Italian GP: Charles Leclerc takes Monza pole for Ferrari as grid penalties promote George Russell to front row

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc takes pole position after a turbulent qualifying session at the Italian Grand Prix

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc takes pole position after a turbulent qualifying session at the Italian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc took pole for Ferrari in the Italian team’s home Grand Prix, while Max Verstappen was relegated to seventh place by a grid penalty after qualifying second at Monza.

Penalties for world championship leader Verstappen and Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz – the only realistic challengers for pole – meant the Monegasque was all but guaranteed to start from the front, but he set the fastest time in qualifying for the greatest pleasure of the Tifosi.

Mercedes’ George Russell joins Leclerc in the front row despite qualifying sixth, while McLaren occupy the two second-row spots with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo also benefiting from other driver penalties.

There was great confusion after qualifying over the look of the starting grid, with nine drivers – including the four who qualified directly behind Leclerc – taking penalties after exceeding their allowances for new parts.

Almost four hours after the session concluded, the FIA ​​finally published a provisional starting grid, confirming that Verstappen would be forced to serve his five-place penalty and start seventh.

Sky F1's Karun Chandhok analyzes Leclerc and Max Verstappen's qualifying laps ahead of the Italian GP

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Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok analyzes Leclerc and Max Verstappen’s qualifying laps ahead of the Italian GP

Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok analyzes Leclerc and Max Verstappen’s qualifying laps ahead of the Italian GP

There had been speculation that Verstappen could start fourth, in the event that he was demoted to seventh but then allowed to move up three places for drivers below him who also incurred penalties.

“Today is good but now we have to repeat it tomorrow, tomorrow is the critical moment today but the feeling is really good, we just have to put everything in place and not make a mistake,” said Leclerc.

“Honestly, I’m pretty confident we have a really good race pace. They (Red Bull) have a different setup and higher downforce, but I’m pretty confident we can make it work. “

Sainz finished third but with a penalty relegating him to the back of the grid, starting 18th, one place ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who qualified fifth but also suffered the same penalty.

Leclerc says he is full of confidence after claiming pole position at the team's Grand Prix at Monza.

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Leclerc says he is full of confidence after claiming pole position at the team’s Grand Prix at Monza.

Leclerc says he is full of confidence after claiming pole position at the team’s Grand Prix at Monza.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez finished fourth but started 13th after receiving a 10-place penalty, which could not be fully enforced as all the cars behind him on the grid also have penalties.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, who took to social media to inquire about his starting position shortly before the FIA ​​confirmed the provisional grid, starts fifth, with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso joining him on the third line.

Nyck de Vries will start eighth on his F1 debut after impressing on his maiden qualifying outing as a substitute in a Williams for Alex Albon, who was ruled out of the weekend earlier on Saturday after falling ill of appendicitis.

  • Max Verstappen – 5 seater
  • Esteban Ocon – 5 seater
  • Sergio Perez – 10 places
  • Valtteri Bottas – 15 seats
  • Mick Schumacher – 15 seats
  • Kevin Magnussen – 15 seats
  • Yuki Tsunoda – rear of the grille
  • Lewis Hamilton – grid background
  • Carlos Sainz – grid background

The Mercedes reserve driver, who is hoping to secure a permanent grid seat next season, edged out team-mate Nicholas Latifi to advance to Q2, before finishing 13th and moving up five places through penalties.

The sport continued to pay homage to Queen Elizabeth II, with several cars bearing visual tributes. A minute’s silence was observed by all teams in the pit lane ahead of Friday’s first practice, with further tributes expected ahead of Sunday’s race.

Provisional starting grid for the Italian GP:

1) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
2) George Russell (Mercedes)
3) Lando Norris (McLaren)
4) Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
5) Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
6) Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
7) Max Verstappen (Red Bull)*
8) Nyck de Vries (Williams)
9) Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
10) Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
11) Sebastien Vettel (Aston Martin)
12) Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
13) Sergio Perez (Red Bull)*
14) Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
15) Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)*
16) Kevin Magnussen (Haas)*
17) Mick Schumacher (Haas)*
18) Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)*
19) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)*
20) Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)*

* Grid penalty applied

Leclerc gives Ferrari hope of Monza

Practice had made it clear that the fastest time contest was between Leclerc, Verstappen and Sainz, with each of the three dominating one of the three sessions.

Red Bull’s Verstappen looked to have established himself as the undisputed favorite on the timesheet when he comfortably edged Leclerc in final practice earlier on Saturday.

With Verstappen and Sainz facing penalties, there was much speculation as to whether the teams would use the demoted drivers to provide tows for their teammates during qualifying.

Sky F1's Karun Chandhok is joined by Leclerc at the SkyPad to analyze his pole lap at Monza.

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Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok is joined by Leclerc at the SkyPad to analyze his pole lap at Monza.

Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok is joined by Leclerc at the SkyPad to analyze his pole lap at Monza.

It appeared both teams had decided such a tactic was unnecessary, with Sainz surprisingly receiving a tow from Leclerc on their first run in the latter part of qualifying.

In the end, it didn’t matter as Leclerc saved his best for last, edging Verstappen by 0.145 seconds to ensure the world championship leader started a place further down the grid after the start. application of his penalty.

While Verstappen looks out of reach for Leclerc, who is tied for second in the standings with Perez 109 points behind the Dutchman with seven races to go, a victory at Monza would be of vital importance for Ferrari.

Following a series of reliability issues and strategic errors, Ferrari is under pressure to deliver ahead of the Tifosi, and a win would no doubt ease the mounting pressure on team principal Mattia Binotto.

Mercedes retains McLaren | De Vries impressed from the start

Mercedes had been behind Red Bull and Ferrari throughout the weekend but were able to provide enough pace to overcome McLaren and secure Russell a front-row start.

Hamilton faces a tough challenge to get through the field from 19th on the grid, with the Mercedes’ lack of straight-line speed having the potential to make it particularly difficult to get through any trains of DRS cars.

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reflect on their performance in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

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Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reflect on their performance in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reflect on their performance in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Norris maintained his consistent excellence to finish behind the Mercedes in seventh and is rewarded with a third place, while outgoing McLaren driver Ricciardo will be delighted to have kept in touch with his team-mate at the track where the Aussie won to the team. one year ago.

De Vries, who was rushed into Albon’s car shortly before final practice earlier on Saturday, excelled in what will likely be his best opportunity to present himself for a full-time F1 drive next year.

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reflect on their performance in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

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Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reflect on their performance in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reflect on their performance in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

The 27-year-old Dutchman, a former Formula E and Formula 2 champion, gradually closed the gap on his teammate Williams Latifi in practice, before outclassing him in qualifying.

Further on, there was more disappointment on Saturday for Aston Martin, which saw Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll qualify 17th and 18th respectively, only to overtake the Haas cars.

While grid penalties will get Vettel and Stroll up the grid, this latest disappointment in qualifying is further proof that the team has failed to match its significant investment with a strong performance.

Italian GP qualifying timesheet

Driver Crew Time
1) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:20.161
2) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.145
3) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.268
4) Sergio Perez Red Bull +1.045
5) Lewis Hamilton mercedes +1.363
6) George Russell mercedes +1.381
7) Lando Norris McLaren +1.423
8) Daniel Ricardo McLaren +1.764
9) Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri +2.487
10) Fernando Alonso Alpine no time in Q3
Exit in Q2
11) Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:22.130
12) Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:22.235
13) Nyck de Vries williams 1:22.471
14) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:22.577
15) Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri no time in Q2
Exit in Q1
16) Nicholas Latifi williams 1:22.587
17) Sebastien Vettel Aston Martin 1:22.636
18) Start the Walk Aston Martin 1:22.748
19) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:22.908
20) Mick Schumacher Haas 1:23.005
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