilton set the pace throughout both sessions but Bottas benefitted from a fourth power unit to snatch pole for Sprint Qualifying at the death, as Max Verstappen settled for third ahead of Lando Norris.

Now here is a full roundup of Friday’s F1 action at Monza across FP1 and Qualifying.

 

FP1

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Sergio Perez was the first driver to leave the pits as he opted for a practice start whilst others swiftly filed out onto the circuit.

Hamilton however soon set the pace with 1m 23.191 on mediums from Perez and Valtteri Bottas and quickly lowered his benchmark by 0.929 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc and Bottas.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda meanwhile was left irate after he was blocked by Haas’ Nikita Mazepin upon entry at the first Curve di Lesmo, with the Japanese youngster subsequently pulling up alongside him to gesture his disapproval.

Times continued to tumble in the opening 15 minutes as Hamilton led the pace from Perez and Max Verstappen after the opening 15 minutes.

Perez nine minutes later went top on fresh medium tyres with 1m 22.127 with Pierre Gasly climbing to second just after the half hour mark, just before Daniel Ricciardo went top on 1m 22.003 with 25 minutes left as the track continued to evolve.

Come the checkered flag, Hamilton finished quickest with 1m 20.926 ahead of Verstappen, Bottas, Lance Stroll and Gasly who rounded out the top five, despite traffic interrupting final runs for several drivers.

Hamilton, Bottas, Fernando Alonso, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Lando Norris, Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon all set their fastest laps on the medium tyres, unlike the rest of grid who set their tyres on the soft tyres.

Position Driver Team Time 
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 20.916
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.452
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 0.525
4 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 0.750
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 0.793
6 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 0.898
7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.988
8 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 1.000
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1,077
10 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 1.113
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 1.176
12 Lando Norris McLaren + 1.177
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 1.344
14 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1.604
15 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 1.608
16 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo + 2.083
17 George Russell Williams + 2.166
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 2.516
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 2.519
20 Mick Schumacher Haas + 2.625

 

Qualifying

Q1

A quiet start saw everyone sit in the pits for the opening minute before Ferrari pair of Leclerc and Sainz led the field out for their opening runs, of which Hamilton set a session-topping 1m 20.543 on his first flier.

At the bottom end, Robert Kubica and Nikita Mazepin occupied the elimination spots ahead of Mick Schumacher, Alonso and Ocon who were all yet to set competitive lap times, although Schumacher’s flier was disallowed after he had run wide at the Parabolica at the end of his outlap.

Come the checkered flag, Nicholas Latifi was eliminated in 16th ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, Schumacher, Kubica and Mazepin. Tsunoda’s exit however came after his lap was deleted post-session which meant that George Russell scraped into Q2.

 

Q2

Sergio Perez led Red Bull teammate, Max Verstappen out for the opening Q2 runs but both drivers found themselves sat sixth and tenth after their first fliers of the session, as Hamilton posted 1m 19.936 to go top from Bottas and Norris with the top three finishing in that order at end of this session.

Ocon, Vettel, Sainz, Russell and Alonso meanwhile occupied the five elimination spots as Antonio Giovinazzi led pack out with three minutes left, which led to chaos as Stroll almost collided with Hamilton in the pits and Verstappen overtook three cars once he exited the pit-lane to find space on track.

Come the checkered flag, only Sainz escaped the Q2 exit list as Vettel qualified 11th ahead of Aston Martin teammate – Stroll who fell into the elimination zone at the end, with Alonso qualifying 13th for Sprint Qualifying ahead of Ocon and Russell.

 

Q3

Mercedes sent Bottas and Hamilton out first with the former setting a benchmark 1m 20.388 as Hamilton posted a provisional pole time of 1m 19.949, just 0.017s ahead of Verstappen as Norris and Ricciardo went third and fourth quickest for McLaren ahead of Bottas in fifth.

The rest of the top ten after opening Q3 runs were as follow; Gasly, Leclerc, Sainz, Perez and Giovinazzi, although Giovinazzi didn’t go out for a flier as he opted for just one run at the end whilst Gasly found himself providing a double tow for Perez and Verstappen.

Once the checkered flag fell, Bottas was the only driver who could make serious improvement as he posted 1m 19.555 to snatch pole from Hamilton, as the Brit could only improve enough to secure second and a Mercedes front-row lockout despite finishing 0.096s slower.

Verstappen had to settle for third ahead of Norris, Ricciardo, Gasly, Sainz, Leclerc, Perez and Giovinazzi.

Bottas though will start from the back of the grid for Sunday’s (12 September) main race after opting to take a fourth power unit in a tactical move.

Position Driver Team Time 
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m 19.555
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 0.096
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.411
4 Lando Norris McLaren + 0.434
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 0.440
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 0.705
7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.907
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 0.955
9 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 1.056
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 1.253
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1m 20.913
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 0.107
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 0.156
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 0.190
15 George Russell Williams + 0.479
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1m 21.925
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 0.048
18 Mick Schumacher Haas + 0.323
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo + 0.605
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 0.791

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