Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas claimed victory in the 2021 Italian Sprint but his power unit penalty means that Max Verstappen inherits pole position for 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
Bottas led from lights out ahead of Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris after Lewis Hamilton got bogged down to sixth which became fifth after Pierre Gasly crashed out at Curva Grande, as the consequential top five held position to the flag.
Verstappen however starts on pole position for tomorrow’s (12 September) main race after Bottas took a fourth power unit ahead of Qualifying yesterday (10 September), which put the Finnish driver to the back of the grid for the Italian GP.
Now here is a full roundup of Saturday’s action across FP2 and Sprint Qualifying.
Nicholas Latifi was first out but it was Haas’ Nikita Mazepin who set the initial pace before Sergio Perez took over in the ninth minute with 1m 24.870, with the Mexican then lowering his benchmark by 0.025 seconds just seven minutes later.
Perez’s Red Bull teammate – Max Verstappen then went top 20 minutes into the session with 1m 23.754 on medium tyres as Gasly settled into third, upon completion of the opening flying laps by the entire grid with majority largely focused on race simulations ahead of Sprint Qualifying.
Carlos Sainz however brought the session to a 13 minute halt after he spun his Ferrari on entry into Ascari, striking the inside barrier with heavy impact which sent him spinning back onto the racetrack, albeit without his front wing and nose as all drivers on track at that moment avoided colliding with him.
Once the session resumed, many opted for a soft tyre flier with Hamilton emerging quickest with 1m 23.246 ahead of Valtteri Bottas, as Verstappen failed to improve in third ahead of Perez, Esteban Ocon, Robert Kubica, Antonio Giovinazzi, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly.
Norris rounded out the top ten but like Verstappen, he set his best lap time on the medium compound, alongside; Charles Leclerc, Ricciardo, George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda, Nikita Mazepin, mick Schumacher and Carlos Sainz.
Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel finished 18th quickest after having set his fastest lap on the hard tyres.
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 23.246|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.222|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.508|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.671|
|5||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.017|
|6||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.034|
|7||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.256|
|8||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.293|
|9||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.408|
|10||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.419|
|11||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.524|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.528|
|13||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.559|
|14||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.837|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 2.176|
|16||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 2.483|
|17||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 2.517|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 2.689|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 2.766|
|20||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 2.878|
At lights out, Bottas made a clean start to retain his lead as Hamilton got bogged down to sixth behind Verstappen, Norris, Ricciardo and Gasly, of which both Norris and Ricciardo were on soft tyres with everyone else in top six on medium tyres.
Gasly however clipped Ricciardo’s rear at Variante della Rettifilo and sustained front wing failure, which caused him to crash at Curva Grande, luckily escaping harm but caused a Safety Car as Robert Kubica got spun by Yuki Tsunoda at Variante della Roggia.
Upon the Safety Car restart, Bottas made a clean getaway ahead of Verstappen, Ricciardo, Sainz, Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz as the top seven held station to the checkered flag in that order, despite Hamilton relentlessly trying to force his way past Norris for fourth but failing to do so.
Antonio Giovinazzi meanwhile fended off Sergio Perez to secure eighth on the grid for the main race, after the Mexican survived a scrap with Lance Stroll as he took ninth on Lap 10.
Bottas however will start the Italian Grand Prix from the back of grid after taking a fourth power unit despite taking three points for the Sprint victory, which means that Verstappen will start on pole ahead of Ricciardo and Norris with Hamilton qualified fourth on the grid.
Verstappen also extended his championship lead over Hamilton to five points by virtue of scoring two points to Hamilton’s zero points in this Sprint Qualifying.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||18||3..m ….|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||18||+ 2.325|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||18||+ 14.534|
|4||Lando Norris||McLaren||18||+ 18.835|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||18||+ 20.011|
|6||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||18||+ 23.442|
|7||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||18||+ 27.952|
|8||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||18||+ 31.089|
|9||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||18||+ 31.680|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||18||+ 38.671|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||18||+ 39.795|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||18||+ 41.177|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||18||+ 43.373|
|14||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||18||+ 45.977|
|15||George Russell||Williams||18||+ 46.821|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||18||+ 49.977|
|17||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||18||+ 62.599|
|18||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo||18||+ 65.096|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||18||+ 66.154|